July 16, 2024
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July 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Hike to Scenic Turkey Hill Lake in Harriman State Park

This 4.6-mile moderate hike in Harriman State Park goes by two lakes and reaches several viewpoints. Particularly outstanding are the views of Long Mountain, Turkey Hill and Bear Mountain from the shore of Turkey Hill Lake. You’ll have to cross the busy Route 6 at grade, but for most of the way, the trail goes through very pleasant woods. Most of the hike is relatively level, but it includes several climbs (some of which are rather steep) that total about 500 feet in elevation gain. The hike should take about three-and-a-half hours. Dogs are permitted on leash.

To get there from Bergen County, take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north to Exit 17 (Anthony Wayne Recreation Area) and park in the large parking area just to the right of the entrance kiosk. The trailhead is about 35 miles from Teaneck, and it should take about 45 minutes to get there.

From the parking area, walk back along the entrance road until you reach a gravel road on the right blocked off with a gate. Turn right and follow this road, the route of the Anthony Wayne Trail (marked with 2”x3” white blazes), the temporary route of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) (marked with 2”x6” white blazes), and the route of the Horn Hill Bike Trail (marked with blue-on-white Bike Trail markers). However, you may not see any blazes for some distance, as the blazing of this trail section is very sparse. Bear right at the next fork and continue uphill, proceeding ahead across a four-way intersection.

When you reach a T-intersection, turn left, then almost immediately turn right onto the Fawn Trail, marked with red-“F”-on-white blazes. The Fawn Trail climbs, using switchbacks and rock steps for part of the way, to reach a junction with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail.

Turn left onto the Timp-Torne Trail, which climbs to a rock ledge, with Bear Mountain visible through the trees on the right. The trail now descends, with more views of Bear Mountain (and the Perkins Memorial Tower on its summit) on the way down. You’ll pass one end of the white-blazed Anthony Wayne Trail on the left, but you should continue ahead, following the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, which crosses a wet area on stepping stones.

At the base of the descent, continue ahead as the 1777W Trail (red 1777W on white) comes in from the right and joins the Timp-Torne Trail. The joint trails cross a highway ramp, then turn left to cross the Palisades Interstate Parkway on a bridge that carries the Seven Lakes Drive over the Parkway.

At the west side of the bridge, turn right and head north on paved Queensboro Road, which crosses over a stream and passes the dam of Queensboro Lake and a water treatment facility on the left. Follow the blue and 1777W blazes as they continue ahead on a gravel road, but a short distance beyond, just before reaching a park pistol range, the trails turn right and re-enter the woods on a footpath.

The joint trails descend slightly to reach the gravel Queensboro Road. Here, the Timp-Torne and 1777W Trails turn right, but you should cross the road and continue straight ahead, now following the Popolopen Gorge (red square on white) and 1779 (blue 1779 on white) trails. The Popolopen Gorge/1779 Trails cross a stream on rocks and continue ahead on a grassy woods road.

You’ll soon reach the northern tip of Queensboro Lake. The trail (now a footpath) curves inland, returns to the lake shore once more, then again heads inland. After crossing another stream on rocks and climbing a little, you’ll come to a fork in the trail. Here, the 1779 Trail goes off to the left, but you should bear right, following the red-square-on-white blazes of the Popolopen Gorge Trail.

The trail now climbs rather steeply, then descends to Summer Hill Road (a gravel road, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933). It turns left on the road to cross a stream (the outlet of Turkey Hill Lake), then immediately turns right and climbs past the dam of the lake (built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps) to emerge onto the lake shore. The trail follows the shore of Turkey Hill Lake for about half a mile, affording panoramic views over the lake, as well as Turkey Hill (across the lake to the north) and Long Mountain (to the west). About halfway along the lake, there are views of Bear Mountain (with the Perkins Memorial Tower on its summit) to the east. This is the most beautiful part of the hike, and you should take your time to enjoy the views.

Near the southwest corner of the lake, you’ll reach an intersection with the white-blazed Anthony Wayne Trail, which begins on the left. Turn left and follow this trail, which climbs to the crest of a rise on a grassy woods road and then descends. At the base of the descent, the trail turns right, leaving the road. In 200 feet, it turns right onto another woods road. Just ahead, the trail turns left again, descends to cross a brook on rocks, and reaches a clearing with high grass.

Turn left here, leaving the marked trail, and emerge onto an old paved road (the former route of what is now Route 6), passing between a salt dome on the left and an abandoned stone building on the right. Continue ahead on the paved road for about 1,000 feet. When you reach a locked gate on the right, bear left and continue to follow the paved road.

In another 500 feet, as the paved road curves to the left, turn right onto a footpath marked with the blazes of the 1779 Trail and descend to Route 6. Follow the 1779 Trail as it crosses Route 6 (use care, as this is a very heavily trafficked road), turns left, and follows the grassy shoulder of the road to the Long Mountain Traffic Circle. Here, the 1779 Trail bears right, then turns right onto the Seven Lakes Drive.

In 500 feet, at a sign for the Seven Lakes Drive, follow the 1779 Trail as it turns left, crosses the road, and climbs into the woods on a footpath. Soon, you’ll reach a junction with the Anthony Wayne Trail and the temporary route of the A.T.

Turn left at this junction, leaving the 1779 Trail, and follow the joint route of the Anthony Wayne Trail (2”x3” white blazes) and the A.T. (2”x6” white blazes). The trails climb to the shoulder of a hill, then descend to a ramp of Exit 17 of the Parkway. Turn left onto the ramp, cross the Parkway on an overpass, and continue to the parking area where the hike began.

This hiking article is provided by Daniel Chazin of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. The Trail Conference is a volunteer organization that builds and maintains over 2,000 miles of hiking trails and publishes a library of hiking maps and books. The Trail Conference’s office is at 600 Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202), Mahwah; (201) 512-9348; www.nynjtc.org. Daniel Chazin can be reached at [email protected].

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