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About Whitestag
I can advise on anything having to do with hiking and backpacking skills and equipment, including map and compass and orienteering skills. I cannot advise on the use of GPS devices. I cannot advise on car camping or group camping (10 or more people). My primary geographic expertise is in the US Northeast, but I know how to find information on hiking and backpacking just about anywhere.

I've been hiking and backpacking for about 40 years, including ongoing section hiking of the Appalachian Trail (over 1000 miles so far). I have hiked extensively in the New York Metropolitan Area, as well as various other areas from Virginia north, including upstate New York, New England, and Eastern Canada.

New York Walk Book, 7th Ed.
New Jersey Walk Book, 2nd Ed.


You are here:  Experts > Recreation/Outdoors > Camping > Hiking/Backpacking/Camping > camping near NYC

Hiking/Backpacking/Camping - camping near NYC

Expert: Whitestag - 10/6/2006

Thanks Whitestag, you've been very helpful.  IM so trilled that I may actually be able to get out of the city for a weekend before its too late.  I did want to also ask if you know anything about fishkill ridge.  I came across a website for a commercial campground called "Malouf's Mountain",  That would cost a little more money than I'd like, but would save me from having to lug water and firewood.  But I can't find any info about that area.  Is it a nice area to camp/hike, and is it still close to the city, or would you say bear mountain is the best option for a manhattanite?
Thanks Again

Followup To

Question -
I've noticed youve answered a lot of questions about the bear mountain area.  Im having some trouble accessing their webpage, so I am hoping you can answer my questions.  I live in NYC, and am in desperate need for a camping trip away from the urban jungle before it gets cold (this weekend perhaps).  Unfortunately every time i plan a trip my car seems to bail on me.  Is it possible to get to any nice backpacking and camping areas via metronorth or a bus from the city?  If so where would you reccomend going and what would you say is the minimal about of equipment I ought to bring with me (for say two or three people)for a one night trip?  thanks for any help you can give me.

Answer -
Yes -- Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park is my local hiking and camping area.

You have several options for public transportation.  Metro North trains are available to stops along Rt. 17 along the west side of the park, and Coach buses to both Bear Mountain and stops along Rt. 17.  If you have the Trail Conference maps of the area (available from The Paragon or EMS in Manhattan), you can use them to figure out what stops to take.  Keep in mind that Park regulations require that you camp only in or near the shelters marked on the maps.

For two or three people -- depending on where you camp, you may need to bring your own water.  Some shelters are bone dry.  If you get water from a spring or stream, filter or chemically treat it.  Bring enough food (for one night you can probably get away with bringing fresh food rather than dried).  Bring a tent -- the shelters are often occupied.  There are no privies or outhouses, so bring a trowel and TP.  Regardless of the weather reports, bring rain gear.  Bring a stove for cooking -- availability of firewood is limited.

As to where to go, the Dutch Doctor shelter/campsite is relatively accessible from the Tuxedo Park bus/train stop.  From the Red Apple Rest or Arden Valley Road bus stops, you can pretty easily get to the Bald Rocks shelter.  Claudius Smith's Den is en route to the Dutch Doctor Shelter, and the Lemon Squeezer is relatively close to the Bald Rocks Shelter.  Both are interesting rock formations.  Both shelters should have water available nearby, given how much rain we've had lately.

It is a longer and more challenging hike to West Mountain, the shelter nearest to the Bear Mountain bus stop, and it is less likely that you'll have water available.  But on a clear night, the NYC skyline is visible, and there are viewpoint of the Hudson Valley along the route of the hike.

If you have any further questions, send me a follow-up request.

I'm afraid that I'm not very familiar with the trails on the east side of the Hudson -- I've only hiked the AT in that area.  In any case, I visited the Malouf's Mountain web site, and think that they're way overpriced.  You shouldn't have to pay more than $20 for a primitive site, and even that's a pretty high.  Fee-based sites on the AT (they're rare) are usually well under $10/person.

As for information about the area, check out the following web site for the Hudson Highlands State Park:

Also, I found a site on the Fishkill Ridge:

Regarding availability of water and firewood: as I said in my previous response, water isn't a problem for the sites on the west side of Harriman, and there's generally a fair number of downed trees in the area.  But you'll need to bring a saw to cut the wood into lengths.  Again, you should be able to find a backpacker's folding saw at Paragon or EMS.

Hope this helps -- enjoy your hike!

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