My friend Nicole sent me a message suggesting we hike Harriman State Park. So I go to my google maps and notice I have a few saved stars in the area. Boom! We’re going to an abandoned mine! Fast forward to Wednesday and we’re parked in the lot.
We had no idea how we would find the mines. The mines in this state park are marked on my NY/NJ Trail Conference maps, but there aren’t specific trails leading to them. Neither of us had been here before and we didn’t personally know anyone who had explored them either. We set our minds up that we would explore enough of the area to find at least one. We crossed our fingers that it would be Pine Swamp Mine.
LENGTH: 2.8 MILES LOOP
ELEVATION CHANGE: 300ft
Across from where we parked the car we found the kiosk with two red triangles (Arden Surebridge trail). We took the stairs up on the right to start our hike. There’s a blue trail to the left of the kiosk, but we’ll be coming from that side at the end of the hike.
We followed the red inverted triangles for about half a mile.
The red trail splits into a red triangle trail and red plus sign trail (named Red Cross trail). The fork happens at this tree with the three red plus signs.
We stayed on the red triangle trail which forks to the left (see picture below).
The trail markers will alternate between the trees and the rocks. We continued following the red trail markers for another three quarters of a mile.
The beginning of the yellow trail (Dunning Trail) is marked by these three markers. Here we made a left.
Once we saw Pine Swamp we knew we were getting close to the mine. We could smell the swamp before we saw it though lol.
We kept our eyes peeled and saw this broken tree and pile of rocks. This had to be the way! We followed the very steep trail directly to the right of the tree. It’s pretty worn down and the small rocks make for a slippery ascent. We proceeded carefully.
Once we reached the top of the steep unmarked trail we walked through this opening.
At these trees we made a left. And we were NOT expecting it to be right after this turn.
And there it was. The entrance to Pine Swamp Mine. The wall on the right was so colorful. There were oranges, greens, browns, etc. The rust is from the ore found in the area. Here’s a link for some additional information on the mine.
We climbed into the mine and explored the area carefully. We didn’t see anyone else in the area until we went back to the main trail. It was a Wednesday though, so a weekend can look very different here.
Quick side note: As outdoor spaces go, the mine area was very clean. There was zero sign of hikers in the area (graffiti, power bar wrappers, diapers, banana peels, dog poop bags, etc). Please help keep it that way. Thank you 🙂
Anyways, we had some snacks in there. We packed our garbage out and headed back down. At the bottom we made a right onto the yellow trail and continued walking along the swamp.
We kept an eye out for the aqua trail and saw the following tree. Because of the direction we were walking in we didn’t see the trailhead for the aqua trail. At this tree we turned around.
Once we turned around we saw the aqua trail and followed that back to the car.
The aqua trail took us along Skannatati Lake. Here we were able to spot several frogs and lake critters.
When we completed the hike we arrived at the kiosk we had seen earlier in the day. There were five other cars when we arrived in the morning. By the afternoon there were about 20 cars. Keep in mind it was a Wednesday in October. So I can only assume weekends + summer time = crowded lot. I’ll keep that in mind if I come explore more of this area next summer.
I definitely plan on coming back at least one more time this year. Finding that mine without much instruction was such a rush. It definitely gave us explorer vibes lol. I’d like to locate harder to find mines before the real cold and ice set in.