New York Long Path

In July and August 2014, I thru-hiked the New York Long Path, a 356-mile trail that begins just across the Hudson River from New York City and ends in John Boyd Thacher state park near Altamont, NY.

Few people bother thru-hiking the Long Path (not to be confused with Vermont’s Long Trail) because it demands several extended road walks in New York’s Orange County. Also, the proximity to urban centers make it very difficult to spend every night on the trail. Of the nights I spent off the trail, two were in motels and two with generous volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. I spent only a single night stealth camping.

If you are considering a thru-hike I would be more than willing to share any information that might be helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed the hike, though it’s not exactly a “wilderness” experience. I encountered at least one person on the trail every day and, apart from the sections that traverse the Catskill Mountains, I was never more than a short hike to the nearest town. Still, I had a blast and arrived in Altamont on the morning of my 30th birthday. I have reproduced my exact itinerary below for anyone interested.

Date

Section

Mileage

 July 23, 2014 Fort Lee, NJ – Alpine Scout Camp 10.65
July 24, 2014 Alpine Scout Camp – Nyack, NY 12.5
July 25, 2014 Nyack, NY – Haverstraw, NY 9.85
July 26, 2014 Haverstraw, NY –  Harriman State Park 19.7
July 27, 2014 Harriman State Park – Central Valley, NY 13.75
July 28, 2014 Central Valley, NY – Goshen, NY 21
July 29, 2014 Goshen, NY – Greenville, NY 20.3
July 30, 2014 Greenville, NY – Wurtsboro, NY 16
July 31, 2014 Wurtsboro, NY – Sam’s Point Preserve* 17.5
August 1, 2014 Sam’s Point Preserve – Ver Nooy Falls 22
August 2, 2014 Ver Nooy Falls – Catskills primitive campsite 15.55
August 3, 2014 Primitive campsite – Phoenicia, NY 18.7
August 4, 2014 Phoenicia, NY – Tremper Mountain Lean-to 4
August 5, 2014 Tremper Mountain Lean-to – Devil’s Kitchen Lean-to 19.33
August 6, 2014 Devil’s Kitchen Lean-to – Batavia Kill Lean-to 25.77
August 7, 2014 Batavia Kill Lean-to – Bluebird Road 20.55
August 8, 2014 Bluebird Road – West Kill Creek 24.45
August 9, 2014 West Kill Creek – Pleasant Valley stream 13.3
August 10, 2014 Pleasant Valley stream – Fox Creek 15.75
August 11, 2014 Fox Creek – Cole Hill State Forest 20
August 12, 2014 Cole Hill State Forest – Northern terminus 15.35

2 thoughts on “New York Long Path”

  1. Hiked a few miles last weekend on the LT.
    Been considering thru hiking it though most likely will section hike.

    Where to camp and where to food drop seem to be the two obstacles I keep running into.

    The first 20+ miles (?)

    I am not a power hiker. I’m thinking 12 would be my max distance per day.

    Your itinerary answered my question about where to possibly stay the first night though I wouldn’t hesitate putting up with a rough camp along 9w either.

    Night #2? Different story.

    Congratulations on your thru hike and thanks for the help and for whatever else you could offer.

    Peace
    David
    AKA. “Romeo”
    A.T. ’95-’97-’08

    1. Hi David—

      Food drops are pretty easy actually because the trail is never too far from a town, except for the bit through the Catskills. I mailed packages to myself in Wurtsboro and West Fulton, carrying a max of 8 days of food as I recall. I was lucky to arrive in West Fulton just in time for a BBQ fundraiser at the fire station, which was great because there wasn’t anywhere to eat otherwise. The only trouble I had camping on the Long Path was at the beginning, as you point out. Talking the scout camp into letting me stay that first night was an ordeal because they had some Boy Scouts in one of the campsites and, for security reasons, didn’t feel very comfortable letting me stay at first. In the end, the ranger let me stay only because I had called in advance, answered a bunch of questions, and let him make a copy my drivers license when I actually showed up.

      The next night I stayed with the Franke’s, volunteers with the NY-NJ trail conference who advertise their willingness to have hikers stay with them in the online guide.

      After that, I was in Haverstraw, staying with another volunteer, Ed Walsh who also lists his number in the online guide. I am convinced that stealth camping would have been possible all the way up to Harriman with a bit of prudence, but I didn’t want to risk it. The real problem was after Harriman. I probably could have pushed on through Central Valley (I can’t remember now if camping was allowed in that stretch) but I stayed in a motel for the night and then another night in Goshen at the only (overpriced) motel in town.

      If you’re just planning to section hike, then I would recommend skipping the entire Orange County stretch. The “trail” just goes through one town to the next, close to roads, sometime on roads for long and fairly unpleasant stretches, with little opportunity for camping. The Catskills were by far the most beautiful, and most challenging, part of the trip with Sam’s Point Preserve a close second. Hope this helps!

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