Know the New Hiking How-tos
Reeves Brook/Raccoon Brook Hills/Pine Meadow Loop
Directions to trailhead
Take N.J. Route 17 north to the New York State Thruway and take the first exit, Exit 15A (Sloatsburg). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 17 north, and continue through the Village of Sloatsburg. Just past the village, turn right at the traffic light, following the sign for Harriman State Park. Cross an overpass over railroad tracks and continue along the Seven Lakes Drive, passing under the Thruway overpass, and soon entering Harriman State Park. Proceed for another mile (from the Thruway overpass) to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, on the right side of the road. Park in the Visitor Center's parking lot.
Take the NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line to the Sloatsburg station. From the station, cross the railroad tracks and head north on Ballard Avenue. When Ballard Avenue ends, turn right onto Academy Avenue and continue to Seven Lakes Drive. Turn right on Seven Lakes Drive, continue under the New York State Thruway, and pass Greenway Road and Laurel Road on the right. A short distance beyond, about 0.9 mile from the train station, you'll reach a bridge over the Stony Brook. On the bridge, you will notice a triple red-square-on-white blaze and a directional arrow, which mark the trailhead of the Pine Meadow Trail. Turn right, leaving the road, and follow this red-on-white-blazed trail for another 0.8 mile to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.
From the parking lot, head east (left when facing the woods) on the broad red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, passing the Visitor Center on the left. In about 300 feet, you'll notice a white-blazed trail that leaves to the right. Turn right onto this trail, known as the Reeves Brook Trail, which follows a woods road uphill. Soon, the trail begins to parallel Reeves Brook, which is to the left.
In about half a mile, another woods road leaves to the right. Just beyond, follow the white-blazed trail as it bears left and soon begins a steeper climb on a footpath, passing attractive cascades in the brook (when the water is high). The trail continues to climb more gradually, still paralleling the brook, with several short but steep climbs..
About a mile and a half from the start, you'll notice a steep escarpment just ahead. Here, you'll cross the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail and continue ahead on the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail, which now runs parallel to the escarpment. After a short descent, the Reeves Brook Trail ends at a junction with the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail.
Turn left onto the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, which briefly descends to cross a stream on rocks and then steeply climbs the escarpment. Near the top, you'll pass a large rock, known as The Pulpit, that juts out by the cliff edge. The trail continues along the ridge and passes two southwest-facing viewpoints over the Torne Valley, with the New York Thruway beyond. After a short descent, the trail climbs to reach a junction with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail on an open rock ledge.
Continue ahead on the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, which continues to climb more gradually to a wooded area on the crest of the ridge. The elevation here is about 1,230 feet above sea level, and you've climbed about 800 feet to reach this ridge - the highest point on the hike. On a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline in the distance from a rock ledge
to the right of the trail.
The trail descends to cross the route of a gas pipeline, climbs to regain the ridge, and then begins a rather steep descent. At the base of the descent, the trail turns right and climbs gently through dense stands of mountain laurel. It then descends gradually to a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail.
Turn left at the junction and follow the Kakiat Trail, which descends gradually, passing through more dense stands of mountain laurel and then paralleling Raccoon Brook, on the right. In about half a mile, you’ll pass the northern trailhead of the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail on the right. Continue ahead on the Kakiat Trail, which soon widens into a woods road.
Soon, you’ll reach a junction with the Seven Hills Trail (blue on white) and the Pine Meadow Trail (red on white), which come in from the right. Here, the Kakiat Trail turns right, but you should leave the Kakiat Trail and continue straight ahead on the joint Seven Hills/Pine Meadow Trails (do not cross the bridge over Pine Meadow Brook). When the Seven Hills Trail leaves to the left, continue ahead on the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. You will take the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the parking area.
A short distance beyond, the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail briefly joins. Continue ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail. Soon, you’ll reach a section where the woods road has eroded, and the trail has been relocated onto a footpath to the left.
After crossing a gas pipeline and then Quartz Brook on a wooden bridge, the Pine Meadow Trail reaches a junction where the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail begins on the right. Continue to follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it bears left and begins to run close to Stony Brook, with its attractive cascades. To bypass a wet spot at the crossing of a tributary stream, the trail has been relocated to the hillside on the left, where it crosses another wooden bridge. Just beyond, you’ll come to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center and the parking lot where the hike began.