Elk Pen Loop Trail

MODERATE 256 reviews
#2 of 69 trails in

Elk Pen Loop Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tuxedo Park, New York that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.0 miles
1,551 feet

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running







wild flowers




There are many trails to explore in the area. This hike starts out on the A.T. Climb up Green Pond Mountain and then past Island Pond. The trail winds through Lemon Squeezer, a hole in some ledges and climbs up Island Pond Mt and Surebridge Mt. Take the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail on Finger board and Hogencamp Mountain. This stretch of trail has great views of the entire area. It is also the result of a forest fire some time ago. Take the Dunning Trail to the Boston Mine. From there take the Arden-Surebridge trail down Green Pond Mountain.

19 days ago

Honestly, I didn't expect too much from this hike but I was pleasantly surprised. There were a couple of hiccups though, about a quarter of the way through the hike there was about a 20 ft stretch of water about 3 feet deep. Had to cut underneath the lake and then did the hike coming from the opposite way. The lemon squeeze was unexpected and fun and the little peak at the top is a nice place to take a rest and enjoy some snacks. Overall the hike was very fulfilling, ended up doing 10 miles overall because of the back tracking and wandering off the trail hear and there. Definitely would recommend for a weekend day hike if you are moderately athletic.

24 days ago

Truly a joy of a trail to hike! Features a great variety in the terrain with some decent vert to boot. As others have noted, the trail is really flooded. With recent rain fall there’s probably 1.5 feet of standing water. On the bright side, some trail maintenance folks were out clearing the downed trees! (7/27). If you still want to do the loop, works as an out and back or you can put together a fun lollipop with the other trials in the area.

28 days ago

For what it was, it was a great hike. Moderate.....maybe. There is a lot of up with rocks and more up. I’d say it’s on the upper level of moderate but it was a good day. LOTS of bugs but that’s not the trails fault. LOL no bathroom facilities.

30 days ago

One of my favorites! As of July 21 the path that goes past meadow on the way to Island Pond is still flooded. If you’re brave and have water proof boots, stick to the right and it’s passable. LOTS of downed trees, so be prepared to climb over them. The view once you get to the lake is totally worth it, always is.

2 months ago

As of Sunday June 10, the section previously noted to be flooded is still flooded. You have to go off trail for quite a bit to get around and back on trail. I enjoyed the hike but it was a little bit on the difficult side. Lemon squeeze was fun. Would do again.

2 months ago

This would have been a nice hike except for two major issues. The Long Path trail was blocked by scores of huge trees fallen across the trail.....big ones. It made the going slow, and a little dangerous at times. It looked like a tornado had come through there. Consider skipping the AT Long Path northern outcropping as it is easy just to cut across.
The second problem was the Arden Surebridge trail section southwest of Island Pond. It was completely flooded out as far as the eye could see with no alternative trail. A half mile of bushwhacking south of the tail, hugging the high ground, was required to get around the water. Make sure these issues are resolved before endeavoring to take this hike.

4 months ago

Great 8 mile hike. Varied terrain, nice views at the top. At some points - it was difficult to find the trail markers. This trail loop was accurately rated as moderate. Looking forward to hiking it again.

4 months ago

Awesome trails!

4 months ago

One to avoid when snowy but nice views and varied terrain. Hiked march, the week after a snow storm. Took 4hrs20 (no stops). Phones measured at 8.5miles. Solidly uphill for first hour. Rocky ground + snow throughout made difficult. Lower trails were waterlogged due to melting snow. Many fallen trees on section of long path (green) adjacent to marsh made impassable but possible to skirt around higher up bank.

4 months ago

6 months ago

Nice in the winter, only saw a few folks the whole day.

7 months ago

Great hike - strenuous - there was a lot of snow and ice when I went - be prepared and careful treading through ice. We came to a point at the end of the hike where it was a straight path of frozen water and had to maneuver very carefully to finish. Amazing visuals and changes in scenery.

8 months ago

Great trail, not far from NYC. Beautiful Island Pond is en route.

9 months ago

Great place to hike.

9 months ago

hiked, just watch for some fallen trail markers

11 months ago

We made our way to the Pulpit view point from the Blue Rocks Family Campground. The uphill hike was a bit challenging for the inexperienced hikers in the group, nevertheless, we managed to make it up in good time; about 2 hours up, and 1 hour down.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fantastic trail --- so beautiful

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Pretty challenging hike, but right after the "squeeze" walk about 100 yards to the left for a great view of the mountains and lake. Elk Pen for parking

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Although this is rated moderate it can get quite challenging at times. Do not underestimate. You'll definitely had a great time here. It's beautiful open scenery makes it all worth it.

Monday, July 31, 2017

This hike begins with a challenging, uphill terrain. As things level out, you will approach a picturesque lake, which is quite cold to swim in, even in the summer months. The Lemon Squeezer bit is short, but quite fun. There is a beautiful meadow at the top of the large boulders, right after the Lemon Squeezer. This meadow almost resembles the Swiss countryside. But it's just too damn close to New York City for me to imagine I'm in Switzerland!

I would recommend this hike for anyone in decent shape, and will definitely be back myself sometime soon.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Super chill, yet rigorous. Lots of different terrains on this route. GPS on AllTrail app was spot on. Some of the path on Dunning fully covered with water, so bring waterproofs. Counter-clockwise route was great for a dip in Island Pond towards the end.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Beautiful, magical hike. Steep in places but highly rewarded with a swim in the pond--be sure to swim out to the little island in the middle!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Great trail. We followed the track almost exactly. Completed 7.5miles in 4 hours. The part through the Lemon Squeezer was nice and 'adventurous'. Be preparers for the massive climb up in the first hour (either way you take the track from Elk Pen parking. The views around the Island Pond were great. Though overall views were average, since the tree cover never let's you see much. Very convenient one hour drive from our place in Westchester

Monday, June 26, 2017

The varied terrain made for a really fun hike. We had to backtrack a couple times to find the right trail, especially at Times Square rock and after the vistas when you turn into the yellow trail. All in all, more like 8.5 miles. Took us about 4 hours with break for lunch. Will definitely do this one again!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Smack yo mamma good

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Awesome! Easy to get lost though, have a full cell phone battery.

Friday, June 09, 2017

very good hike, just wish the trails were marked better

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Got there at 3:30 pm. First quarter of the hike is steep, but not "hard" by any means. After you intersect with the Long Trail (green blaze), it's all smooth sailing for the rest of the trail. Very gentle inclines / declines with a few brief steep, rocky switchbacks towards the end of the trail. Quite swampy from the Long Trail 'till you turn right on the White Bear Trail (white triangle blaze), so bring gators if you hate being wet. Make sure to check out the old iron mine, a eerie, dark yet beautiful cave inside a "canyon" with clear, blue water and a mysterious essence, about a mile after the W-B becomes the yellow blaze trail. The last half (or quarter) of the hike is great, super easy walk with the exception of rocky, semi-steep switchbacks leading towards the end of the A-B trail. Beautiful field at the end with tons of wildlife, great for birding. Beware if you plan to finish the trail through this field, there's TONS of ticks. Besides that, it's a great semi-short, semi-challenging yet fully beautiful day hike.

Monday, May 15, 2017

We hiked here 2 weeks ago. It was absolutely amazing! We even had a close encounter with a black bear and a snake!

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