Elk Pen to West Mountain Loop is a 32.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Harriman, New York that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length32.3 miElevation gain6781 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingrunningForestViewsWildlifeBlowdownBridge outMuddyRockyScramble
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Reviews (21)
Photos (34)
Recordings (18)
Completed (32)
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Keisha Dillon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
Hiking

Waterfalls, Lemon Squeeze, and nice mix of terrain. A lot of rain this week so the trail was soggy and slippery in spots, but still worth it.

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Sam Ballard
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Hiking

Definitely make this a multi-day. One day was brutal.

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Philthy Phillard
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Hiking

Wow

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Shannon Liesner
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking

So my sister, boyfriend and I wanted to try out a backpacking trip over a weekend. Two nights, three days, nothing TOO crazy but still challenging. Oh boy, did we underestimate this trail. Carrying a 30lb backpack was fine and well until we went from the Big Hill Shelter to West Mountain Shelter. You basically have to rock climb... and I’m not exaggerating. This is NOT for the faint of heart. And while I do not consider myself faint of heart, this trail is incredibly vigorous. If you do this trail, I highly recommend a VERY light backpack. Prepare to do a bit of rock climbing. I had trekking poles and I couldn’t use them at points because it was that steep. You’ve been warned!!!!

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Ian Eggleston
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Hiking
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Ivan Mendoza
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Hiking
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Vipul Shekhawat
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HikingRockyScramble

Hiked this loop over three days (Wed-Fri) and had a great time. I hiked down to the Big Hill Shelter the first day and to West Mountain the second day. I came back straight along the AT the third day instead of hiking up to the Popolopen Gorge, which removes about 2 miles and 500ft of elevation from the listed totals. As others have mentioned, parts of this trail are hard to follow and seem infrequently used. In particular, the section of the Suffern-Bear Mountain was confusing at times, especially at road crossings. I'd recommend either bringing and using a GPS throughout, or studying the trail routes carefully beforehand. The route passes several streams along the way, but currently (early July 2020) many of the stream beds are dry—bring excess water to avoid running out. I saw lots of wildlife along the trail, including several deer as well as a black bear. Bring a bear bag and be careful!

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Brendan King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 24, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

I went last weekend in 32 hours and this loop is great for it’s close proximity to nyc. Plenty of technical paths, rock gardens, and some scrambling. There are enough water sources to filter, meaning I was thirsty but managed fine. Pay attention to your map because it changes paths frequently and unexpectedly. In the mid section the trail is hardly marked and seems to go directly through the middle of nothing with little to no indication that there’s even a trail at all. That section is fun as long as you stay on the right way. Hang your food bag!

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Gaelen Rhoads
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 8, 2019
HikingScramble
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Cary Trabold Miner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2019
Hiking

This was my first time in HSP and I enjoyed the scenery of the trails and appreciated how well groomed they were, but I thought there was a lack of signage and all the cross paths and intersections were very confusing. You definitely have to be aware of what blaze to follow and keep an eye out for splits, I missed more than I would have liked... Other wise this was a really nice outing, I went on a weekend overnight from Elk Pen-Big Hill shelter and the trails were pretty quiet (except around the lakes) but there was a good amount of people also camping around the shelter.

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Jesse Pena
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 13, 2019
HikingBlowdownBridge outMuddy
First to Review

I planned this route so that I could backpack 30 miles in a weekend. I fell just short of that goal as a trail re-route shortens the mileage. I came out with 29.63. Where the Red Cross trail terminates at the Ramapo-Dunderberg the RD follows the blue Timp-Torne; continuing straight would take you east away from West Mountain lean-to. Take a left & up onto the blue TT all the way to the shelter. The first 9-10 miles are moderately difficult. - Maybe a half hour from beginning there was a section of trail turned into a beaver dam. I took off my shoes & socks and waded in until I could go around it - The terrain gets more challenging after the yellow Suffern-Bear Mountain crosses the Palisades. Its a fun scramble. The Red Cross trail is far easier by comparison. West Mountain was my layover spot. A bunch of scouts occupied the shelter, as others were setting up tents nearby. I did the same and it was a nice night The second day was just as strenuous. The rocky ankle-twisting sections that were tough on the feet. To close the day the AT takes you up & down up and up & down before returning to the parking area. A challenging weekend trip with some nice views and great place to camp.

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Tyrell Rogers
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Hiking
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Sheri Power
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Hiking
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Piotr Stapor
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Hiking
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Kirk Snyder
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Hiking
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Rocio Romero
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Hiking
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Michael Romeo
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Hiking
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Naval G.
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Hiking
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Rich Suweidan
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Hiking
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Stony S
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Hiking
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Katie Bogart
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Hiking
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