Bare Rock

Bare Rock, Sterling Forest (8/21/2010)

For years the NYNJTC maps for Sterling Forest have included a viewpoint overlooking Greenwood Lake from the east labeled "Bare Rock". But there were no blazed paths to get to it! That is until now. The good folks at the NYNJTC have recently blazed a trail, all the way to the vista which is, in my opinion, the most spectacular viewpoint in all of Sterling Forest and one of the two or three best vistas within the northern NJ, southern NY area. From Bare Rock, one can see the entire Greenwood Lake from its southen tip to its northern tip. Across the lake are Bearfort and Bellvale Mountains. One can imagine where the AT traverses across the western side of the lake. It's an amazing spot. While the trail is not currently shown on the most recent NYNJTC Sterling Forest map (fourth edition 2008), it is shown on this map.

Today we parked in parking area P14 on East Shore Road and took the Fire Tower trail from its southern terminus into the forest. It climbs a lot first heading north, then east and then north again until the newly-blazed Bare Rock trail (not on the 2008 Sterling Forest map) begins on the left. Making a left on that trail we continued climbing, and climbing, and climbing. This is a somewhat strenuous hike, but the view is worth it. After taking in the view and eating lunch at Bare Rock, we continued on the trail until reaching the West Valley trail, upon which we turned right. This we took south, passing a very swampy, flooded area a bit south (we had to bushwhack parallel to the swamp in the forest above). We continued on the West Valley trail until meeting the Fire Tower trail which we then took back to the car. This time we visited another wonderful viewpoint very near the parking area, overlooking the lake at a lower altitude and further south than Bare Rock.

Total distance traveled was 7.4 miles in approximately 4 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Fire Tower trail head

Climbing from the get-go

Small bridge over dry creek

Small swamp along edge

Now the trail is a woods road

But not used often


Sterling ridge off to the left

Climbing a very rock Fire Tower trail

The Bare Rock trail

On a whaleback

Very brave chipmunk

And more climbing

And even more climbing

A partial viewpoint east

Hills in the distance

Sterling Fire Tower

On the ridge

Now descending

The spur to the vista

Approaching Bare Rock

Northern tip of Greenwood Lake

[photo by Laura]

Southern part of lake

What a view!

Mountains directly west

Boats in lake


View of northern tip

Marinas on western side

House below Bare Rock


Souther tip of lake


Lots of room here for lunch

Back on the trail

Tons of dead trees

Foundation remains

West Valley trail

Swamp off trail

It flooded the trail here

Beaver handiwork

Lush green in swamp

Beautiful wildflower

More signs of beavers

Viewpoint close to parking area

View across lake

Bearfort Mountain

Taking a rest

Boats in the lake

Back to the bridge

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