Camp Bluefields

Camp Bluefields, Blauvelt State Park (10/31/2008)

This is Hike 1 ("The Army Tunnels") from the book Hiking the Road to Ruins with the addition of a 2-3 mile loop to a park high point and a jaunt back using other blazed trails. The highlight of this hike is undoubtedly the exploration of the abandoned Camp Bluefields, which was built in 1910 as a training rifle range for the National Guard. It was abandoned for this purpose in 1913 but then used by the YWCA as a camp until 1918 when it once again became a training facility, this time for soliders during World War I.

The most fascinating parts of what now remains are the several long target walls, where targets were raised on rails and then shot at, and three tunnels of varying length, built to allow soldiers to get from one area to another without being shot. All the tunnels can still be entered and two of them can actually be walked end-to-end. At points, you can also walk on top of the tunnels which is easier than bushwacking from one point to another. The longest tunnel is at least a quarter mile long, and in almost complete darkness during its entire extent (so bring a flashlight). David Steinberg gives an excellent description of how to explore this area, and we were able to follow his instructions perfectly, spending at least two hours wandering for miles among the ruins.

After exploring these ruins, we took the Long Path north about a mile to the high point just east of Tweed Boulevard. We returned via the Red trail (from near the high point), and then the White trail back to the Long Path to the parking area. The trails can be seen on this hand-drawn park map. Total distance traveled was probably seven miles in about 4.5 hours (much of that exploring the ruins).

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

What a pleasant start!

Parking area

Damned pond

Bridge over creek

Abandoned car


Beautiful pine forest

My favorite tree ...

... the majestic pine


First glimpse of middle tunnel

Entrance to middle tunnel

View of target wall from entrance

Laura in middle tunnel

In middle tunnel

Small slits in tunnel

View to the entrance

Woah! That spider is huge!

Tunnel crickets abound

Proceeding down middle tunnel ...

... we encountered a flooded collapse ...

... so we went back to the entrance

Target wall outside middle tunnel

Blockhouse opposite middle target wall

Near eastern tower looking down to tunnel

View of eastern tunnel from tower

Below first target wall

Laura peering inside wall hole

Eastern tower from below

Walking along eastern tunnel

On top of eastern tunnel

Huge tree crashed on tunnel

At entrance to eastern tunnel

Eastern tunnel entrance

Eastern tunnel target wall

Close-up of electrical recess

Hole in ground ... not today!

Graffiti is all over

Entering eastern tunnel

In eastern tunnel [photo by Laura]

View of target wall from eastern tunnel

Inside eastern tunnel

Laura climbing into room under eastern tower

Another room below tower

[Photo by Laura]

Northern-most room under eastern tunnel

Climbing out of wall hole

Laura on top of western tunnel

Root entrance to western tunnel

Laura about to enter western tunnel

Western tunnel is about to implode

View to end of western tunnel

Exit of western tunnel

Laura at exit

Stairs to first pit

Looking up from first pit

Inside first pit

View from above

Collapsed tree near second pit

Graffiti on wall near pits

Beneath western tower

View from below

Western tower

Back through western tunnel

Laura climbing out of western tunnel

On the western tunnel

Done exploring, back on Long Path

High Point on Long Path

View west from Long Path

Manhattan skyline

Graffit at high point

Our lunch spot

View of Hudson River

On the White trail

Damn crossing on Orange trail

On top of Orange trail damn

Ruins ...

... on Orange trail ...

... which suddenly ends

Pond on Orange trail

Back to the pines of the LP


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