Farny Highlands

Farny Highlands, (10/11/2008)

This is hike #33 ("Farny Highlands Hike") in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City (2nd edition). When I first read the description for this hike, I was hesitant because the second half of the hike is completely on unblazed trails and it was clear from the hike description that the unblazed trails intersected with, forked off from, and ran into, other unblazed trails. Given the fact that no good map exists of this park, I almost didn't attempt it. But I'm sure glad I did. The nearly 9-mile hike includes a wonderful view from the Hawk Watch, a beautiful stroll past the Split Rock Reservoir on top of the dam, a fascinating up-close visit to the Civil War era Split Rock Furance, a very lovely walk along the Beaver Brook (on one of the unblazed trails where you won't see another hiker), a visit to the 19th century St. Patrick's Cemetery, and a quick jaunt to the Hibernia Mine, which is the home of loads of wonderful bats; there's even a viewing platform for watching them during their daily flights out (at sunset) and in (at sunrise).

Having said that, if you're going to attempt this hike, you have to pay attention during the second half or you will end up backtracking. We lost about 15 minutes trying to locate the path for where to cross Beaver Brook (turns out we didn't wait long enough to get to it), and the rest of the second half required nearly constant attention to where we were in context of where we had been. But it's worth it.

On this map you can see the trail of the hike: at the parking lot off Green Pond Road, we hiked the white-blazed trail all the way to the reservoir. We then picked up the green trail (green on the map -- unmarked in the park) to the black path (again, black on the map, unmarked in the park) back to the car. The map isn't enough to hike this, however. The description in the book is necessary to help navigate through the intersections and forks.

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

Ruins at the trail head

The last layer comes off!

Autumn colors


At the Hawk Watch

The Mountain Club off Route 10


Dan at the Hawk Watch [photo by Laura]

Black-headed chickadee

Equipment of serious "birders"

Fake owl at Hawk Watch

Eating from Laura's hand!


Iron arrow deep in the ground

One of many giant boulders

Ferns turning color


Powerlines near reservoir

Split Rock Reservoir

Reservoir fishing

Walking along the dam

The Split Rock furnace

Furnace stonework

Dam from the furnace

Closer examination

Graffiti on dam

Looking up inside the furnace

Beaver Brook behind the dam

Post for measuring water levels

Ruin of another furnace downstream

Lovely stroll along Beaver Brook

Beaver Brook

Beaver Brook crossing

Lots of blow downs

Quite a bit of leaf drop

Abandonded car near White Trail

Vintage lawnmower

Path goes through open field


Trees starting to turn

Explosion of color

St. Patrick's Cemetery


Right in the forest


Hibernia Mine cave

View from cave

Hibernia Mine cave

Bat viewing platform

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