Lemon Squeezer – Appalachian Trail

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The Lemon Squeezer - Appalachian Trail

Scramble through the Lemon Squeezer – a narrow rock crevice on the Appalachian Trail – and hike past Island Pond, Boston Mine, Green Pond, and the Valley of Boulders.

8.2 miles. Rugged and rocky trail surface, but other than the Lemon Squeezer area, no real scrambling.

Our two cents:

The Lemon Squeezer is a really interesting and fun section of the Appalachian Trail. The AT goes through a tight opening in large rocks, squeezes through a narrow section, then scrambles up a rock face.

The scramble up is harder than it appears from looking at a photo and the shorter you are, the harder it is – but it’s totally doable for most. Unlike most scrambles in the NJ hiking area… you actually need to use your arms to haul yourself up there.

The scramble can be easily avoided by following the sign that says “easy way”. But at least give it a shot… it’s a fun challenge.

For those who are also lacking in the height department:  The white blaze is on the left side, but I think going up on the right side, is easier.

It also is nice to have someone spotting you because it feels like you are leaning back a bit.

Updated: 6/2021 – Page refreshed, not re-hiked. 7/2018 – Minor change in parking directions (via Rt 17) and update to yellow trail. 10/15/15 – Revised description; adjusted for the reroute of Stahahe where it no longer crosses the stream due to the bridge being gone. Added new photos and GPX.


Map:

#119 of the Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails map set. This map is really recommended when hiking at Harriman, simply because there are so many trail junctions.

Books:

This route in the opposite direction is now found in 50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley. A shorter variations are found in Circuit Hikes in Harriman, Take a Hike New York City and Hike of the Week. Detailed trail descriptions can be found in Harriman Trails: A Guide and History.


Parking: N41.26480° W74.15443° [Elk Pen Lot]

8/6/21 – NOTE!! The Elk Pen parking lot is NOT reachable from Rt 17N due to bridge work. Instead, the lot can be accessed via the Tiorati Circle on Seven Lakes Drive. Check the park site for current status.

1010 Arden Valley Rd, Southfields, NY 10975. Garden State Parkway North to 17 N to Rt 287 N to Rt 87/17N. Take exit 15A and turn left onto Rt 17 N. Pass the main entrance to the park and keep going, then turn right on Arden Valley.

Cross the bridge over the Thruway, and turn right into the large dirt lot next to a field.

There are many parking areas to access the extensive trail system at Harriman, and you can approach the Lemon Squeezer from a lot of directions. We chose to start at the Elk Pen lot, which is probably the closest to the Squeezer.


Restrooms:

None. There is a Valero on Rt. 17 N. in Mahwah NJ just before getting onto 287…. or use the last rest area on the Parkway if taking that to Rt 87 instead. There are some stores along 17 in New York such as Dunkin Donuts and a small gas station, then another gas station a little further along.

Note: On the Thruway are signs for a rest area 2 miles north of exit 15a – but if you go to that, there is no turnaround and the next exit is far far out of the way… we made that mistake many years ago, so now you don’t have to.

Video Note: The cool stone bridge at the end of the video is no more as it was washed out during a hurricane.


Hike Directions:

Overview: Appalachian Trail  (WHITE) – Long Path (TEAL) – Arden-Surebridge (A-SB – RED TRIANGLE on WHITE) – Lichen (Blue L on White) – Ramapo-Dunderberg (RED DOT on WHITE) – Dunning (YELLOW) – Nurian (White) – Stahahe Brook (RED BAR on WHITE) – Arden-Surebridge (A-SB – RED TRIANGLE on WHITE)

Quick note about blaze color… there are multiple trails marked red, blue etc, but they often have ways to differentiate… a BLUE L, a RED triangle, a RED DOT. The back of the Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails lists the color and shape, if any, for each trail.

0.0 – From the parking lot, follow the path in the center of the field to the edge of the woods and turns right.

Path in the center of a field with two backpackers in front of a mountain

Quickly turn LEFT and start following the Appalachian Trail (WHITE). The trail soon heads steadily up.

Sunlight streaming through trees

1.2 – Follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) as it turns LEFT when reaching a woods road [the road also goes to the right].

In just a bit, you may spot an casual trail on the right. This also leads to the pond but it’s not worth it.

1.4 – Arrive at a wide gravel road, called Island Pond Road on the map. Turn RIGHT and follow the gravel road through the small parking lot for nice views over Island Pond.

Bright fall foliage at the edge of Island Pond

There are casual paths to the rocks for a break with views of the pond.

Rocky edge of a pond with foliage reflected in the water

When ready, retrace your steps and turn RIGHT to keep following the Appalachian Trail (WHITE).

Pass some stonework on the Appalachian Trail.

Stone embankments along a trail

2.1 – Continue on the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) to the LEFT and enter the Lemon Squeezer.

Entrance to the Lemon Squeezer

Maneuver over and around large boulders.

Large boulders in the Lemon Squeezer on the Appalachian Trail

Shimmy through the tight passage – the “Lemon Squeezer”.

Hiker squeezing between two large slanted rock faces

Approaching the scramble section. The sign shows the easy way is a path to the left of that tall rock.

Large jumble of rocks along the Appalachian Trail after the Lemon Squeezer

The rock scramble – it’s taller than it appears here. Scramble up the rocks or follow the sign for “easy way” to skip it.

Looking back on the Lemon Squeezer from atop the rock scramble.

Either way, continue on the Appalachian Trail (WHITE).

Large tree with yellow foliage near a rock slab on a trail

2.9 – Large signpost for a 4-way junction. Turn RIGHT and now follow the Long Path (TEAL plus a Long Path circular disc).

Massive trail sign at junction with the Long Path

The trail follows the edge of a wet swampy area on the left.

Swampy area along the Long Path

3.5 – Turn LEFT and now follow Arden-Surebridge (A-SB – RED TRIANGLE on WHITE). (Also blazed for Long Path).

[In a few steps, pass the WHITE BAR trail on the right.]

3.8 – Turn RIGHT and now follow the Lichen Trail (BLUE L on WHITE).

The overgrown trail heads up to an open rock slab area with some boulders to sit on for a break with a wide view to the west and Island Pond.

View from the Lichen Trail over Island Pond

4.3 –  Turn RIGHT and now follow Ramapo-Dunderberg (RED DOT on WHITE). [Lichen Trail (BLUE L on WHITE) ends].

Follow the markers across open rock faces.

Fiery red low foliage along open rock slabs on a trail

There were tasty ripe blueberries along the trail one time we hiked this… if it’s late June into July, maybe you will luck out too.

4.7 – Turn RIGHT and now follow Dunning (YELLOW). [Dunning (YELLOW) also goes straight.]

5.1 – Keep following Dunning (YELLOW) as it turns LEFT, it’s also blazed WHITE BAR.

5.3 – Continue following Dunning (YELLOW) as it turns RIGHT and is no longer joined with WHITE BAR.

5.8 – Pass the entrance to the Boston Mine on the right.

Boston Mine entrances carved into the rock and partially filled with water

Looking out from the rock that surrounds Boston Mine.

Continue following Dunning (YELLOW) as the Nurian (WHITE) trail comes in, is co-joined, and then leaves.

6.1 – Continue on Dunning (YELLOW) past the small Green Pond.

Green Pond visible beyond trees.

The trail is rocky with just a little bit of almost scrambling.

Dunning trail is very rocky at the edge of Green Pond

Continue on Dunning (YELLOW) near Green Pond.

Large rock overhanging a trail

View of Green Pond.

Green Pond

6.4 – Veer LEFT and now follow Nurian (WHITE). [Dunning (YELLOW) ends]

White markers on a tree near a trail that is all rock

Head through the Valley of Boulders (a section of large boulders to walk through) before going downhill.

Large almost cylindrical rock
Valley of Boulders

7.0 – Veer RIGHT and now follow Stahahe (RED BAR on WHITE). [Nurian (WHITE) goes left and crosses the stream.]

7.5 – The trail turns to the right near where the remnants of a bridge are visible. Continue following Stahahe (RED BAR on WHITE) on what is now a woods road.

Stahahe (RED BAR on WHITE)ends and becomes Arden-Surebridge (RED) [which also goes RIGHT] but you likely won’t even notice. Pass fields on the left.

8.1 – Turn LEFT back onto the path to the parking lot.

Hiked 10/12/15.
Hiked: 6/27/10. Trail Blog: “Lemon Squeezer – Harriman State Park, NY