Bushwhack Uncharted Sterling Forest – Intermediate 8-10 Miles
Norma Daniels, General Park Manager of the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission has determined that this bushwhack hike as originally planned would be a threat to the environment and a danger to ourselves. In an effort to protect us (after all, the maximum elevation of Sterling Forest is over 1000’), she sent me the email below politelyJ asking me to alter the route of the hike or we would be met by the police and our pictures posted on Lean-to’s throughout the state. Having tried to negotiate a solution under which I would limit the number of hikers and we would receive a permit (this reminded me of the Capital One commercial – “When your park says Yes, we say NO”) I am forced to make this an on-trail hike for our own safety. Incidentally, most of the areas we would have traveled on are open for hunting. So the land is closed unless you are going in to kill the wildlife. Ironic.
This will be an approximately 8-10 mile bushwhack hike through Sterling Forest. For most of the hike, we will be nowhere near marked trails, so you should see the park as few have. I have not yet determined a route, but we will be on NYNJTC Trail Map 100. Having done the blue trail many times, I plan to route to some of the trails I have not done. Among other things, we will be passing through the Doris Duke Wildlife Sanctuary. You can see the approximate trail at
From prior experience, you should expect this hike will feel like a 10-12 mile hike. This is a solid intermediate hike not suitable for beginners or slow intermediates.
Distance: 8-10 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,000-3,000 (educated guess)
We will head into the woods and figure out the best way to route our path as we go. We will be in uncharted territory. I do not know the thickness of brush, presence of swamps and water crossings, steepness of the proposed path, etc. Be prepared to walk in mud, push through brush, rock scramble etc. I am not trying to scare anyone. The terrain may be clear and dry. But I do not know. That is the fun of bushwhacking.
I estimate 5-6 hours., but it is difficult to tell until we hit the woods. Be prepared for wet leaves, streams, scrambling, etc. I recommend waterproof boots and gardening gloves for scrambling. Please bring a headlamp and a compass if you have them
We will be navigating mostly by compass.
One Rule. We enter as a group and we leave as a group. No lone wolves please. That being said, this is an adult hike and everyone is expected to know their own limitations. You are responsible for determining if you can handle an obstacle. The group will wait if you need to go around it.
Everyone should expect to participate in figuring out their own path. Please wear your thinking cap. We will hopefully have enough cars to stage at the beginning and at the end.
Parking and Directions
GPS Coordinates are approximate. The parking lot appears to be at the intersection of Beech Road and Long Meadow Road in Sterling Forest. It is designated lot P17 on NYNJTC Map 100.
Take Exit 15A off the NYS Thruway. Head north on Route 17 for a short distance (looks like less than half a mile). Turn left on Sterling Mine Road (Route 72) for about 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Long Meadow Road for about[masked] miles. Near the intersection with Beech Road should be the parking lot.
Responsibility of all hikers:(YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU)
Join these hikes only at your own risk. The hike leader and those connected to this group and this website may not be held responsible for the safety or well-being of anyone or their pets who chooses to join these hikes. By going with us, you agree to research the trip, send the organizer or others questions as necessary. On the trail, we all care for each other as friends, not as guides or leaders or agents – if you sign up to come, you agree to take primary responsibility for yourself. There are no “liability waivers” or other written agreements to sign. By signing up you pledge to agree not to hold anyone responsible if something somehow goes wrong.