Wild Meadow Road to Quaker Clearing

6.5 miles
S - Strenuous
Willowemoc Wild Forest

Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.98009 W74.57523

Warning: This hike is a through hike that requires a “car shuttle”. An “out and back” hike would be 13 miles! Be sure to allow plenty of time for driving.

Getting There: Exit State Route 17 at exit 96W and turn right. At the next intersection turn right on to Old Route 17. Exit State Route 17 at exit 96E and turn right at the end of the exit. Turn right at the end of the road onto Old Route 17. Drive 1.2 miles and turn right on Beaverkill Road. Drive a little less than 20 miles on the Beaverkill Road passing through the hamlets of Lew Beach and Turnwood. Just before Turnwood be sure to follow the road as it bears right. The road turns to dirt and the last few miles are difficult to travel. Park in the parking lot for Balsam Lake Mountain at the end of the road. Leave a car and drive back the way you came. Turn left on Old Route 17 at the end of Beaverkill Road and and drive 1.5 miles to DeBruce Road on the left. Turn left and pass under State Route 17. From the “caboose” drive 14.2 miles on DeBruce Road to Wild Meadow Road (Black Bear Road) on the left. On the right is Round Pond. Drive 3.2 miles to the end of the road where there is a snowplow turnaround. It is legal to park here although the occupants of adjacent camps sometimes disagree.

Difficulty: This hike is rated STRENUOUS because it is over 6 miles and has a stream crossing and several areas where you must bushwhack as there is no marked trail.

Trail Surface: The trail surface is generally dirt, grass and leaves. There are some rocky areas along the way and many areas with tree roots to negotiate. There are several muddy and wet areas. The “side-trips” to Tunis Pond and Vly Pond have no marked trails.

Hike Description: The Neversink Hardenburgh Trail begins on a woods road that leas in to a hunting camp. Stay on the road as it passes through the hunting camp and continue on the trail on the other side. As you walk the first part of this route you will hear the waters of Fall Brook flowing roughly south on the east side of the trail. The trail can be very wet in places. Cross over a brook and head up a little gaining some elevation. The Fall Brook lean-to is about 1.7 miles into the hike. After passing the lean-to, a swampy area appears on the right of the trail which leads into a series of beaver ponds and beaver meadows. Once you have a clear view you will see Doubletop Mountain on the right in the background. This area is the headwaters of Fall Brook which runs south and the Beaverkill which runs north and west. The trail parallels the Beaverkill for a short distance and then seems to end at the stream. The trail has been eroded here by the stream and it may be easiest to cross and hike on the north side until you again pick up the yellow blazes of the Neversink Hardenburgh Trail. The trail parallels the stream for some time. At about 3.4 miles Tunis Pond will be on the right or north of the trail. Look for some paths or simply head off into the woods walking due north until you find the pond. It is really a hidden gem and well worth the effort. Retrace your steps to the main trail and head west again. The trail rolls some over a few hills and crosses some woods roads. At about 4.8 miles you will cross the outlet stream to Vly Pond. After crossing the stream work your way up the western edge of the stream to Vly Pond. This is a short side trip and an easy one as bushwhacks go. After you take in the beauty of the pond, turn around and go back to the main trail. Head west again toward Quaker Clearing as the trails rolls and crosses some streams on bridges. At 6 miles begin a half mile ascent of 200 feet to the parking area and your car. You can now relax on your drive back to Quaker Clearing.

Terrain Difficulty
S - Strenuous
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