Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

This was my third trip to the western part of Black Rock Forest. I only took a few photos. For a more complete record of this part of the park, see my blog post from 2010.

It was Batya’s first trip to the forest. We parked on Mine Hill Road, and hiked up Mine Hill Trail, which always gives nice views:

View from Mine Hill Trail, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

View from Mine Hill Trail

Fall had set in, and the colors were quite muted, though we still found a few wildflowers.

Wildflowers, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Wildflowers

We took the Sackett Trail and Short Cut Trail to Hall Road, which soon led to the gate:

Hall Road Gate, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Hall Road Gate

Beyond the gate, we continued on the Highlands Trail, finding a nice splash of yellow Fall colors:

Yellow Fall colors, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Yellow Fall colors

As well as some red:

Red Fall colors, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Red fall colors

We passed Jupiter’s Boulder, and we were reflecting on the fact that we hadn’t encountered any other hikers. I suddenly recalled that unlike the publicly owned parks, Black Rock Forest is owned by a private group, and at times it is open to hunting and closed to hikers. Not being a hunter, I had no idea when hunting season was, but I checked my smartphone and learned that we were within bow hunting season, but not yet rifle hunting season. We heard some gunfire, but realized that must be from a shooting range, such as at nearby West Point. We were dressed in bright colors, so I wasn’t too worried about being mistaken for a deer by any bowhunters, but I also didn’t want to be ticketed for trespassing.

As we approached Mineral Spring Brook, we ran into one of the local targets. We assured him that we did not have any bows and arrows, and he relaxed. He was relatively close and not terribly skittish; I hope that he survived the hunting season!

Deer, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Deer

 

Deer, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Deer

We continued on past Mineral Spring Falls, thinking that if we had to leave the park (to avoid continued trespassing), that we could exit at Old Mineral Springs Road and follow the road back to the car. However, that proved unnecessary, as we found a kiosk that clarified that the park is only closed to hikers during rifle hunting season. Soon after reading that notice, we saw a few other hikers on the trails.

Therefore, we backtracked and spent some time at Mineral Spring Falls, and then began to retrace our steps through the park, back toward the car.

Batya hiking on a trail covered with fallen leaves:

Hiking on a trail covered with fallen leaves, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Hiking on a trail covered with fallen leaves

A hilltop as seen from near Jupiter’s Boulder:

Hilltop seen from Jupiter's Boulder area, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Hilltop seen from Jupiter’s Boulder area

Bright red berries:

Red berries, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

Red berries

The Mine Hill Trail provided another nice view in the late afternoon, as we hiked down to my car:

View from Mine Hill Trail, Black Rock Forest, Orange County, New York

View from Mine Hill Trail

 

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