Sunday, March 6, 2016

Stillman/Highlands/Bluebird Trails Loop from Mountain Road, Storm King State Park

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
3/6/2016 4.1 miles 1 hour 58 minutes 1,302' 2.3 mph N/A

Trail Map
Parking: See directions

Directions: Stillman/Highlands/Bluebird Trails Loop

Glen is still recovering from his treadmill accident, so Trek and I went hiking by ourselves. We did this lollypop loop in a clockwise direction instead of counter-clockwise. I decided to carry my microspikes which seemed like overkill. I hiked in this park last weekend and didn't need them at all. However, I hiked in this area in winter before, and I remember some spots being a bit tricky. The hike started out easy enough on a woods road. After the intersection with the Bluebird Trail (I stayed on the Stillman Trail doing this hike in reverse), the Stillman Trail is a narrow trail on the side of Storm King Mountain. I met a group of hikers who told me the upcoming trail was very difficult and they had to bushwhack around the ice. They had no microspikes. I continued on and soon started hitting ice flows across the trail. The ice was hard and actually my microspikes didn't grip well. Where the ground was level, I just crossed the ice carefully. In some areas the ice flows were too steep and I ended up having to go around them. It wasn't bad, but I did have to take my time and be careful. After passing the white blazed by-pass trail, I took off my microspikes and the rest of the hike was ice-free.
This hike has a lot of good views. The viewpoints tend to have flat rocks which are great for stopping at for a snack or a rest. The very first viewpoint had a bunch of broken glass - probably because its the closest one to the parking area and easy to get to. We did pack out a beer bottle & a water bottle we found.

Starting out on an easy woods road

First viewpoint

The start of the ice flows. 

Bannerman Island

Snack break

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