A Stroll Around Harriman State Park

Are you planning your next outing but wondering where to go? You are tired of visiting amusement parks, and flights aren’t a possibility. Perhaps you have limited time off work. Well, in that case, a park is your best bet. Let me share with you one park that is near and dear to our family. My aunt lives in Harriman, New York. She has lived there my entire life. About 4 miles down the road is the Harriman State Park, so needless to say our family has spent a great deal of time there.

The next time your children beg you for a vacation, take them to the beautiful Harriman State Park. The park is a delight for anyone who loves spending quality time in nature. It contains beautiful landscapes and cabins that you can use if you have fussy toddlers around.

The state park is situated around many lakes and streams. It is also a short drive away from some breathtaking peaks you can visit on the way. Here’s a small but handy guide that you can use to plan your next trip to Harriman State Park.

The Geography

Before visiting any park, it is important to understand whether it will be a suitable option for your family. Fortunately, Harriman Park can be your answer. The park enjoys its snug location in the south of New York, right along the New Jersey border.

Harriman State Park holds the title of the second-largest park in New York. It is stretched over 74 square miles and touches the Storm King Forest Reserve, a part of which is located within the park.

The History

During your trip to Harriman State Park, you might encounter a well-intentioned family member speaking into your ear, spewing facts about the location’s history. Here are some interesting tidbits you can throw back;

  1. The park’s inhabitants have a long ancestry. It has been hosting many people for a long time. This includes the popular Lenapes, known for their ancestry and ties to the Delaware and Hudson Rivers.
  2. They were followed by the railway revolution, which witnessed a businessman by the name of Edward Harriman and his wife purchase around 46.3 square miles near Arden, New York. However, the Harrimans found it hard to protect the park.
  3. After the death of her husband, the wife sold a part of the region to the Governor at the time in return for a state park built in the area. This was an effort to preserve the region. Since then, the park has been expanding.

Today, Harriman State Park contains the Seven Lakes Drive, which connects people to the park and increases attendance.

The Activities

Now that you have learned all about Harriman State Park and its rich history, you might be eager to know what you can do during your visit;

1.      The Seven Lakes Drive

You can choose to drive through Harriman State Park, which includes a trip to all of its lakes and a view of the entire landscape. You might get lost will all the things you can partake in, so it is important to choose your adventures carefully.

2.      Water Sports

While visiting the lakes in the area, you might be tempted to partake in watersports-related activities. The lakes offer you the opportunity to go kayaking, opt for swimming in the lake, hiking the trails, skiing (if it’s cold enough), or simply have a picnic by the lake with your loved ones.

3.      Hiking

The park offers a wide variety of trails for you to explore, and they are way too many to list, so we will leave you to seek them out and choose for yourself. Each trail is better than the last, so put on your hiking boots and have some fun with them! Some trails we would recommend are listed below;

  • Long Path Hike
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Dater Mountain Loop

While hiking, you might stumble upon some mines in the surrounding areas. Feel free to explore them but be careful as a slip can lead to a nasty sprain.

4.      Camping

This might not be for everyone, but if you are a person who likes to spend a night out in nature, you should go for it. Plan an adventure by combining hiking, watersports, and camping to turn it into a proper vacation.

The Wildlife

We can’t enjoy a trip to Harriman State Park without experiencing the beautiful wildlife inhabiting the area. The park is covered with thick forests with unique trees. These trees are home to some animals that are native to this region.


The forests are coastal in nature and include both broad-leafed and conifer trees. The higher you go, the more varieties you find. It is important to conserve our forests, and we owe this preservation to the Harrimans, without whom this state park wouldn’t be possible.

Small Mammals

Like all forests, Harriman Park contains both small and big mammals. The smaller ones might not get your heart racing, but they are a delight for smaller children who love fluffy animals. These include rabbits, squirrels, and even the odd skunk (beware of being sprayed).

Bigger Mammals

Despite recent conservation efforts, some animals have gone extinct. These are partly due to the hunting activities that were common in the region in older times. If you lived here some centuries ago, you might have encountered a wolf or a mountain lion that would have stopped you in your tracks.

However, that doesn’t mean you should roam around without caution. Know that the area is still heavily populated with black bears along with the white-tailed deer, some foxes, coyotes, and snakes. Beware of the danger that comes from threatening these animals.

If you keep your eye out, you might even be able to spot and record the active bird life that roams around in the Harriman skies.

Final Thoughts

The activities at Harriman State Park await you. Plan your visit today and visit the beautiful park, which is rich in history, scenery, and wildlife. There is always something you can do at Harriman Park. You just need to choose!

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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