The next time you’re fretting about not having time for a weekend getaway, consider this: Driving to Harriman State Park can take less time than getting from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Thirty miles from NYC, New York State’s second largest park is just a stones throw away. Known for its 31 lakes, Harriman State Park also features 200+ miles of hiking trails, along streams, woods, and beautiful vistas of the Hudson Valley and NYC. With lots of new money funneling into the area, several pockets of this region are booming back to life – creating more amenities in NYC’s backyard oasis, a haven for hikers, cyclists, and lovers of the outdoors.

Though we’d recommend renting a car for the weekend to better explore, it’s easy to get to Harriman via public transit. Both Sloatsburg and Suffern have easy access MetroNorth stations close to their main streets. From there, visitors can get a cab or Uber that will take you to the trailheads, restaurants and other attractions. (You can simply walk to some, too!) Read on for your perfect weekend in Harriman State Park!

Where to Stay: Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club

The innermost garden at Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club provides the perfect spot to unwind. All photos by Erin Lindsey/Escape Brooklyn.

Tucked into the village of Sloatsburg, in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains, Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club is just 30 miles from the George Washington Bridge. But you’d never guess it. Surrounded by 70,000 acres of forever-wild parkland of Harriman State Park and Sterling Forest, there are trails and lakes in every direction. Its unique location was not lost on owner Michael Bruno, whose vision transformed this property from a dilapidated mess to a heavenly oasis, which transports guests in an instant to the European countryside. His passion for the outdoors is carried from the design to the hotel programming — which is very fitness focused — offering guided hiking, biking, and kayaking to guests. 

Bruno’s passion for the outdoors is only matched by his passion for design, evident in the details throughout Valley Rock Inn. Known for his founding role at online antique and vintage mart 1st Dibs, his eccentric style and love of storied objects is carried through each space, with lots of texture mixing, neutral and dark color palettes, animal prints, and big, bold art pieces. Large windows allow the outside in. In total, there are a dozen renovated buildings, all of which form a wall around multiple interior gardens — creating a magical protected oasis.

For overnight guests, lodging is available in four historic renovated guesthouses. Though they date to the mid-1800’s, each building was gut renovated to house 3-5 bedrooms and a spacious living room. (With the exception of one room, all guest rooms have an ensuite, as well.) The houses are offered on a 1-to-5 bedroom basis, and offered exclusively. Additional perks for guests include breakfast, yoga and spin classes, and access to the 7,000 square foot gym. A 75-foot heated pool is available for guest use from May through September.

What to Do:
Hiking and Biking in Harriman State Park

One of many lakes inside Harriman State Park.

Enter Harriman State Park through Seven Lakes Drive in Sloatsburg, which is exactly as it sounds: a scenic drive that passes seven lakes. As the main road through Bear Mountain and Harriman state parks, the windy passage offers gorgeous views of wildlife, landscapes and small lakes that dot Harriman. Cyclists know and love this route, with several stop off points for a rest, picnic, or even a hike! (If you’re bringing a bike, make sure to pack your helmet too; you’ll be ticketed if spotted not wearing one.)

Reeves Meadow Trailhead is one of the most popular in the park, offering multiple trails soon after the trail begins. With so many options, it can seem overwhelming, but following the red blazes on this trail will take you to a mountaintop lake after about 2.2 miles; most people stop here for a bit before turning around and heading back down the mountain. If you’re up for more of a challenge, the Seven Hills and Reeves Brook Loop is 4.4 miles with some fun rock scrambles, and offers expansive views atop each hill (there are seven) of the New York City skyline, Torne Valley, and Catskill Mountains in the distance.

In Suffern, a short walk on the Appalachian Trail provides stunning views of the NYC skyline. Take the Suffern-Bear Mountain trail, following the yellow blazes, up to the viewpoint for a short but rewarding hike. Most people turn around here, but note that this is the longest trail in the park, clocking in at 18.8 miles. If you forget to turn around at any point, you’re going to be walking for a very long time!

For more information on any of these hikes, check out the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference website; you can also buy maps at the Reeves Meadow Trailhead. (For a techier alternative, we’d also recommend downloading the All Trails App)

Rainy day? Plan B: check out what’s playing at the historic Lafayette Theater in Suffern!

Where to Eat & Drink in Harriman State Park

Al fresco dining at Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club.

Whether you’re a hotel guest or not, visitors to Harriman State Park should make a point to eat at Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club. They’re generally open Friday through Sunday, but play it safe by checking their schedule or reserving online here. Expect yummy farm-to-table fare like woodfired pizza, salads, burgers, and so on. Alternatively, they also have sandwiches-to-go at the on-site organic café — perfect to grab-and-go for a hike. Other easy options include Village Blend in Sloatsburg, and newly-opened location of beloved Java Love in Suffern — both offer sit-down, quick bites like sandwiches, soups, and salads. Last, health-conscious Mia’s Kitchen in Suffern is a favorite among locals and hikers; for a more indulgent lunch hour, check out Torne Valley Vineyard, whose tasting room housed in a Victorian mansion overlooks Torne Mountain.

Whether you do a short hike or a 22 mile bike ride, chances are you’ve worked up an appetite by the end of the day. For dinner, we love the casual vibe at Seven Lakes Station, a craft beer bar with a cute backyard serving up sandwiches, German pretzels, burgers and the like — plus, some great vegetarian options, which can be hard to come by. For more formal dining, check out the massive Mt. Fuji, a mountaintop Japanese restaurant featuring chefs working tableside hibachi grills. It’s grandiose in every way; plus, the views from its mountaintop location are absolutely stunning.

This post is sponsored by Rockland County Tourism. All views and recommendations are our own.