National Parks, New York State, USA

Top 20 things to do in Harriman State Park, NY! Updated for 2022!

May 11, 2022

Are you looking for the top things to do in Harriman State Park? Keep reading!

If you’re looking for things to do in Harriman State Park, keep reading because we have plenty of suggestions and ideas!

We’ve compiled a go-to list of things to do in Harriman State Park, with plenty of ideas to keep you busy and entertained during your time in the area!

things to do in Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park is the second-largest state park in New York State – which makes it an amazing location to visit if you fancy an escape from city life. And (of course) there are loads of fun things to do in Harriman State Park too.

Harriman State Park is located in Rockland and Orange counties (and is only a short 30 miles north of NYC). Making it a great location for those wanting a weekend away in nature.

Covering everything from mountain biking to wine tasting, you’re sure to find something on this extensive list that you’ll love, and plenty of things to do in Harriman State Park!

But before we get to into our list of things to do in Harriman State Park – let’s take a look at all the amenities available at Harriman State Park, NY.


Amenities in Harriman State Park

Here are some of the main amenities on offer at Harriman State Park. You’ll notice there are key amenities, such as campsites, gift shops, toilets, and showers. The large amount of amenities at Hariman State Park, makes finding things to do in Harriman State Park easy!

We also recommend checking out the weather in Harriman State Park before visiting, to ensure your activities are safe and recommended.

  • Biking
  • Boat Launches
  • Campsites, Cabins & Lodging
  • Fishing
  • Food
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Ice Fishing
  • Ice Skating
  • Playing Fields
  • Showers
  • Snowshoeing/X-Country Skiing
  • Swimming Beach* At Tiorati and Welch beaches
  • Visitor Center

Here are the top things to do in Harriman State Park!


Mountain Biking

things to do in Harriman State Park.

First on our list of things to do in Harriman State Park, it’s Mountain Biking. If you’ve got a need for speed, then you might want to consider mountain biking in Harriman State Park.

If you’re not familiar with this area, then you may not know that Extreme Mountain Biking is one of the top things to do in Harriman State Park!

We obviously don’t recommend doing this if you’re a beginner (mountain biking can be dangerous folks!), but for those with experience, it’s an exciting way to see the area.

As with all mountain biking sessions, we highly suggest packing a sturdy helmet (to be honest, this is compulsory!) and a first aid kit. Safety first!

This is a great option for things to do in Harriman State Park, especially if mountain biking is one of your main hobbies!

Read more about New York State: Top tips for visiting Watkins Glen State Park


Hiking in Harriman State Park

Next on our list of things to do in Harriman State Park, it’s hiking! The hiking trails around Harriman State Park are truly beautiful and tend to be the biggest draws of the area.

If you’re wondering just how much hiking you can get done here, then hold onto your hats – there are over 22 miles of hiking trails here, which makes hiking one of the most popular things to do in Harriman State Park. Yep, you read that right!

So, you certainly won’t run out of spots to explore in Harriman State Park.

Some of the most popular are:

  • Dater Mountain Loop
  • Kakiat Trail
  • Long Path hike
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Anthony Wayne short loop
  • Fire Tower hike

What we love about hiking here is the fact that most trails take you through stunning streams and woodland. So, a great hike in Harriman State Park is the perfect way to relax if you’re usually a city dweller. This is a great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park.

If you’re planning to bring your pooch with you, it’s worth remembering that whilst dogs are allowed, they must be on a leash (no longer than 6 feet) at all times.


Swimming in Harriman State Park

things to do in Harriman State Park

One of the top things to do in Harriman State Park has got to be taking a dip! However swimming is only allowed in 2 areas.

IMPORTANT: You’re only allowed to swim at Lake Tiorati and Lake Welch, so be aware before you get your swimsuit on and take the plunge.

Just be sure to keep things safe if you plan swimming in the lakes, as there isn’t really anyone to keep an eye on you! 

And of course, with all the things to do in Harriman State Park, safety should come first. Only swim in the correct designated lakes.

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Boating

things to do in Harriman State Park

Our next choice for things to do in Harriman State Park, is boating. If you’re not a big swimmer but you still want to experience Harriman State Park’s glorious waters, then why not hire a boat?

Before you set sail, just be sure to obtain a permit to avoid any nasty encounters with park staff.

The permits are around $30 for the season, so it’s nothing unreasonable. It’s a great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park.

Also, if you’re visiting during the winter months, you won’t be allowed to boat on the lakes as the boating season only runs from April to November.

If you’re not sure how to get a permit, just visit one of the ranger stations at Harriman State Park and someone will be more than happy to help you. It’s a great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park.


Bird watching

Next on our list of things to do in Harriman State Park, it’s birdwatching!

Birdwatching is quite a specific hobby, but if you’ve never tried it, we suggest giving it a go! And Harriman State Park is a perfect place to start!

There are so many amazing breeds of birds in this area of the USA, and you’ll hopefully be able to spot many of them during your visit! It’s a great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park.


Camping

You’ll be pleased to know that one of the top things to do in Harriman State Park is to stay there overnight!

Though you can set up your tent in one of the two group camping areas, you can also stay in a rustic Yurt if you’re feeling particularly festive.

If you’re looking to keep costs low though, we highly recommend taking the camping option as it’s technically free in Harriman State Park!

What’s more, you don’t need to obtain a permit to camp here (unless you’re heading to a group campsite – permits and costs do apply there, sadly!).

Though there’s plenty of room to camp here (46,000 acres worth to be exact), spots fill up surprisingly quickly so try to get in early. Camping is such a fun option for things to do in Harriman State Park, and it’s a lovely way to experience Harriman State Park too.

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Horseback riding trails

If you’re looking for one of the most epic things to do in Harriman State Park, then we recommend taking a horseback riding tour.

Seriously, can you imagine a more picturesque way to explore this amazing state park, than on horseback? It’s pretty incredible and one of the most unique things to do in Harriman State Park.


Visit Bradley Mine

Next on our list of fun things to do in Harriman State Park, it’s the Bradley Mine, which dates back to the 1800s.

There are actually quite a few abandoned mines in Harriman State Park, and you can find them spread across various hiking trails. Obviously – use caution, and before exploring anything like this – ensure it’s been certified safe for exploring.

Bradley mine is one of the most interesting ones in the park, but use caution when visiting (especially as certain access points to it are restricted). It’s a great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park.


Rock Climbing in Harriman State Park

things to do in Harriman State Park

Rock climbing is another great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park. But again, should only be done by experienced climbers, or as part of a professional activity group.

You may be surprised at this, but there are dedicated sections in the park that allow for climbing, which makes it one of the top things to do in Harriman State Park.

The Torne Valley area is where most climbing routes are, but any others are clearly signposted throughout the park so don’t worry about missing them!

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Nordic skiing and snowshoeing

If you happen to be heading to Harriman State Park during the winter months, then why not give snowshoeing or nordic skiing a try?

This is one of the most quirky things to do in Harriman State Park in the winter months!

There are over 24 miles of groomed Nordic skiing trails at Harriman State Park, so it tends to fill up quickly during high season. If you get chill, you can visit the historic Jones House.

If you don’t know, this spot essentially serves as a little warmer-upper for those hitting the slopes! Oh, and it doesn’t just offer respite from the cold – it offers great views of Henry’s Fork too! 

You’ll obviously need to time your visit right for this option, but it’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in Harriman State Park!

Read more about Upstate New York: 12 amazing ski resorts in Upstate New York


Mia’s Kitchen

After hiking, biking, climbing, and skiing, you’ll probably be looking for a well-deserved bite to eat! One of our favorite things to do in Harriman State Park is to visit Mia’s Kitchen in Suffern.

Located on Lafayette Avenue (which is just a short distance from the park), this stunning little kitchen serves up delicious healthy food.

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We’re talking soups and salads as well as heartier meals like meatloaf. Realistically, you wouldn’t want to ruin all that activity in Harriman State Park with a huge, blow-out meal, right?

Though we’re kidding, this place will make sure that you’re perfectly fueled for a day of moving and grooving! Another wonderful choice for things to do in Harriman State Park.

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Torne Valley Vineyards

Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/TorneValleyVineyards/

One of the best things to do in Harriman State Park is to visit Torne Valley Vineyards.

This sprawling site is located down Torne Valley Road and is a rather upmarket way to finish off a weekend in the area!

This beautiful vineyard holds wine tastings throughout the year that will introduce you to the area’s best wines. So, drink up!

It’s a great pick for things to do in Harriman State Park, especially if you love trying local wine!

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West Mountain Shelter

Next on our list of things to do in Harriman State Park, it’s West Mountain Shelter. The most popular shelter in Harriman State Park is West Mountain Shelter.

Though it may look like just a bunch of brickwork, it offers some of the finest views of the Hudson River and New York’s iconic skyline.

Though this should absolutely be on your list of things to do in Harriman State Park, just make sure you leave plenty of time for it.

It gets busy here, so if you want some decent photos, we suggest either heading up during the week or early in the day.


Visit Harriman State Park during the Fall

Our next option for things to do in Harriman State Park, is to enjoy the beautiful views and colors on offer in the area during Fall.

In the autumn, the areas really comes alive with beautiful foliage, leaves and wildlife.

If you’re dying to see New York State in the Fall – this is an amazing place to admire it! It’s a great option for things to do in Harriman State Park.


Fly fishing in Harriman State Park

Next on our list of things to do in Harriman State Park, it’s fly fishing. If you’re already a fan of fishing, then you probably know how well-known this area is for fly fishing!

It’s a well-known spot for fly fishing (one of the best in the country) Henrys Fork meanders for eight miles through the park.

It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Harriman State Park!


Do the ‘Seven Lakes scenic drive’

If you’ve exhausted all the outdoorsy activities, or if you’re visiting with people who can’t necessarily participate in the hiking or trails, then a really great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park – is scenic driving.

There are so many wonderful scenic drives around Harriman State Park, and it’s a great way to explore the park in a short amount of time. The Seven Lakes drive is a popular choice and one we recommend!

Jump in the car, whack on a fun playlist, and stop off at the various viewpoints and photo opportunities signposted around the park!

It’s a really great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park!


Some bonus suggestions…

Here are some more things to do (under an hour from Harriman State Park!)

Above, you’re read all the great things to do in Harriman State Park. But there are also loads of things to do near to Harriman State Park, within a short easy drive!

We wanted to include a few of these at the bottom of our list, because they’re all totally worth checking out, and only a short drive from Harriman State Park!

The first suggestion is 50 minutes drive, but the others below are only 10-15 minutes away. So totally worth a quick drive from Harriman State Park!


Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House is a 50-minute drive from Harriman State Park, and it’s well worth a visit! This is one of the premier spa resorts in Upstate New York, and it’s so beautiful.

In the summertime, this is one of the most beautiful hotel resorts in the area, and if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the area, it’s a great suggestion.

It’s also a great choice for things to do near Harriman state park!

Random fact… It was also rumored to be the inspiration for the book and movie ‘The Shining’ – but don’t let that put you off!

Read more about New York spa resorts: Top 10 weekend spa getaways near NYC


Bear Mountain Bridge

Editorial credit: Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Our next suggestion for things to do in Harriman State Park is visiting the Bear Mountain Bridge. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in the area, and it’s well worth driving over!

Take a look at the photo below and tell us it’s not worth a visit! It’s one of the most scenic bridges on the East Coast!

You’ll find it a 10-15 minute drive from Harriman State Park, so not far at all!


Bear Mountain State Park

Another great choice for things to do in Harriman State Park, is Bear Mountain. Bear Mountain is only a 15-20 drive from Harriman State Park, it’s so close!

Bear Mountain is one of the most loved State Parks in Upstate New York, so if you’re that close, you really should try to pay it a visit!


Stony Point Battlefield

Our next suggestion for things to do in Harriman State Park is Stony Point Battlefield.

Stony Point Battlefield is about a 10-minute drive from Harriman State Park, and well worth visiting if you consider yourself a bit of a history buff!

This location is the site of the 1779 Battle of Stony Point, and you’ll find a museum & a historic lighthouse there to explore!


We hope that this list of our top things to do in Harriman State Park has been useful!

What do you want to do in Harriman State Park? Leave your suggestions in the comments for more things to do in Harriman State Park.

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