Shades of Death Trail, Hickory Run State Park

A cold snowy winter day is the perfect time to take four New Yorkers and my six year old on a hike in Hickory Run State Park. We normally take visitors to Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park, but the ice would have made it too dangerous. I have been on the Shades of Death trail a few times, but never in the winter and I hoped it wouldn’t live up to its name.

We parked at the park office, and walked about 150 feet up the road to head of the trail’s Ridge Section. When we first got underway, I was a little worried that the ice would make it unsafe. We kept moving and found it wasn’t too bad, just a few slippery spots. The park’s information calls it the prettiest trail in the park and I have to agree. The trail is narrow and winds thru the valley by Hickory Run Stream. Ice was everywhere. It glistened and sparked where the sunlight hit it. Every where the water splashed onto the rocks and down the water falls froze up in interested patterns and shapes.

There a a several logging damns and old dams hundreds of years old and it was fun to see new ice formations and different rock out croppings at every turn. My boy dashed ahead blazing the trail, and we all tried to keep up. The air was cold and felt so clean and fresh in my lungs. Eventually we came to a playground about 1.5 miles and took a break while my son got out the extra energy he carries around. Someone has cookies and we stopped for a snack and a drink. Cookies are the perfect hiking snack.

What is your favorite trail in Hickory Run State Park?

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