- Photo by Susan Magnano
- The Sloatsburg clock in the village center along Route 17.
As the songbirds return and the trees bud green again, the Hudson Valley is springing to life after a long winter. The hiking trails of Harriman State Park beckon people searching for outdoor adventure in the rustic woods. The villages of Suffern and Sloatsburg in western Rockland County are perfectly poised to host that trail adventure, offering day trippers and weekenders a healthy recreational outing on the many surrounding trails.
Both villages have easy access train stations right next to their mains streets, and both are becoming popular places for tourists seeking a scenic getaway in Rockland County. If you already have your trail legs ready to go, you can even hike the 10 miles from Suffern to Sloatsburg on the scenic Bear Mountain Trail, which provide perfect views of the NYC skyline.
From hiking and biking to dining and nightlife, each village offers a different but engaging take on a gateway park community. In either case, both villages are beacons, drawing visitors from across the Hudson Valley and beyond into Rockland County for a unique Harriman State Park outdoor experience. Here are some places to eat, stay, and visit on your trip to Suffern or Sloatsburg. For more resources, check out Rockland County Tourism.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
- Photo by Mountain Peak Fitness
- Hikers walking through Suffern, NY, are on their way to connect with the Suffern Bear Mountain Trail.
If you arrive by train and deboard hungry, you’re in luck. There are a handful of eateries and watering holes within walking distance of the train station just off Suffern’s old-time main street, Lafayette Avenue, complete with the historical 1920s Lafayette movie theater. Sloatsburg’s quaint village center is a one street over from Route 17, which forms the heart of Sloatsburg’s burgeoning downtown scene.
Suffern’s Lafayette Avenue has cuisine for everyone from American to Latin, Italian to Indian, and Chinese to Japanese food. Suffern’s main street also serves as restaurant row and should give pause as you decide what flavor food you might want.
Mia’s Kitchen is an anchor on Lafayette Avenue that attracts locals, who know good, healthy food and visit often. Owners Michael and Cynthia live and enjoy the Suffern area and have set their mission to bring fresh, healthy and great tasting food to the community. From delicious wraps, paninis, soups, salads and chili as well as hot entrees like bacon wrapped meatloaf, stuffed eggplant and lemon/garlic salmon, Mia’s will fuel you before and after any outdoor activity and it’s a great place for those with specific diets such as gluten-free.
Jay’s Thai Kitchen is a vegan-friendly place on Lafayette to get a tasty tofu or thai dish or a perfectly satisfying chicken satay. A small, family-owned operation, Jay’s Thai Kitchen is perfect food after a long hike.
A refreshing margarita and an endless supply of kitchen baked chips and homemade salsa awaits you just down the street at La Hacienda Don Manuel, which is a great place to find authentic Mexican food that draws regulars from around the Route 17 corridor communities. There’s also Olé Olé, another fave with locals that offers Mexican/Latin dishes with a fantastic variety of tapas.
Up the road just off the entrance to the Suffern Bear Mountain on the way to Sloatsburg you’ll find Finks BBQ & Cheesesteak Roadhouse serves up the best beef rib and BBQ in the area with a great beer selection and always seems to have an amazing live show playing some sort of offbeat Americana.
Torne Valley Vineyards is down Torne Valley Road, off the beaten path, but provides an amazing weekend trip. Hidden in the historic Hudson Valley, less than an hour's drive from downtown Manhattan, Torne Valley Vineyards offers a unique stopover for wine and dinner or live music, facing the far cliffs of Torne Mountain. The renovated 1875 historic mansion sits on lovely landscaped grounds and offers live music, wine tastings and a small plates menu on weekends.
Find many more options at https://www.suffernchamber.org/restaurants.
Just down the highway, or next train stop, you enter the Village of Sloatsburg, which includes Seven Lakes Drive, the southern entrance point into Harriman State Park.
Characters Bar & Restaurant is a family-friendly, Irish-style restaurant frequented by locals. Enjoy Emerald Isle specialties like bangers and mash or the Full Irish breakfast, or try their popular pizzas.
- PhoTour Adventures
- Seven Lakes Station Craft Beer & Taproom in Sloatsburg, NY, right on Route 17.
Craving a cold beer after a long hike? Seven Lakes Station can hang with the best of the Hudson Valley’s craft beer bars. While the tap selection is predominantly local brews, there is always one Belgian beer (picked by one of the Belgian owners), as well as a cider and a wine list. There is a to-go beer market and a bier garden in the back for warmer days.
Since opening last fall, The Village Blend cafe has rapidly become the anchor of Sloatsburg’s new Village Walk pedestrian corridor and a favorite of locals in search of their daily cup of joe. In addition to coffee, Village Blend serves offers ice cream, fresh baked goods, and daily lunch specials.
For a fun, no frills meal, Rhodes North Tavern offers a jovial environment with an extensive menu spanning classic pub fare, German food, Italian dishes, and steaks. This popular roadside restaurant and bar hosts bands and other programming nearly every night of the week, drawing crowds from around Rockland County and the city.
- Valley Rock Inn
Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club serves Saturday lunch from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy a walk through the landscaped property located in the Sloatsburg village center. Parking in the Commuter Lot is free and open to the public on weekends. Sample a wood-fired oven pizza, farm to table fresh special salads or the Valley Rock Half Pound Burger with herbed potatoes.
Wander Out into the Wilds of Harriman State Park
A 1.5-mile walk from the Sloatsburg Train Station, Reeves Meadow is a small Harriman State Park visitors center on Seven Lakes Drive. From Reeves Meadow there are several day hikes people can explore. One of the most popular hikes is the Ramapo Torne/Racoon Brook Hills Trail, a 7-mile, four-hour loop that offers expansive views of to the south of the New York City Skyline, Torne Valley, and Hillburn. From Reeves Meadow there are also several weekend trips possible for the more stout and daring who are looking to stealth camp.
- Photo by Susan Magnano
- Bike through the many miles of open roads of Harriman State Park in western Rockland County.
Cyclists will have a blast on the mostly downhill Seven Lakes Drive, which starts at Silvermine Lake. Along the way stop at streams, beaches, camps, and shelters (you can even stay overnight in a lean-to or tent) before you finish and refuel in Sloatsburg.
At the southern edge of Harriman State Park in Torne Valley, rock climbers will find solace and scalable routes. The Powerlinez area provides a feast for climbers of all stripes and is the only Palisades Park sanctioned and certified section of southern Harriman park where climbing is permitted. Most of the climbs are easily accessed from the network of marked trails that begin at the trailhead on Torne Brook Road.
Kayakers and other boaters can launch at a number of Harriman State Park lakes. Lake Sebago along Seven Lakes Drive is only three miles out from Sloatsburg. Although the lake is closed at this time for swimming, the boat launch is open. Palisades Park season boat permits are a must to put your kayak in the water and cost $30. Two boat permit stations include Tiorati Circle (no trailers) and Beaver Pond Campgrounds.
- PhoTour Adventures
- The road to Harriman State Park and outdoor adventures. The Reeves Meadow Visitor Center is 1 mile up from Sloatsburg along Seven Lakes Drive.
If you’re looking to get the most out of a weekend getaway and do it all, AMC Harriman Outdoor Center offers hiking, paddling, and camping opportunities. The Center offers common space for outdoor programs, waterfront access to 64-acre Breakneck Pond, a dining hall, and group meeting space. Accommodations include group and family cabins, tent platforms, and three-sided shelters, offering a range of overnight experiences.
Founder of the online antiques and art marketplace 1stdibs.com, Michael Bruno, is a proven tastemaker and savvy entrepreneur. His aesthetic ambition has found a new outlet in his latest endeavor—Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club. This stunning three-acre property has become a central attraction in Sloatsburg, boasting everything you need for a perfect relaxing getaway from its two restaurants to its fitness classes to the hiking and biking trails. Valley Rock draws visitors for its open Saturday lunches, served 12-4pm with the bar remaining open until 5pm.
For a small village of just over 3,000 residents, Sloatsburg has a full line-up of spring events starting with the last weekend of April. The On Saturday, April 27, head to the Sloatsburg Library for the annual Spring Fling, which will feature popular Rockland County food trucks, kids crafts, and live music by New York City-based Americana band The Locksmiths.
The following day, Sunday, April 28, the Sloatsburg Chamber will host the Spring Block Party, from 11am-4pm at the Village Walk. Adjacent to The Village Blend, a bustling new coffee house, and the elegant Valley Rock Inn. The festive event will feature an assortment of vendors and live music, as locals and visitors gather to welcome the spring season.
The Friends of Harmony Hall in Sloatsburg welcome visitors to the historic Jacob Sloat House. This summer learn about the Ramapo River Watershed on Sunday, May 19, at 2pm. when Harmony Hall Curator Geoff Welch discusses the history and importance of a vital waterway that winds its way through the Ramapo Mountains. The talk is free. Welch follows up on June 2 at 2pm. with an afternoon discussion on the Art of the Ramapo River Valley. The Ramapo River was a magnet for New York City and other Hudson Valley artists, as was the patronage of Jacob Sloat. The Hudson River School artists often visited the area for scenic, rustic scenes.
Listen to Sloat direct descendent Peter Bush talk about the historical significance of the Harmony Hall in Sloatsburg which offers a range of arts and educational programming.To plan your next trip to Rockland County, visit Rockland County Tourism at Explorerocklandny.com.