Hiking NY – Sterling Forest Bare Rock  and Sterling Ironworks – May 2020

Moderate and fun hike at Sterling Forest State Park.  It is roughly a half-day hike at 8.38 miles. Leading up to the fire tower there is a decent hike up elevation, otherwise, it’s a fairly easy trail with some beautiful views. It’s particularly nice here during the fall.


  • Lake
  • Streams
  • Good Views
  • Fire Tower (Closed due to COVID-19)

  • Ruins (Sterling Ironworks)
  • Wild Flowers

Table of Contents

Fun Fact(s):

Ruins of Sterling Ironworks are accessible for viewing on Lakeville Ironworks Trail. In 1736, rich iron ore deposits were discovered starting the history of Sterling Ironsworks. The plant was closed in 1923.

In 1998, Sterling Forest became a NY State Park.

Weather Forecast:

Getting Here:

Below is the location of the parking lot.  Click on ‘Directions’ to get a Google Maps route to here. Come early as by 9:15 am the lot was filled to capacity.

Official Maps:

Trail Map, Elevation and Statistics

Total distance: 8.84 mi
Max elevation: 1351 ft
Min elevation: 732 ft
Total climbing: 2067 ft

Trail Guide:

  1. [0.0 miles] Trail entrance is located across the street to the left of visitor’s center, Blue trail marker.
  2. [0.15 miles] Take Blue trail marker for Sterling Lake Loop.
  3. [0.32 miles] Continue straight with Blue trail markers. We’ll catch Lakeville Ironwork Trail and the ruins on the way back. NOTE: a portion of this next segment is on a local road prior to going back into Sterling Forest.
  4. [0.81 miles] Swing left following Orange trail markers for Bare Rock Trail. This takes you off the road and back onto the trail network within Sterling Forest.
  5. [1.48 miles] Continue straight following Orange trail markers / Bare Rock Trail.
  6. [2.03 miles] Split left to continue on with Orange trail markers / Bare Rock Trail.
  7. [2.17 miles] Turn right to continue on with Orange trail markers / Bare Rock Trail. You can cut the hike short by going to the Fire Tower from here and miss the beautiful view of Greenwood Lake.
  8. [2.83 miles] Turn right at sign for Bare Rock Vista. Beautiful view of Greenwood Lake.
  9. [2.91 miles] End of Bare Rock Vista. Catch some views and turn back on the Bare Rock Vista trail.
  10. [2.97 miles] Turn right continuing with Orange trail markers / Bare Rock Trail.
  11. [4.58 miles] End of Bare Rock Trail. Turn left following Green and Red/White trail markers towards Fire Tower.
  12. [4.83 miles] At the lake, turn right following Red/White trail markers / Fire Tower.
  13. [5.31 miles] BE CAREFUL – easy to accidentally miss the left turn and go straight. Turn left following Red/White trail markers / Fire Tower.
  14. [5.94 miles] Arrived at Fire Tower. Fire tower access closed to COVID-19 precautions. Continue to follow the Red/White trail markers / Fire Tower.
  15. [6.84 miles] Go left following Red triangle markers towards Sterling Lake.
  16. [7.34 miles] At the street turn right walking next to the Sterling lake.
  17. [7.60 miles] Turn right to catch Sterling Ironworks ruins following Yellow trail markers / Lakeville Ironworks Trail.
  18. [7.92 miles] Cross the street going straight following Yellow trail markers / Lakeville Ironworks Trail.
  19. [8.14 miles] Turn right connecting back to Blue trail markers.
  20. [8.38 miles] Finish


Sterling Forest State Park Visitors Center

American Robin, Wikipedia

Sterling Lake

Fairly easy trail with a slow incline.

View of Greenwood lake from Bare Rock Trail.

I believe the formation of the lake is due to hard work of beavers

Eastern chipmunk, Wikipedia

Nice view leading up to the Fire Tower. Good place for a drink and a snack after hiking up the incline.

While Fire Tower entrance is normally open, due to COVID-19 precautions, access is closed.

Sterling Ironworks ruins:

Tablet which commemorates the ruins of Sterling Furnace.

Wheelhouse powering shafts that would bring up material from the lake mine.

Part of the iron ore processing plant.

Remaining homes of the Lakeville community employees that worked at the plant.

Sterling Furnace and the stream besides it which powered bellows to force air to increase the furnace temperature.

Another view of the original Sterling Furnace built in 1751. It was later joined by two other furnaces as part of the operation.

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