Mianus River Gorge Preserve

Description: Mianus River Gorge is a peaceful moderate hike in Bedford, NY close to the Connecticut border. Some of the highlights of the hike include the Havemeyer Falls and the Hobby Hill Quarry. There are over 4 miles of well marked and maintained trails. If you do the majority of the trails, the hike should take around 2 hours.

The parking lot is large with information, trail maps and bathrooms (they were locked when we arrived.) We started off on the red trail which runs next to the Mianus River. Because the preserve is off main roads, it is rather peaceful. There are 18 numbered signs along the trail that show off points of interest, detailed in the trail map.

We took the green trail to see the Hobby Hill Quarry which sparkles with Mica and other stones. People have made their own stone structures along the way. The quarry marks the end of the green trail, so we went back to the red trail. As you continue on the red trail you go a bit further from the river and deeper into the woods. Be sure to stop at the Havemeyer Falls along the way. The end of the red trail has a nice view of the reservoir and is the end of the preserve so you will need to head back. We took the blue trail back which at times intersects the red trail.

Quick Facts: The preserve is open April 1-November 30th daily from 8:30am-5pm. Hiking is the only activity allowed. The preserve’s website has a lot of great information including upcoming events.

Bug Level: We started the hike around 10am and did not experience a lot of bugs swarming around our faces.

Directions: You will reach a spacious parking lot after traveling on some small unpaved roads with mostly private residences. You can use this Google Map or visit the preserve’s directions page. It is realively easy to get here, just be sure to drive carefully on the unpaved approaching the reserve.

Trail Map: You can download a detailed trail map here or pick up one when you arrive at the preserve. They seem to keep a steady supply available.

Pictures coming soon!

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Oscawana Park and Graff Sanctuary

Description: Oscawana Park and Graff Sanctuary are relatively small parks located in Cronton-on-Hudson, NY. We decided to start off with Graff Sanctuary after getting a bit lost trying to find Oscawana Park. Graff is a 29 acre Sanctuary that is very close to people’s homes and it very well marked for such a small place, only .8 miles of trails. It is a very easy going and relaxing hike with only three trails. You can start out on the Red Jack-in-the-Pulpit trail and veer to the left on the White Tulip Trail, then connect with the Blue River View Trail. This takes you on a loop around the park. We connected with the White trail and took it all the way up to Furnace Dock Road. From there we went left and followed the very desolate road until we reached the sign for Oscawana Island Park.

Oscawana Island Preserve is a small island peeking out into the Hudson River. It is a very straight forward walk following White blazes. There are some boat launch areas, picnic tables and benches. This is a great place to come to relax or walk your dog. The views near the water of the Hudson are quite nice and you can relax on some of the rocks close to the water. There are a few brick structures, most likely storage and a very random and intact fireplace. After walking through the whole island we headed back on Furnace Dock Road. While venturing back we saw some white blazes by some stone steps along the road. We followed the white markers into the woods and found some remnants of what appears to have been a mansion. We walked around a bit and came to a point where you could go in a few different directions, but all the markers were the same white color. The markers we followed ended up taking us back to the road. I believe that is also part of Oscawana Park but there are no signs indicating that. We connected with Graff again and looped around, using the Red (Steep Hill) trail which was decently steep and followed the loop until we returned to our original parking area.

Directions: You can start at either park and easily walk down to the other. I would recommended starting out with Graff Sanctuary, you can use this Google Map or visit the Saw Mill River Audubon site for specific directions. There are two parking areas here. You should park at the Briggs road entrance if you plan to walk over to Oscawana Park after.

If you want to start at Oscawana Park you are going to be looking for the parking area on Furnace Dock Road. Take Route 9 to the Montrose/Bucannan exit and make a left to go south on Route 9A. Make a right onto Furnace Dock Road and drive around 1.1 miles to the parking area.

Trail Map: You can find a map of Graff Sanctuary here. They also had maps a both entrances. The only map available for Oscawana, you can find here. However, its not worth printing out as the park is very straight forward.

Pictures:

Entrance to Graff sanctuary – right off the road

 

Nature

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Hudson Highlands State Park – Northern Trails

Description: Hudson Highlands State Park has some great trails so we decided to explore some of the northern trails.

The Red Brook (BK) trail starts with a climb up some step-like rocks along a nice little waterfall. As you ascend, you will start to see some ruins of the quarry town that once thrived. Parts of the ground are paved with irrigation tunnels and you will run into interesting ruins of stone houses. Walking along the Brook trail, there are many streams and mini damns that make it a very calming and beautiful hike.

We decided to take the Brook trail to where to meets up with the Blue Nock (NO) trail in order to check out one the scenic overlooks. You will eventually run into the historic Cornish Barn ruins. After the ruins the trail became a bit more taxing as there is more uphill walking. The view at top was very nice, however some of the other overlooks are better.

After taking in the view, we back tracked on the Nock trail until we met up with the Yellow Undercliff (UC) trail. There is decent amount of hiking uphill here. There are a few really nice scenic overlooks here that give you a great view of the Hudson and the surrounding mountains. We took this trail all the way down to Cold Spring where we took a nice pub crawl break.

The first part of the hike took roughly 4 hours. After our break, we walked along 9D until we reached the Blue Cornish (CO) Trail. The Cornish trail is a relatively easy going trail that runs alongside 9D. Most of this trail is paved until you get closer to the Brook Trail. Once the trail met up with the Brook Trail we followed that until we arrived back where the hike started. This part of the hike took around an hour.

Trail Maps: Hudson Highlands provides trail maps for it’s northern and southern areas. You can download the northern map here, which applies to this hike. There were no maps at the beginning of the hike, so it will be best to print your own copy become leaving.

Getting There: You can get to the park relatively easily. Click here for Google Maps directions. If you have a GPS you can put in the Breakneck Ridge Metro North Station or there’s a restaurant called Chalet on the Hudson, located at 3250 Route 9D Cold Spring, NY 10516.

Parking: While driving north on 9D there are some spots along the side of the road large enough to park in. If you want to start as the same trail head as we did, it will come up on the right side of the road about a half mile before the tunnel. Past the tunnel there is a lot for Breakneak Ridge, which gets filled quickly. You can also go to the larger lot that is just a bit further north past the Breakneak Ridge lot.

Pictures:

 

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Cranberry Lake Preserve

Description: Cranberry Lake Preserve is a great place to enjoy a relaxing hike. With the recent rain, the park has a few muddy and partially flooded areas, but nothing you can’t work around. They have a Nature Lodge which is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Because the map has so many different trail colors, navigating can be slightly confusing. There are 4 main loops around the park, Purple, Red, Blue and Yellow. You will want to make your way around most of the park as there are a few things you won’t want to miss. There is a Bent Bridge which takes you across some wetland and the Cascade is a pleasant small waterfall. There is also an abandoned Tennis court. The most worth while thing to see is the quarry. The Purple History Loop takes you below and atop the quarry which offers a worthwhile view.

If you have some free time after the hike, you should check out the Kensico Dam which is only a few minutes away by car. Most of stone used to make the Dam in the early 1900’s was mined at the quarry you can visit at Cranberry Lake Preserve.

Trail Map: You can download and print the trail map here. There is also a history trail map that you can print out and take a long if you are interested in learning more about the park and it’s history.

Directions: You can get specific Google Map directions here.

Parking: There are two parking areas. The first parking area in is a small lot, allowing for 5 or so cars, and is located in front of the main gate. You can park here if you arrive earlier than 10am or on Mondays and Tuesdays when the main gate is closed. The second parking lot is larger, just a bit further up past the main gate.

Pictures coming soon!

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Muscoot Farm Hiking Trails

Description: Muscoot Farm is a well maintained and popular destination. Most people come to the park to see the animals, farm, and farmer’s market. They offer a few trails, which are mostly very leisurely hikes that go through woods and fields.

Directions: This is a pretty easy place to find. Just head south on Route 100. The farm is located near the intersection of Route 100 Route 35. Muscoot Farm has more detailed directions on their website.

Parking: There’s plenty of parking with the farm. On really busy days you may need to park along Route 100 – but that’s normally discouraged with cones they put near the entrance.

Map: Muscoot Farm Trail Map

Pictures:

No hike is complete without a gazebo

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Muscoot Farm – The Animals and Farmer’s Market

Muscoot Farm is a great way to keep those kids busy for an hour or two or simply enjoy a beautiful day outdoors. The Farm has been around since 1880 and has some educational displays within the farm. There are plenty of farm animals to see from donkeys, cows, and horses to pigs, goats, and turkeys. Be sure to bring your camera. A good time to visit is on the weekend. While it does tend to get quite busy, you can check out the farmer’s market and the farm hosts various events. Check out their website to see what is happening.

Nice little garden near the entrance

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Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown

Description: Hilltop Hanover is a nice little jem to take a nice hour and a half trail walk on a Sunday morning with just enough up and down that you might break a little sweat.

Directions: This place is actually high budget compared to most other organizations. They actually have an informative website and directions at hilltophanoverfarm.org, make sure to check out their donations

Map: Download a map here. They have a map posted at 2 entrances, and a slot for where there are free maps, yet I’ve never actually seen a map in there – you’ll want to likely print one or memorize the one at the entrance, although this area is so small its really hard to get lost anyway.

Parking: There’s a stone lot just past the stand where they sell vegetables which will fit about 4 cars. Normally when I go on a Sunday there’s never been another car there. Although its likely much busier on Saturdays when they do U-Pick vegetables.

Pictures:

Hilltop Hanover Farm

The farm itself is in the distance when coming up the hill

 

Guinea Fowl Crossing Sign

The guinea fowl were hiding this time, although I saw them last time.

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Bald Mountain – John E Hand Park – Teatown Kitchawan Trail

Description: Bald Mountain is a short half hour hike to the top, which in itself isn’t really worth doing unless you’re just taking your dog for a walk or want to break in your new bikeThe view isn’t much in the summer as everything is grown over, even in the winter its far from breathtaking. You’ll want to combine this with either a walk around Teatown or extend your walk the other direction along the Teatown-Kitchawan trail towards Kitchawan preserve. There are also some unmarked trails, or some poorly marked yellow trails which are also frequented, mostly by bikers, which might be worth adventuring a little.

The Teatown-Kitchawan Trail (purple blazes) is very well marked, from the entrance you’ll follow those purple blazes until you get to the green trail on your right(not so well marked) which will bring you to the summit of Bald Mountain. Once you get to the summit you’ll turn back around and head down to where you joined the Purple Trail. If you have a bit more energy, I’d suggest instead of taking a left and heading back to parking, you take a right and follow the trail until you get to the Taconic state parkway before turning around.

You’ll have a nice walk through a field and an enjoyable walk along the Croton Reservoir if you decided to take the right. You could follow the purple trail all the way to Kitchawan Preserve (which I prefer to combine with the North County Trailway).

Trail Map: You’ll want to make use of this Teatown-Kitchawan Map , or you have a map posted at the entrance courtesy of the NYNJ Trail Conference.

Directions: You’ll want to take the Taconic to Rt 134 w heading towards ossining. Then not far off the exit you’ll make a right onto Spring Valley d, then a turn onto Blinn Rd, and follow that until you get to the park entrance. Or you could take 134 eastbound from 9A and just make the left onto Spring Valley instead.

Get directions from Google Maps

Parking: There’s enough spots for about 4 cars in the parking area. If its full then your best bet is to plan on parking in one of the larger lots that are accommodated by Teatown and either coming back up or switching up your plans as there really isn’t anywhere else to park without annoying some local residents.

Pictures:


John E Hand Entrance

Here’s what you’ll want to look for on Blinn Rd

 

John E Hand Beginning

You start out a bit in the thick but it opens up very quickly

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Brinton Brook Sanctuary and Jane E Lytle Arboretum Hike

Maps: You have 2 options

  1. If you just want to do Brinton Brook, then the map from the Saw Mill River Audobon Society is sufficient.
  2. However, I suggest extending you hike to at least the Jane E. Lytle Arboretum as well and using the whole map of Croton. Alternatively you can check out Graff Sanctuary and there’s the newer walkway along the Hudson.

Brinton: Brinton Map
Croton: Croton Area Trails Map

Parking: I ended up parking at Arrowcrest road right before the Hudson Golf club entrance, parking there is limited so you can only fit 4 cars there. Alternatively you can take the private road to get to another entrance, or take fox road and park at Jane E Lytle arboretum which connects to brinton brook behind the golf club.

Description: The trail itself is very easy. I wish I had known of them earlier when I used to live in the Amberlands complex which they happen to go right behind. You basically stick to taking a series of left turns and can do a loop around the trails. Since I started at Arrowcrest, I started on the white trail, followed that and took a left onto yellow, then a left on the red for a short distance where I took a left back onto yellow.

This will lead you back to the alternate entrance, where you’ll stay on the yellow going north. You’ll take a left onto blue, then a left onto green, then a left onto white which you’ll follow behind the golf park into a loop around the Jane E Lytle Arboretum. After the loop you’ll come back on the white trail and take a left back onto the Green trail. After this you’ll take a left on the yellow and then a left on the white and be back where you parked.

While you’re in Croton make sure to grab a drink at the Black Cow if you like coffee. They have the best tasting coffee I’ve had in the area; I personally prefer the Cow Whip. If you’re hungry for dinner, I’d suggest the Ocean house. They have the best seafood I’ve ever had, in a quaint little train car restaurant that was renovated from the previous breakfast diner that I frequented. I suggest putting your name in for a reservation one night then taking the nearby walkway across 9 and following the path either way along the Hudson. Its a great way to burn off an hour as well as the great meal you’re about to eat.

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High Tor Mountain

Address:
High Tor State Park
415 South Mountain Road
New City, NY 10956

Description: High Tor State Park in itself is Pool and recreation area, with lots of kids and pets running around which I preferred to avoid. So park your car and put on some bug spray and sun tan lotion and check out the corner to the right(with your back to the pool).  You’ll see a rock path that goes uphill, with a gate that blocks you from taking your atv or some other vehicle, so follow that up a bit until you join with the long path which will be running perpendicular.

From here, its a simple left or right, you’ll want to take a right if you want to get to High Tor peak. The path itself is wide and well marked, its far from a difficult hike and practically a path with nothing special about it besides the view and its ease. Unless you want to continue on the long path (which stretches across half the state for almost 350 miles) then a map isn’t even needed for this part.

As you follow along the path, after a while you’ll eventually find the peak on your left. I veered off the path a couple times, as there’s a couple good views along the way. But when you get to the summit you’ll be overlooking Haverstraw and the Hudson, and its well worth it and the best view in Rockland County I’ve found to date. Once you find the view, its just a matter of turning around and going back to where you came from. It wasn’t more than 45 minutes in each direction.

History: Maxwell Anderson wrote a 1937 play, High Tor, the basis of a 1956 movie with Bing Cosby and Julie Andrews which was inspired by this summit.

As one of the highest elevated points in the county, High Tor was used by the colonists as a signaling post during the Revolutionary War, apparently there was a bit of a scuffle with some redcoats at the time.

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