Monday, April 22, 2013

Mountain Lakes Park, Orange Trail Loop and Mt. Bailey

April 22, 2013

Distance: 4.0 miles
Time:  1 hours 20 minutes (hiking fast)
Year to date miles: 48.8

Map: Mountain Lakes Park brochure or Walkable Westchester

Parking: Hawley Road, North Salem, NY. The sign for the park was at an intersection, and we had no idea where to go. The online map shows the parking area (marked as Park Office) more clearly than the map in the book. Turns out you should turn to the left. There is a park office shortly after turning left. Park in front of the park office. A paved road continues, and it looks like there is a smaller dirt parking lot past it, however there were gates, and we didn't want to risk getting gated in. The park closes at sunset, and we knew we would be finished after sunset. The gates actually didn't get shut. There is room for maybe 6 cars?

Restrooms: Plenty. At the park office building. Then we saw at least 3 porta potties along the trail.

Post hike dinner: n/a

Directions: We did a clockwise loop of the orange trail. The trail starts out as a dirt trail just to the right of the park office. Just keep following the orange blazes. The trail is well marked. There is a sign for Mount Bailey (highest mountain in Westchester). It is a green blazed trail to the left of the orange blazed trail. Hike to the summit (marked with a sign), and then backtrack and continue the clockwise loop of the orange trail. You will arrive back at the parking area.

Notes: This is what I call a very "clean" hike. The orange trail starts out as a soft dirt trail. It was odd. There were tons of leaves in the forest, but the trail was just soft dirt, with no leaves on it. It looked like someone had blown the leaves off of it. The soft dirt trail ended, and the trail became a wide, rough gravel trail for almost the rest of the duration. Gravel is my least favorite footing for trails. It is uncomfortable to walk on for me. The majority of the trail was gravel - it felt like we were walking "next to" nature, not "in" nature. It just isn't my kind of thing. It might be a good place to take people who don't want to actually hike. The end of the trail was paved.

We did see several deer and a turkey on this hike. Only one other person - a jogger with a well behaved off leash dog.

Sign near the parking area. We returned via this road.

Lake along the hike. We had to hike fast to get out before dark, so no time for swimming.

The park has some cabins and yurts available to rent.

Walking along gravel. Most of the orange trail looks like this. I believe the other trails in the park are all dirt trails.

A mountain - of course we had to take a detour.

Summit photo - highest point in Westchester

Returning on the green blazed trail (not gravel!) - sunset - better rush.

Returning to the parking area - starting to get dark, but we finished without headlamps.

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