Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Watergrass Sanctuary, Garrison, NY

June 4, 2013
Distance: 2.1 miles
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Year to date miles: 125.5

Map: East Hudson Trails Map

Parking: Route 9, across from Watergrass Sanctuary sign, north of Travis Corners Road. Space for around 5 cars in a gravel parking area on side of road.
Restrooms: None
Post hike dinner:  Sue & Hai, Yorktown Heights, NY

Directions: The parking lot is on the opposite side of Route 9 as the trail. Route 9 is a busy road with fast moving cars. We walked back and forth along the side of Route 9 trying to see a trailhead sign for the trail. The bushes are so overgrown, it took a long time to find a blaze. It wasn't obvious - and I've seen someone else say they gave up looking for it. The trail head is maybe 100 feet to the left of the Watergrass Sanctuary sign. You basically won't see it until you go through tall/grass brush into the woods.

The blazes are yellow. Just keep following the yellow blazes. The trail is NOT well marked. There are blow downs across some of the trail still. We had a hard time finding/following the blazes. It looks like very few people hike here, because the trail is not well defined. We also noticed that the blazes indicating turns seemed to be reversed. What we read as a left turn seemed to indicate a right turn and vice versa. It was very confusing. Even Trek, who is super good about finding/following trails, got messed up.

Eventually you reach a meadow. On the right there is a long rock slab with a small view out to the Hudson River. On the left is a huge meadow. We followed the trail to the right of a stone wall just outside the meadow. Then we arrived at the second gate into the meadow. The blaze indicated to turn left (or so we thought) into the meadow. Except maybe we were really supposed to turn right (not into the meadow) - this was before we discovered blazes seemed to be reversed. We walked into the meadow, but found no blazes around the meadow. So - now we are thinking we weren't meant to go in the meadow! Not sure if the meadow is part of the property. We hiked to the bottom of the meadow, where we saw a farm with cows outside of the meadow. We were happy the meadow had no cattle inside it. Once at the end, we just turned around and retraced our steps, since that seemed to be the end of the hike.

Notes: This area is owned by the Audubon Society. It is part of Scenic Hudson, which does allow dogs on leash on their properties. Normally Audubon properties don't allow dogs, but I'm guessing it was okay? It was unclear. The back of the NYNJTC Conference map didn't say anything about the property. I looked online to find as much as I could about the property before hiking there, but didn't find much.

So, the hike was frustrating at first, because we had problems finding/staying on the trail. The view of the meadow was nice. But, we actually hiked in the meadow (thinking we were supposed to, but now not so sure), and that part was WONDERFUL! The meadow grass was chest height, and it really was quite a special experience to walk though it and only see meadow in the distance. There was one cow? sculpture in the meadow. There were pretty wildflowers in the meadow. I'm wondering if sometimes there are cows in it? I would love to learn more about the meadow.

And amazingly - we had not a single tick on us when we finished the hike!

Sign for the Sanctuary on Route 9. The trailhead is maybe 100 feet to the left, and through the bushes.

Once through the bushes, we found this.

View of the meadow from the first gate.

At the second gate, the blazes indicate a left turn into the meadow. This is the last blaze we found though.

Walking along the right side of the meadow, looking for a blaze.

Trek had a hard time walking in the meadow - it was much taller than him, and he had to snake his way through the grass.

The meadow is large.

View from Trek's level.

Loved this - meadow as far as you can see.


  1. The "meadow" you hiked in to is part of the Saunders Farm. It would not be unusual for you to run into his grazing horses or cattle and if come up between Labor Day and Halloween you'll find the fields strewn with outdoor sculpture as part of the Collaborative Concepts annual show.

  2. We saw cattle in the adjacent meadow, and were glad they weren't in the same meadow as us! I found information on the sculpture show online, and will try to stop by and see it then. So, is hiking allowed in the meadow?

  3. My wife and I along with our dog Jack hiked Watergrass yesterday it was still not well marked and it was late in the day so we didn't make it to the meadow. we were trying to find that trail for a while but your blog helped. How's it going with the hikes? we do hikes in this area with our dog Jack. Good luck. Paul k

  4. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you get to try again and do reach the meadow. I loved it there!