Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rockefeller State Park Preserve Loop

March 22, 2015

Distance: 8.8 miles
Time: 2 hours 57 minutes

Elevation gain: 964 feet

Year to date miles: 64

Map: Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Parking: Route 117, Sleepy Hollow, main preserve entrance

N41° 06.692' W73° 50.243'
$6 parking fee using parking machine (the machine doesn't give change - you need the exact dollar amount or a credit card).

Restrooms: In parking area


Cross street from parking area, and pass under building archway.
Head straight towards Swan Lake.
At the lake, turn right onto Brothers Path
Follow Brothers Path in a counter clockwise loop around the lake until you reach the dam.
Turn right onto Brook Trail.
Cross under Bedford Road.
Turn left onto Buttermilk Hill.
Turn left onto Goat Trail (views of city, but also snow free!)
At intersection where Raven Trail goes left, turn right onto Perry Road.
Turn left onto Flying Squirrel Trail (first time it intersects with Perry Road).
Stay straight (slightly to the right) at four way intersection.
Turn left onto Ferguson Loop.
Pass lake on your right.
Turn left on a Rockefeller Family Trail towards Bedford Road.
Cross Bedford Road.
Follow path to the right of the road.
We got of our planned path this point.
We walked along the driveway for the Stone Barns Center.
Pass Stone Barns on your right.
Pass parking area, barn on your right.
Find trail on left.
Pass field that looks like a mulching area?
Turn right on a Rockefeller Family Trail.
A pasture will be on your left.
At intersection, stay straight on Brothers Path.
Continue along the east side Swan Lake.
At dam, turn left, now on the north side of Swan Lake.
Pass Deer Run.
At next intersection where there are 3 trails to the right, take the middle trail, with sign to the parking area.
Pass under arch of visitor center.
Cross street and arrive at parking lot.


Our goal was to do a 2 hour fast paced hike. I found some trail distances listed in the Walkable Westchester book, but the book doesn't cover all of the trails. There are a huge number of trails in the park. Besides having a too small printed copy of the map, we also used a map on my IPhone, which was incredibly helpful. We use Avenza PDF maps, and you can download the Rockefeller map free from this app. The app shows you exactly where you are on the trail network - and you can zoom in. Super helpful, since not all trails are named. In some places, intersections are very clearly marked with posts displaying the name of the trail. In other places, there are no markings.

This hike is on carriage roads. It climbs some gentle hills. We still found it moderately challenging due to the trail conditions. We had a mix of ice, bare ground, slush, and 6"-10" deep snow. The snow was the most challenging. We only brought microspikes. The trail conditions changed frequently. Sometimes you'd be on bare ground for 300 feet, then switch to 6" deep snow for 300', then ice. We did take off our microspikes when we had longer sections of bare ground.

The trails around Swan Lake and the Stone Barn Center have more people than the trails to the east of Bedford Road. We saw some horses, many joggers, and many walkers. It's a beautiful park for easier hiking.

Cross the street from the parking area, and start the hike here.

This sign shows a clear picture (more clear than the online map) of the parking area and it's relationship to Swan Lake.

Icy footpath around Swan Lake. This is one of the more popular trails with walkers.

Swan Lake

Many of the trails are marked with posts (no blazes).

Crossing under Bedford Road

Easy hiking on a gravel carriage road.

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