April 17, 2024
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April 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

This easy 3.6-mile hike explores the 350-acre Sylvan Glen Park Preserve in Mohegan Lake, Westchester County, NY. The park is the site of a granite quarry that opened in 1890 and was abandoned in the fall of 1941. In its heyday, it employed hundreds of workers, and its high-quality stone was used to construct such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. Operations at the quarry were terminated rather abruptly, with the result that much of the machinery was left behind and still may be seen today. The hike should take about two hours, and dogs are allowed on leash.

To reach the trailhead from Bergen County, take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its end at the Bear Mountain Bridge, and cross the bridge. At the east end of the bridge, bear right and continue on US 202/US 6 East towards Peekskill. In 3.6 miles, you’ll reach the Annsville Circle. Take the first exit onto US 6/US 9/US 202, cross a bridge over Annsville Creek, and immediately reach a traffic light at a T-intersection. Here, you turn left onto the Bear Mountain Parkway. In about four miles, the Parkway ends at US 202/NY 35. Turn left onto US 202/NY 35 East and follow it for 0.8 mile to a traffic light, where you turn left onto Lexington Avenue. In 0.5 mile, turn right onto Morris Lane and follow it for 0.2 mile into the parking area for the Sylvan Glen Park Preserve. GPS address: 1750 Morris Lane, Mohegan Lake, NY 10547. The park is about 45 miles from Teaneck, and it should take about one hour to get there.

If coming from Riverdale or southern Westchester County, take the Saw Mill River Parkway to the Taconic State Parkway. Continue for about 13 miles and take the exit for US 202/NY 35 (Yorktown Heights). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto US 202/NY 35 (Crompond Road). Continue for 1.8 miles and turn right at a traffic light onto Lexington Avenue. In 0.5 mile, turn right onto Morris Lane and follow it for 0.2 mile into the parking area for Sylvan Glen Park Preserve.

From the parking area, proceed ahead on the coaligned white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail and pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail, which follow a wide woods road. You’ll pass a kiosk, a large interpretive sign with a schematic map, and Turtle Pond on the right. After passing a fenced-in dog park on the left, the trails bear right, then turn left and head uphill.

At the top of the climb, the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail crosses. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the white/pink trail. Just ahead, the pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail leaves to the left. You should bear right to continue on the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which descends on a footpath to cross a gas pipeline.

On the other side of the pipeline, the trail reenters the woods and continues to descend. After passing the southern end of the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail on the right, the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail passes through a pine grove and crosses Sylvan Brook on a wooden bridge. The trail begins to climb, passing a stone foundation on the right. After crossing another footbridge, the trail levels off, passes the foundations of former buildings on the right, then resumes a gradual climb. As the trail once again levels off, there are numerous fragments of carved granite blocks on both sides of the trail.

Just ahead, you’ll reach a bend in the trail where an interpretive sign explains how the quarried stone was processed. Here, you’ll notice a driving range down to the right. You should bear left, following the woods road uphill. In a short distance, you’ll reach a junction where the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail begins and goes steeply uphill. Turn right onto a footpath, continuing to follow the white blazes.

The trail descends a little and widens to a woods road. At the base of the descent, the trail reaches a junction where the red-blazed Sylvan Glen Trail begins on the right. Bear left to continue along the white blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which climbs gradually along the woods road, curving to the left.

After passing a huge heap of discarded blocks of granite (note the drill marks in many of the rocks), the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail ends at a T-intersection with the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail. Here, on the left, an interpretive sign explains how blocks of stone were lowered on an incline railway. Turn sharply right and follow the blue trail steeply uphill, soon reaching the edge of the main quarry.

Abandoned in 1941, this deep pit is now filled with trees and other vegetation. Remnants of the quarrying operation surround the quarry pit, including cables bolted into the rock and a capstan. Take some time to explore these remnants, but be careful, as there is a steep drop from the edge of the quarry pit! In leaf-off season, additional remnants of the quarry operation are visible below. Just ahead, an interpretive sign explains how a derrick was used to hoist large blocks of granite from the quarry.

The trail goes under a rock bridge and bears left, leaving the rim of the quarry. It passes an interpretive sign which explains how the stone was split. After descending slightly, the trail turns sharply right and passes on the left another pit (usually filled with water), once used as a source of water for the quarry. It then passes on the left an interpretive sign on geology and quarrying, as well as a stone shed which was used to store explosives. Just beyond, the trail goes through a gap in a stone wall and turns right to parallel it.

A short distance beyond, an unmarked path on the right leads to a viewpoint from an open rock ledge, with views into the quarry and over the hills to the west. Here, an interpretive sign gives the history of the quarry. Again, use extreme caution, as there is a very steep drop into the quarry.

After leaving the viewpoint, turn right to reach a junction where the red-blazed Sylvan Glen Trail comes in from the right, joining the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail. Bear left here, following the coaligned blue and red trails. The trails head uphill and level off. After descending slightly, they split. Bear left to stay on the blue trail, which continues along a level woods road.

Immediately after passing through a gap in a stone wall, the green-blazed Old Farm Trail crosses. Continue on the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail, which passes through a gap in a high stone wall and descends to cross the gas pipeline. After reentering the woods, the High Quarry Trail ends at a junction with the pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail. Turn left onto the Taconic Bridge Trail, which descends on switchbacks. At the base of the descent, the trail turns left to parallel a stream. Soon, it turns right to cross the stream on large rocks below a small cascade, then turns left and continues to parallel the stream on the other side.

As the trail bears right, away from the stream, it reaches a junction with the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail. The pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail turns left to join the yellow trail, but you should bear right and follow the yellow blazes uphill on switchbacks. As you approach the top of the hill, you’ll notice a triple-green blaze on the right. This marks the start of a short trail that makes a 300-foot loop around a huge pile of discarded granite blocks, a worthwhile detour.

After following this loop, return to the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail and turn right. The yellow trail continues to the top of the hill and descends slightly to end at a junction with the red-blazed Grant Lookout Trail. Turn right onto the red trail, which descends on a footpath, with views through the trees in leaf-off season (despite its name, there is no “lookout” on this trail).

In a short distance, you’ll come to another quarry pit on the left, with many abandoned cut stone blocks. The red trail continues along a woods road (built to access the quarry) and ends at a T-intersection with the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail. Turn right and follow the yellow trail downhill to a junction with the coaligned white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail and pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail, then turn right onto the white/pink trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.

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