Arden Point and Glenclyffe

August 20, 2016 – Garrison, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 4 miles

Route type: circuit

Arden Point is a peninsula on the Hudson River in the hamlet of Garrison, Town of Philipstown, Putnam County, NY. Approximately 17 acres lie west of the Metro North railroad with another 21 acres east of the tracks. Access is provided along Lower Station Road and from the Metro North station parking lot at Garrison.  A wooded trail that snakes along the eastern banks of the Hudson River eventually leads to a rocky bluff known as Arden Point with river views north and south, including a full view of West Point on the opposite shore.

Glenclyffe is a 93-acre parcel of land on the Hudson River in the Highlands, which is preserved through the efforts of the Open Space Institute and its partners. Benedict Arnold rode through it trying to escape to the British. New York Governor Hamilton Fish, later to become Secretary of State under President Ulysses Grant, lived on it. Grant and President Abraham Lincoln both visited it.

On a hot and humid August day I was looking to do a hike that had some shady trails, views and level terrain. This hike fit the bill quite nicely. As far as I’m concerned any hike that includes walking along the shore of the Hudson River is always pleasurable. I decided to do the hike described in the NY/NJ Trail Conference’s website. It was a good call because this hike had everything that I was seeking and more.

We parked at the Garrison Metro North Station which offers free parking on weekends. The trailhead is just to the left of the entrance to the lot and we were off.

Arden Point trailhead
Arden Point trailhead

We headed south on a blue blazed shady woods road that was level.

blue blazed shady woods road
blue blazed shady woods road

After a few minutes we passed an old railing on the right side of the trail.

old railing
old railing

Just past the railing were some ruins of several buildings. I could not find out any information online as to what these buildings were. If anyone has any info on their history please comment below. Below are some shots that I took.

Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins
Arden Point ruins

Just past the ruins we crossed a footbridge and continued on the relatively straight and level trail.

footbridge
footbridge

After about a half mile from the start of the hike we came upon a steel truss bridge. We crossed the bridge over the railroad tracks towards the Hudson River.

steel truss bridge
steel truss bridge

When we crossed over the bridge there were two female hikers that were somewhat lost so I let them take a look at my East Hudson Trails Map and then we continued on. At the end of the bridge we kept following the blue blazed trail which went to the right.

blue blazed trail
blue blazed trail

The trail was now a footpath and there were some blow downs along the way. A minor inconvenience and not hard to get around.

blowdown on blue blazed trail
blowdown on blue blazed trail
blowdown on blue blazed trail
blowdown on blue blazed trail

The blue trail ended at a junction with the red trail and we now started following the red markers staying to the right. We walked through the break in a stone wall……

stone wall
stone wall

and then moments later we arrived at Arden Point North with a view of West Point to the left and Bull Hill towards the center.

Arden Point North
Arden Point North

It was nice and breezy by the river and we hung out enjoying the view and the cool summer river breeze. As we relaxed there for a while a few dog walkers and a family of hikers appeared on the scene. I just continued to gaze at the boats and jet skis as they raced along the river. Below are some more images captured at this lookout.  Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

When we were ready to continue we retraced our steps back to the red trail, this time heading south. At times we lost the red markers and bushwacked through the woods. I wasn’t concerned, I knew that keeping the river at my right shoulder would lead us south which was our intended route. We found the red blazes, but several times throughout this section of the hike we bushwacked until we once again met up with the red trail. We arrived at Arden Point South and took in the southern views towards the Bear Mountain Bridge.  Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

Once done enjoying the view and the cool river breeze, we headed back onto the red trail which proceeded to lead us uphill and back to the steel truss bridge over the tracks. Once we crossed back over the bridge we turned right and briefly followed the white blazed trail until we came to the Open Space Institute (OSI) red blazed trail. This was the start of the Glenclyffe Loop, which circles the Glenclyffe property of OSI.  Shortly we came to a gazebo with obstructed views of the river. The trail passes just to the left of it.

gazebo
gazebo

As we hiked through the woods, we came to a red brick building on the left that was built in the 1860s. It was once the home of Hamilton Fish who was the governor of NY.

home of Hamilton Fish
home of Hamilton Fish

We captured some images of the former governor’s home.

home of Hamilton Fish
home of Hamilton Fish
home of Hamilton Fish
home of Hamilton Fish

As we continued following the red blazes of the Glenclyffe Loop we came to a sign that pointed towards the Historic Overlook.

sign
sign

We made our way to the overlook where there was a viewing platform that overlooked the site of Beverly Dock, which was used in 1780 by Benedict Arnold to escape when his treason was discovered. I would take some caution on this platform because the railings were loose and it sits over a steep drop off .

viewing platform
viewing platform

After leaving the Historic Overlook we continued on the red trail. This section of the trail was where Benedict Arnold rode through to escape.

Benedict Arnold's escape route
Benedict Arnold’s escape route

We passed by a couple of ponds and dams along the way and then came out onto an open field alongside Route 9D.

open field
open field

We walked along the treeline which was marked with red blazes. Across 9D Castle Rock was visible up on the hill.

Castle Rock
Castle Rock

At the sign for the Garrison Institute we turned left and walked up to a trail map that signified the beginning of the white blazed Marcia’s Mile trail.

trail map
trail map

We followed the white blazes through the woods and a field and we passed the ruins of a small structure.

ruins
ruins

As we hiked through the woods we saw some wooden crosses staked into the ground that seemed like a shrine. I have no idea what they represented, but it felt a little creepy seeing them in the woods. It may have something to do with Marcia, seeing as the trail is named after her.

wooden crosses
wooden crosses
wooden crosses
wooden crosses

At the end of Marcia’s Mile we came to the steel truss bridge that we had crossed twice earlier and we turned right where we retraced our steps back to the Garrison Metro North lot.

blue trail heading north
blue trail heading north

I hope you enjoyed today’s hike, and don’t forget to follow my blog to stay informed about my latest journeys. Until next time, keep on trekking…….

keep on trekking
keep on trekking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lenoir Preserve – Old Croton Aqueduct

August 13, 2016 – Yonkers, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 3.5 miles

Route type: lollipop loop

Lenoir Preserve is a 40-acre nature preserve comprising woodlands and field habitats. It is located in Yonkers, NY. It is adjacent to the Old Croton Aqueduct on slopes overlooking the Hudson River. The property was formerly home to two Hudson River estates, only one of which stands today. I have been here several times and was not really impressed. They have blazed trails, but they are not well kept and overgrown in places. However it is in close proximity to another estate which has some really interesting architecture, the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA), and Untermyer Park.

Lenoir Preserve
Lenoir Preserve

Plaque on stone wall at entrance.

Plaque
Plaque

On the day of this hike it was extremely hot with high humidity. An extreme heat warning was in effect with “real feel” temp at 107. With that being said, I chose a hike that wasn’t strenuous, offered some shade and was photo worthy. I decided on Lenoir Preserve as a starting point. I know my way around so I didn’t bother with any maps, although they are available. From the parking lot we walked south past the Nature Center on a blacktop path.

blacktop path
blacktop path

When we came to a fork in the paved path, we stayed to the right.

IMG_6993_HDR_marked
fork in the paved path

Almost immediately we came to the Butterfly Garden. I wasn’t too interested in butterflies so I took a shot of it and kept it moving.

Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden

We walked past the Butterfly Garden, staying to the right and in a minute we saw the rear of Lenoir Mansion on our left.

Lenoir Mansion
Lenoir Mansion

We continued south on the paved path which led towards the edge of the property.

south on the paved path
south on the paved path

At the edge of the Lenoir Preserve property was a wall with an arch that led to another estate.

wall with an arch
wall with an arch

This is Alder Manor also known as the W. B. Thompson Mansion. It was built around 1912 by William Boyce Thompson, a mining tycoon and financier, as his weekend home. At the turn of the century, large riverside estates characterized much of Yonkers; today the Thompson Mansion is one of the few to have survived the city’s 20th century urbanization. The Thompson family lived there until the mid 20th century; afterwards it was willed to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and became Mary Elizabeth Seton High School, the first Catholic school in Yonkers.

Alder Manor - March 16, 2016
Alder Manor – March 16, 2016

After ten years as a high school, it was upgraded to a junior college. A few years after merging with Iona College, the campus was closed. While the other buildings on the property were repurposed, the mansion fell into neglect and was looted until Tara Circle, an Irish American cultural organization, bought it from the city. To raise money for its restoration, Tara Circle holds occasional events there and rents it out for weddings and filming for movies such as Mona Lisa Smile and A Beautiful Mind. The manor is private property.

The architecture on this property is very ornate and although much of it is in ruins, it has a certain appeal. It is rich in Hudson Valley history.

other side of wall with arch entry
other side of wall with arch entry

The wall extends from west to east along the edge of the property.

wall on edge of the property
wall on edge of the property

There was a lot to photograph on the grounds. I have read that it is sometimes referred to as a mini Untermyer Park. There was a gazebo like structure with a shallow tiled pool.

gazebo like structure
gazebo like structure

The north side of the manor.

north side of the manor
north side of the manor
north side of the manor
north side of the manor

The walled gate that leads to the Lenoir Preserve property.

walled gate
walled gate

At the east end of the property towards Broadway (Route 9) is a columned area.

columned area
columned area

To the right of the columned area is an archway which leads to the front of the house.

archway
archway

Facing west, a tiled mosaic pool.

tiled mosaic pool
tiled mosaic pool

This place was quite interesting and had a lot of unique features. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

The north wall of the manor.

north wall
north wall

A built in bench on the west side of the grounds.

built in bench
built in bench

Stairs leading east.

Stairs leading east
Stairs leading east

Back on the Lenoir property the high wall of Alder Manor as it runs from west to east.

wall of Alder Manor
wall of Alder Manor
wall of Alder Manor
wall of Alder Manor

The other side of the gate that leads to the grounds of Alder Manor previously shown.

gate that leads to the grounds of Alder Manor
gate that leads to the grounds of Alder Manor

After heading east along the wall, we turned left towards Lenoir Mansion.

Lenoir Mansion
Lenoir Mansion

We continued past the mansion until we caught up with the trail which led to this stone gazebo.

stone gazebo
stone gazebo

We passed the Butterfly Garden again and just to the right there was a trail that led to a castle like arch. This part of the trail was a bit overgrown, but it was short lived once we passed through the arch.

castle like arch
castle like arch

After passing through the arch, the trail led downhill then split. We continued towards the right and down the hill which would lead us to the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA). Once we passed through the gate we turned left and headed south along the aqueduct.

gate
gate
Old Croton Aqueduct
Old Croton Aqueduct

The OCA was a level straight walk which was nicely shaded on this sweltering August day. Once we got to this rock cut…….

rock cut
rock cut

There was a stone building with bars on the windows on the left that looked very much like a jail of some sort.

stone building
stone building
stone building
stone building
IMG_7087_HDR_marked
stone building
IMG_7149_HDR_marked
stone building
stone building
stone building

After capturing some images of this interesting looking structure, we continued south on the aqueduct passing a stone ventilator.

stone ventilator
stone ventilator

We crossed the road and continued on the OCA until we came to the rear gate of Untermyer Park on the left.

rear gate of Untermyer Park
rear gate of Untermyer Park

Beyond the gate were ruins which I believe used to be the gatehouse.

gatehouse ruins
gatehouse ruins

Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

Although this was an easy hike the heat was brutal so we took a seat in the shade and relaxed for a while. Then I headed to the gate house to take some more shots.

gate house
gate house

As I got closer to the gate house I noticed a guy sleeping towards the back. He looked like he was in a deep sleep so I stayed in the front and took some shots from there.

gate house
gate house
gate house
gate house

We decided not to walk up the somewhat steep hill into Untermyer Park because it was too hot and we had been there numerous times. So we headed back to the aqueduct that was on the other side of the gate.

gate
gate

We headed north on the aqueduct back towards the Lenoir Preserve. We proceeded up the steps and through the gate that separated the OCA from the Lenoir Preserve.

steps
steps

Once through the gate we hiked up the hill and as the trail split, we stayed left and continued uphill until we got back to the Nature Center. From there we headed to the parking lot, jumped in the vehicle and blasted the AC. It was a hot one, but we still got our hike in and captured some nice images as well. I hope you enjoyed today’s hike, I know I did. Be sure to follow my blog and stay informed about my journeys. Until next time folks, keep on trekking…….

keep on trekking
keep on trekking

 

 

 

Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill

August 7, 2016 – Rhinebeck, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 1 mile

Route type: up and back (can be done in a loop)

Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill is one of the highest points in Rhinebeck. From the peak of the Hill you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Catskill Mountains to the West and the Taconic Mountains to the east. Everyone likes views and this place provides some of the best views that I have seen. To top it off, the payoff is only a 1/2 mile walk up a somewhat steep grassy hill. I had heard about this place and have seen some images of the view. I was looking to incorporate this short hike with another in the area because of the 1 1/2 hour drive from where I live. After driving up to Poets’ Walk Park and doing a 2 mile loop, I was left wanting some real views. This was just a short drive away, so off I went.

The parking area is a decent size and there weren’t many vehicles in the lot. As it turned out they were shooting a video there so the vehicles belonged to the cast and crew. I was surprised that there wasn’t anyone else there at midday on a Sunday, but I was thankful to have the place to ourselves.

The trail up to Burger Hill starts to the left of the informative kiosk on the other side of the fence.

Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill kiosk
Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill kiosk

We proceeded up the trail which immediately began to steepen.

Burger Hill summit trail
Burger Hill summit trail

It was a scenic walk up the hill with the entire countryside in view to my right.

countryside
countryside

I couldn’t believe how good the view was. The hill was kind of steep, but I only stopped to capture images. I was anxious to get to the summit and see the whole world from there.

countryside
outstanding!

Once at the top I just started to snap away. I took photographs from every angle.

view from the summit
view from the summit

It was a gorgeous day and the sky was filled with clouds. I even saw the DirecTV blimp.

DirectTV blimp
DirecTV blimp

It was nice sitting on a rock at the summit without anyone else there. This place was amazing! definitely one of the Hudson Valley’s best scenic views.

one of the Hudson Valley's best scenic views
one of the Hudson Valley’s best scenic views

After quite some time at the summit of Burger Hill, it was time to go. I almost didn’t want to leave, but it was National Lighthouse Day and I wanted to see one. The trail  goes past the summit and around the back of the property. I decided to descend the same way I went up. After all, I was going to savor the view on the way down as I did going up. For such a short hike this place rewards you with one hell of a payoff. If you haven’t been here, what are you waiting for! Until next time folks, keep on trekking…….

keep on trekking
keep on trekking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poets’ Walk Park

August 7, 2016 – Red Hook, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 2 miles

Route type: circuit

Poets’ Walk Park consists of 120 acres which includes rolling meadows, forests, and a ravine. It is operated by Scenic Hudson which maintains many parks and trails in the Hudson Valley. Its 2 miles of trails takes you through woods and rolling meadows with rustic cedar pavilions, footbridges, and many hand made benches along the way to relax and take in the views. The park has been visited by Fitz-Greene Halleck and many literary contemporaries, including Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant and Jack Kerouac. It is referred to as a “romantic landscape,” intended to celebrate the connection between landscape and poetry. I figured what the hell, the Hudson River, scenic views and a short hike on a hot Sunday morning. I decided to pay a visit and see for myself. The parking lot is a decent size and there was plenty of room to park when we arrived at approximately 10am, but when we were leaving around noon or so the lot was almost filled to capacity. Rule of thumb is that if it’s easy and picturesque, it gets crowded. We did encounter quite a few people along the hike, but mostly at points of interest.

We started out at the trailhead that had an informative kiosk along with some benches. A large map of the trails is available for viewing or you can print one from Scenic Hudson’s website. I didn’t bother to print one and just saved it to my phone. It is difficult to get lost here.

trailhead
trailhead

The trail for the first 1/4 mile or so was a wide footpath with a crushed stone base. It seems as they are currently doing some work as there was some heavy equipment on the property. It was easy walking and from the info on their website it is wheelchair accessible.

trail
trail

It was a gorgeous Sunday morning as we walked on the well maintained trail. It was still early and relatively mild. After a short walk along the winding trail we came upon an open meadow with a large gazebo on the hill with the Catskill Mountains as a backdrop.

gazebo on the hill
gazebo on the hill

There were a few people sitting on the built in benches in the gazebo as we approached. No doubt that they were enjoying the view along with their day. We didn’t linger too long there and let them have their space. I didn’t take any photographs of the gazebo until we were on the way back because I am not in the habit of including strangers in the images I capture. These are some shots I took on the way back.

gazebo on the hill
gazebo on the hill

This gazebo was like a work of art. It looked like it had been handcrafted from fallen trees from the area. It was massive and solid.

gazebo on the hill
gazebo on the hill

An old inoperable water spigot stood nearby as well.

water spigot
water spigot

I have to say that the view from this spot was probably the best in the park. Due to the minimal elevation and the height of the trees along the rest of the hike, most views were partially obscured. So if you are just looking for some views no need to go any further.

view from the gazebo
view from the gazebo
view from the gazebo
view from the gazebo

From the gazebo we headed downhill through the wide mowed path.

wide mowed path
wide mowed path

After a short walk downhill we came to a sign.

sign
sign

As we approached the sign I saw a couple turn left, so we continued on towards the summer house. In no time we entered the woods which provided much needed shade as the morning grew hotter. It was a tranquil walk through the woods, although we passed several couples going in the opposite direction. We crossed a wooden bridge along the way.

wooden bridge
wooden bridge

Shortly thereafter we crossed a stone bridge.

stone bridge
stone bridge

We continued through the woods until we came to a fork in the trail. According to the map the spur trail that veered right was where the summer house was located. There was a sign on the tree which indicated that, but it was only visible if you were coming from the other direction. I had read that Washington Irving had walked through these woods and had spent some time at the summer house, which wasn’t anything more than a glorified gazebo.

summer house
summer house

At this point we were close to the Hudson River and there were some partially obstructed views. There was a woman resting on one of the benches looking out towards the river so we didn’t spend much time there.

view from the summer house
view from the summer house

We returned back to the main trail and proceeded on. This section of the trail was a little more rugged. Not rugged compared to most trails I have hiked, but compared to the rest of this hike it was. Nevertheless it was short lived and still pretty easy. We crossed another wooden bridge along the way.

wooden bridge
wooden bridge

Shortly after crossing the wooden bridge we came out of the woods and walked up the grassy hill to the flagpole lot which had 2 benches and what I assume is the flagpole.

flagpole lot
flagpole lot

We rested here for a little while taking photographs of the scenery. We would have spent more time here except that we were exposed to the glaring sun. To be honest I expected some awesome views, but like I stated earlier the best views were from the first gazebo. The trail map shows a trail that curves along the edge of the property then veers left to connect back to the hill that leads from the flagpole lot. We took the aforementioned trail, but it was overgrown and there was nothing really to see. The best way back is to walk up the grassy hill and turn around on occasion to check out the landscape you just left.

grassy hill
grassy hill

We headed up the hill and back to the gazebo which was deserted for the time being. I was able to get my shots which I posted previously above. We sat in the gazebo for a bit enjoying the shade and the breeze. It wasn’t long before others came to do the same. It was time to move on. We retraced our steps back to the lot which was now getting full. We passed more people the last 1/4 mile than we did the entire hike. This is a nice park, especially for non hikers. I prefer less populated areas and that usually comes with a higher level of difficulty. I probably wouldn’t visit this park again, but I am glad to have seen what it has to offer. Until next time folks, keep on trekking……..

keep on trekking
keep on trekking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beltzhoover Teahouse at Halsey Pond Park

August 6, 2016 – Irvington, NY

Difficulty: easy

Size: approximately 4.4 acres

Halsey Pond Park is a 4.4 acre park that once used to be part of a large estate. In 1905 A. J. Manning was commissioned by oil and cotton magnate Melchior Beltzhoover to build an exact replica of a Rhineland castle. The building, called “Rochroane”, was sold to Benjamin Halsey in 1927 and renamed “Grey Towers,” but was abandoned in 1976, and it burned down the next year (the exterior was stone, but the interior was wood). Much of the land that was part of the original estate was sold to developers and all that remains is the pond with some land around it.

Halsey Pond Park
Halsey Pond Park

I came upon this park while doing some research about castles in New York in April of 2015. On Irvington’s website it reads “Halsey Pond Park is considered Irvington’s best kept secret.” They weren’t lying, up until recently there was no information listed on the location of the park. Prior to my first visit in 2015 I used Google Maps to find Halsey Pond and planned my route from there. I have visited the park twice and didn’t see another soul either time. There are trails, but not a formal trail system. On both of my visits I stayed on the trail that looped around the pond. Ironically there are 3 listed entrances to the park now. I entered through Hamilton Road which has parking for about 3 cars at the end of the street. There are 2 signs that reserve those spots for visitors of the park.

I started out at the entrance to the park located at the dead end.

Halsey Pond Park entrance
Halsey Pond Park entrance

I walked up what I assumed was the driveway to the estate at one time.

woods road
woods road

It was an uphill walk until I reached a fork in the road. I turned left which would take me to the teahouse. A plaque on a rock explains some history.

plaque on a rock
plaque on a rock

The whole purpose of my visit was to photograph the teahouse. I had been here in April of 2015, but after a rough winter there was not much greenery at the time. I figured it would look nicer with some green around it. It did look nicer, but the vegetation did obscure it somewhat.

Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse

I captured some images from different angles as I fought the afternoon sun.

Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse

It was a pretty cool little spot that I had found and this structure was indeed the payoff.

Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse

I walked down to the front of it by the pond and it had a barred door and window.

Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse

I walked back up and took some shots of the interior.

Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse

From the inside looking out towards the pond.

Beltzhoover Teahouse
Beltzhoover Teahouse

After I took countless shots of the teahouse, I continued along the trail around the pond. There were stone walls that probably at one time surrounded the estate.

trail around the pond
trail around the pond
stone bridge
stone bridge

As I walked along the pond I captured some more images of the teahouse across the way.

Halsey Pond
Halsey Pond
Beltzhoover Teahouse across the pond
Beltzhoover Teahouse across the pond

From across the pond to the left of the teahouse I could see the stone bridge that I had walked across when I first got to the pond. It was covered in vines and barely visible until now.

stone bridge
stone bridge

After walking around the pond I ended up back at the teahouse and just relaxed for a little while. The skies started to turn and I started feeling some drops. I didn’t feel like getting wet so I retraced my steps back to the car.

Here are some shots I took on April 3, 2015 on my first visit here. With less foliage the teahouse is much more visible.

009_HDR_marked
Beltzhoover Teahouse – April 3, 2015
Beltzhoover Teahouse - April 3, 2015
Beltzhoover Teahouse – April 3, 2015
Beltzhoover Teahouse - April 3, 2015
Beltzhoover Teahouse – April 3, 2015

I hope you enjoyed today’s hike. Don’t forget to follow my blog and stay up to date with my journeys. Until next time, keep on trekking……

keep on trekking
keep on trekking

 

 

 

 

Waterfalls of Pike County, Pennsylvania

Pike County, Pennsylvania according to the U.S. Census Bureau, has a total area of 567 square miles, of which 545 square miles is land and 22 square miles (3.9%) is water. It borders Sullivan County, New York to the north and Orange County, New York to the east. It is approximately a 1 1/2 hour drive from Westchester County, NY which is where I reside. It is my go to place when I am in the mood for a good waterfall.

Factory Falls - George W. Childs Recreation Site October 10, 2015
Factory Falls – George W. Childs Recreation Site – October 10, 2015

There are many gorgeous waterfalls In Pike County, Pennsylvania. Quite a few are clustered together with relatively short hikes to the falls. This makes viewing numerous falls in one day possible. I have visited the different falls on several occasions in different seasons. I will start out by listing the name, location and images of the falls. Clicking on the location/falls name will give you the GPS location of the trailhead/entrance to the waterfalls. This guide will help you to easily find your way to some of nature’s beauties that Pike County has to offer.

George W. Childs Recreation Site  is a very attractive park which is a part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area and includes hemlock groves and cascading waterfalls along with picnic areas, restrooms, and an easy 1.4 mile loop trail along the falls. It is located in Dingmans Ferry in Delaware Township. The three main waterfalls are Factory Falls, Fulmer Falls and Deer Leap Falls. All 3 waterfalls are beautiful and are easily viewed from different vantage points along the trail.

Factory Falls - February 6, 2016
Factory Falls – February 6, 2016
Fulmer Falls - October 10, 2015
Fulmer Falls – October 10, 2015
Deer Leap Falls - October 10, 2015
Deer Leap Falls – October 10, 2015

Dingmans Falls Visitors Center has two waterfalls, Dingmans Falls which at 130 feet is the second highest waterfall in the state and Silverthread Falls drops a thin ribbon of water 80 feet and is located along the way to Dingmans Falls. Dingmans Creek Trail is a .4 mile wheelchair accessible flat boardwalk that meanders through a hemlock ravine.

Silverthread Falls - October 10, 2015
Silverthread Falls – October 10, 2015
Dingmans Falls - October 10, 2015
Dingmans Falls – October 10, 2015

Raymondskill Falls is a series of three cascading waterfalls located on Raymondskill Creek in Dingman Township. The three tiers have a combined height of approximately 150 feet. It is the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania. It is part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Raymondskill Creek Trail is .3 miles long, but is steep in places and somewhat uneven. Since the first three locations I have listed are in close proximity to each other and involve short hikes to view the waterfalls, I have on several occasions visited all six falls in one day.

Raymondskill Falls - June 20, 2015
Raymondskill Falls – June 20, 2015

Hackers Falls is in Milford with the 1.4 miles (one way) yellow blazed Hackers Trail located right across the street from the Raymondskill Falls parking lot. You will hike over rolling hills and through hemlock and mixed hardwood forests.

Hackers Falls - June 20, 2015
Hackers Falls – June 20, 2015

Shohola Falls is located in Shohola Township which is 10 miles northwest of Milford, in State Game Lands 180. It is a very picturesque spot with a lake, a dam and the falls. The trail to the waterfall is unblazed and is easy to get to. Further down the trail there is a ledge which is angled and slippery from the spray. The view point from this ledge is directly across from the falls. One should take extreme caution at this area and should probably be avoided if there is ice. It is also a State Game land, so if hiking away from the falls you should wear orange. The falls are a multi-tier level of falls flowing from Shohola Creek and continuing down the river.

Shohola Falls - upper tier - May 30, 2015
Shohola Falls – upper tier – May 30, 2015
Shohola Falls - middle tier - May 30, 2015
Shohola Falls – middle tier – May 30, 2015
Shohola Falls - middle tier - July 30, 2016
Shohola Falls – middle tier – July 30, 2016
Shohola Falls - lower tier - May 30, 2015
Shohola Falls – lower tier – May 30, 2015

Hornbecks Creek Falls is another gorgeous waterfall in Dingmans Ferry. The Hornbecks Creek trailhead is located at mile marker 10.4 on US 209, just south of Chestnut Hill Road. It is a short drive up the gravel road to the trailhead.  The trail follows an old roadbed along Hornbecks Creek and is approximately a 1 mile hike to the falls.

Hornbecks Creek Falls - July 30, 2016
Hornbecks Creek Falls – July 30, 2016

Indian Ladder Falls is located near Hornbecks Creek Falls and was once reachable along the Hornbecks Creek Trail. A portion of the trail has sloughed off, causing a hazardous condition between the two falls. I normally visit both falls, but return to the vehicle and drive to Emery Road where Indian Ladder Falls is just a short walk from the trailhead.

Indian Ladder Falls - July 30, 2016
Indian Ladder Falls – July 30, 2016

Tumbling Waters Falls at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry is just down the road from the Indian Ladders trailhead. The PEEC offers six trails that vary in distance and difficulty. All trails are loops that begin and end on the PEEC Campus. The trail to the waterfall is the Tumbling Waters trail (orange blazes) which is a 3 mile loop and has a moderate level of difficulty. It is a nice hike through a hemlock forest, a mixed oak forest and views of the Delaware Valley & the Kittatinny Mountains in New Jersey.

Tumbling Waters Falls - June 7, 2015
Tumbling Waters Falls – June 7, 2015

I have visited many waterfalls in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Unless you are visiting one of the state parks that has many waterfalls, most often the falls are spread out throughout the states. With most waterfalls they tend to be at their best after the winter thaw and dry out some during the summer months. Pike County, Pennsylvania has many waterfalls in close proximity that are usually running strong throughout the year. Keep in mind that the easier it is to get to a waterfall, the more likely there will be more people visiting it. I tend to go early mornings and more times than not I feel like I have the place to myself. I hope that you enjoyed my latest entry and don’t forget to follow my blog. See you on the trail.

See Ya!
See Ya!

 

 

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze – Mohonk Mountain House

July 25, 2016 – New Paltz, NY

Difficulty: moderate – strenuous

Length: approximately 6.5 miles

Route type: circuit

The Mohonk Mountain House is a resort hotel located on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, New York. It is situated in the town of New Paltz, N.Y. on the western side of the Hudson River. The property consists of 1,325 acres and adjoins the Mohonk Preserve, which is crisscrossed by 85 miles of hiking trails and carriage roads.  I have been wanting to do this hike for quite some time. It’s very popular among hikers and even though it costs $26.00 per person to gain access to the grounds on weekends, I had heard that it is often crowded. I was lucky enough to receive some free day hiking passes to the Mohonk Preserve and decided to visit on a Monday to avoid the crowds. I had just gotten a Shawangunk Trails map set from the NY/NJ Trail Conference and was itching to put it to use. Upon arrival at the gatehouse, we were told that the free passes entitled us to park free at the Spring Farm Trailhead which would have added another 2.5 miles to our planned hike. The woman at the gatehouse told us we could park in the gatehouse lot for $10.00 per person. We didn’t want to add any additional mileage to our planned hike since it was going to be a scorcher in the mid 90’s, so we paid and parked. She also gave us a map.

We had gotten an early start so there were only a few cars in the lot when we arrived. The trailhead started behind the bathrooms (which were filthy).

Trailhead
Trailhead

We walked along the trail which was not marked, but they did have signs at some of the junctions which helped somewhat. There were some areas that were confusing and even after consulting my trusty map they were hard to figure out. At first we walked along a carriage road that ascended slightly.

carriage road
carriage road

We turned left at the sign towards the Glen Anna Path.

directional sign
directional sign

The Glen Anna Path was unmarked but the trail was mostly discernible until it ended at a staircase which led out onto Huguenot Drive.

Glen Anna Path
Glen Anna Path

We crossed the road and began on the Fox Path which was also unblazed, but well worn.

When we came upon Sky Top Road we turned left. We were supposed to turn right according to the hike directions we were following, but I misread it (it was also poorly worded). So we continued on Sky Top Road which was another carriage road that overlooked the Mohonk Mountain House.

Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House

We stopped at one of the many gazebos along the way and took in the view.

gazebo
gazebo

This was our first real view of the hike and it wouldn’t be the last.

first real view
first real view

Up to this point I thought that we were still going along with the hike directions that I had printed out, but were sitting comfortably by my desktop at home. Nevertheless it wasn’t a big deal at that time because the route we took was very scenic and we didn’t encounter another soul along the way. We continued up Sky Top Road and passed by Lily Pond which was a very picturesque detour.

Lily Pond
Lily Pond

Quack!

duck at Lily Pond
duck at Lily Pond

As we continued on the carriage road I saw a wild turkey which was much too quick for my lens and then western views opened up to our left.

western views
western views
western views
western views

All of a sudden I looked up and I could see the Sky Top Tower. This was supposed to be our turnaround point. We had missed the Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze. I was not to be deterred, but first we climbed the tower and captured some images.

Albert K. Smiley Memorial Tower
Albert K. Smiley Memorial Tower

The views from the tower were spectacular. It was a hot day and that breeze really hit the spot. It felt like I could see forever up there. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

After taking in some views from the tower we found some shade and rested a bit while we contemplated our next move. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

After consulting my map I discovered that the end of the Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze trail was just below us. It is a one way trail so we decided to descend down the mountain on Sky Top Path to the lake where we would take on this challenging trail. That meant having to climb the mountain twice, but I didn’t care. I was not going to let something like double elevation in one day stop me. We arrived at the start of the Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze trail and encountered this sign. To be honest, I didn’t even read it. I took a photograph of it and kept it moving.

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze

I would have preferred to do this at the beginning of the hike due to the strenuous nature of the trail. We had already hiked over 3 miles at this point on a hot day, but the adventure was about to begin. A group of loud 20 somethings got there at the same time we did, so we let them gain some distance before we proceeded with our journey. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

Right from the beginning it was challenging. We had to crawl through a space between two boulders, climb up a ladder and like a contortionist twist around and drop down on the other side. The trail was easy to follow as it was blazed with red arrows which indicated the correct direction in which to go. We continued on, stopping every so often to stay hydrated. In places where it would have been more difficult there were ramps positioned to assist.

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

As I approached some sections, I thought to myself “say what?”

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

The ladders were helpful and kind of fun.

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

I am 6′, 200 lbs and not as flexible as I once was, so some of these spots were a tight fit.

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

We just kept following the red arrows.

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

There were a few tight spots along the way and we hadn’t even gotten to the “Lemon Squeeze” yet.

Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

A little more bouldering…………

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Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail
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Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze Trail

and we arrived at the entrance to the Lemon Squeeze!

Lemon Squeeze
Lemon Squeeze

We climbed up a few ladders……..

Lemon Squeeze
Lemon Squeeze

and now we were about to get squeezed!

Lemon Squeeze
Lemon Squeeze

From this point it got very narrow and I got stuck a couple of times, but after removing my backpack and twisting around to get the best angle I was able to wiggle through. The last few feet seemed to be the most difficult part of the trail. The ladder ends about 12 feet from the top and with limited footholds and space it felt as though it was almost impossible to climb out. Heat and exhaustion certainly didn’t help either. After taking a moment to survey the situation, I pulled myself up and out.

I made it!!!!

Up and out of the crevice!
Up and out of the crevice!

It was a pretty tight squeeze and even though I wore the smallest camera sling pack I owned, I had to remove it in order to squeeze up through the crevice.

Up and out of the crevice!
Up and out of the crevice!

A look down where we got squeezed.

The crevice
The crevice
The crevice
The crevice

Well, that was certainly a very unique hike. I felt such a sense of accomplishment having completed this challenging trail. It took us a little under an hour to complete this portion of the hike. After rising out of the crevice I was greeted with sweeping views that seemed to go on forever. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

We certainly earned these magnificent views and we were in no hurry to leave. We could hear hikers grunting, cursing and complaining as they made their way up the crevice. Some repeating the same phrases as us when we were in their place. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

After spending quite some time at this magnificent spot, it was time to move on. Since this hike had left us up by Sky Top Tower, we decided to retrace our steps from there back to the parking lot. After a challenging hike and thunder roaring in the sky followed by lightning, we preferred a nice carriage road to make our way back. We got drenched for the last 2 miles of the hike, stopping once at one of the gazebos for shelter and to dry off a bit. This hike makes my top 5 list for sure. I’m looking forward to going back to explore some more trails soon. I hope you enjoyed the hike. Don’t forget to follow my blog to receive an email every time I publish a new post. Until next time, keep your boots on the ground and I’ll see you around.

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See ya!