May 8, 2016 – Lewisboro, NY
Length: approximately 4 miles
Route type: circuit
For an updated version of this hike, click HERE.
Leon Levy Preserve is a 386-acre preserve which contains an extensive system of hiking trails, including an old carriage trail, and is open to town residents for hiking, snowshoeing, biking, and horseback riding along with ruins of the Black mansion (1899-1979) and other outbuildings.
I am trying to get as many hikes that include ruins done before they get overgrown with weeds and vines. Once the green fills in they will be more difficult to see, navigate to and most importantly photograph. So armed with a trail map which I got off the preserve’s website I was ready to go. The white sign at the entrance is not very visible so slow down so you don’t miss the parking lot, which has ample room for enough cars.
The beginning of the blue trail is just to the left of the kiosk, which has a lot of useful information, including a warning about hikers being attacked by bees. Luckily we didn’t encounter any on this day.
We started on the blue trail which is the main trail on the preserve and immediately had the option of going left onto the white trail or turning right onto the blue trail. We wanted to see ruins so we turned right. The blue trail had a gentle ascent and was easy to walk.
Almost immediately we were greeted with the first ruins of the day. It looked like it had been a small stone cottage at some point. All that remained was the foundation and the fireplace and chimney.
After snapping a few shots we continued up the blue trail which turned left and then reached a junction with the yellow trail aka Black Mansion Trail. The blue trail veered to the left and the yellow trail veered right. We went to the right.
The ruins of the mansion were visible through the trees as we headed towards them. There was an unmarked trail that led to the left and I walked it to get a closer look.
We took some shots from this vantage point then proceeded back to the yellow trail.
We walked to the clearing on the yellow trail and wandered around trying to fight the sun as we tried to get the best angle to capture some images. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.
Once we were ready, we proceeded on the yellow trail and immediately turned left onto the pink trail. The pink blazes look more like faded red blazes. We hiked the pink trail until we came upon the cottage ruins.
After viewing these ruins we rejoined the blue trail and turned right. Although it was a pleasant walk in the woods the highlight of the hike was over. The rest of the hike consisted of numerous stone walls, a shepherd’s hut which was hard to distinguish from the stone walls that lined the purple trail and easy to follow trails. Birds were chirping and I saw a Turkey Vulture, but no other wildlife to be seen. Near the mansion ruins we saw some people, but not many deeper in the woods. It was a nice hike for a Sunday after so much rain the preceding week.
Below are some images captured from the rest of the hike.