May 14, 2016 – Dover Plains, NY
Length: approximately 1.2 miles
Route type: out and back
A more recent hike that includes all of the trails: Dover Stone Church – Full Loop
Dover Stone Church is an ancient cavern on the Stone Church Brook in Dover Plains, which is located in Dutchess County, NY. According to local legend, the site was a refuge for Pequot Sachem Sassacus and his warriors as they fled from the English Army in the 1600’s. Inside the cavern is a waterfall cascading into a pool of water that flows through and then out of the cavern entrance. It is one of the most picturesque spots I have ever visited. I have gone there quite a few times in the different seasons and it never disappoints. In 2015 three new trails were added. The hike to and from the waterfall is just over a mile round trip. This is the hike I did today.
The trailhead is located on Route 22 between Dover Plains High School and the traffic light on the opposite side of the road. there is a blue and yellow historic marker right at the edge of a private driveway.
There is no parking in that driveway. I always park in the large lot by the traffic light and have never had any issues. If you park in the driveway where the trailhead is located your car will be towed. We proceeded up the driveway and immediately see another sign (there are several signs along the way) at the back of the driveway.
From that sign we walked down the concrete steps to a path lined with trees.
Once at the bottom of the stairs we proceeded through the tree lined path. From start to finish it is quite scenic.
At the end of this path was another set of concrete steps, but much smaller. These steps led us into the forest temporarily.
After a short walk between two fence posts a large kiosk was visible. The kiosk had a small sign nailed to it that directed us left, but even if we didn’t see that small sign it was obvious which way to go.
Once past the green sign above we paralleled the brook. and came upon a small wooden footbridge with stone foundations.
Once over the footbridge we veered right and came upon the sign which pointed out the directions of all the trails. We wanted to see the Stone Church, so we turned right.
The rest of the way to the cave, the trail is made up of stones which line the left bank of the brook. The stones are always wet and can be slippery, so we proceeded with caution. Click on images to enlarge.
In a moment we were greeted with a lovely cascade that was a mere morsel compared to the main course.
Almost immediately after the cascade, there it was. The Stone Church in all it’s glory. One of my favorite places to visit.
This is one of those places that photographs do not do it justice. You have to see it in person to fully appreciate it’s beauty. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.
I walked to the cave and carefully stepped on the wet and wobbly stones in order to step inside. Now I was in church. Happy Trails, until next time.