November 17, 2018 – Oscawana Island Nature Preserve – Crugers, NY
Length: Approximately 1 mile
Max elevation: 69 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 101 ft.
Route type: Out and back
Maps: None available
Trailhead parking: Oscawana Island Nature Preserve – Cortlandt Street, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520
Oscawana Island Nature Preserve is a natural Hudson River waterfront park that is bisected by the Metro North Railroad Line. Oscawana Island lies along the Hudson River. This is an excellent spot for birding and possibly sighting a Bald Eagle in winter. The park also has tidal marshlands frequented by Least Bittern and a newly grown forest that contains a river flowing through the mid-northern section.
Westchester County purchased the land in 1958 and currently has an inter-municipal agreement with the Town of Cortlandt who uses and operates the property for municipal recreational purposes.
This preserve is very small and the various trails only add up to about a mile. nevertheless it is a nice place for a leisurely walk with nice views of the Hudson River. Oscawana Island Nature Preserve can be combined with McAndrews Estate which utilizes the same parking area and is right across the street, for a longer hike.
From the parking area, I proceeded past the gate onto the main trail.
The main trail runs along a wide woods road and heads in a westerly direction.
This trails here are not marked, but really easy to follow.
In a short distance, the trail crosses over the tidal marsh. Below, looking north.
The main trail passes a short spur trail on the right and begins to climb as it curves to the left.
The trail continues to climb as it then curves to the right.
The trail then crosses above the Metro North Railroad tracks.
A short distance later, just to the left of the trail is a brick fireplace.
A house once stood on this spot and some of the foundation is still visible. The short brick column in the foreground was the end of the house.
Back on the main trail, it descends towards the edge of the Hudson River where there is a bench and a picnic table.
To the left, the trail continues a short distance to another bench, with south facing views of the Hudson River.
Looking south, the large land mass on the right, sticking out into the river is Hook Mountain.
In the far distance, the new Tappan Zee Bridge can also be seen on a clear day.
A closeup view of Hook Mountain.
To the left of the bench, the trail, now a narrow footpath, continues past a small brick structure. The trail fizzles out a short distance in.
Looking north, the land mass on the right is George’s Island Park.
Looking south towards Hook Mountain.
Looking west from a rock outcrop towards Stony Point.
Retracing my steps, I headed back up the main trail.
Another brick structure, just down the hill to the right.
Now descending, an interesting split tree and split rock combo.
When I reached the junction with the short spur trail, I turned left.
This short trail leads to a boat launch and a bench along the tidal marsh. This is a good place to relax and view all types of birds.
Looking west across the tidal marsh. While sitting here, an Egret hovered over me and landed on the tree branches directly above me. By the time I got the camera out, it flew off.
Looking east across the tidal marsh towards Cortlandt Street.
An interesting tree.
I then retraced my steps back to the main trail and turned left.
A short distance later, I came to the gate by the parking area.
The parking area can accommodate quite a few cars.
A nice little preserve by the Hudson River and in the past I have seen some Bald Eagles here. I normally hike McAndrews Estate (Oscawana County Park) as well when I come here. It makes for an enjoyable hike.
Pros: Hudson River views, ruins, bird activity, quiet in the colder months.
Take a hike!
Thanks for all of that. Oscawana Island was owned by George C. Tilyou, an entrepenour who developed major attractions at Coney Island in the late 1800s; had a large yacht, a dock at the island, there may be no trace left by now, and I think some Hudson River sidewheelers stopped there, but not sure of that par t of the history.