December 1, 2018 – Hyde Park, NY
Length: Approximately 1 mile
Max elevation: 251 ft.– total elevation gain 44 ft.
Route type: Circuit
Trailhead parking: 79 E Market St, Hyde Park, NY 12538
The Hyde Park Trails system currently includes about 34 miles of trails, including trails within 3 National Park units, a State Park complex, 3 Town Parks, and a land trust nature preserve, connected in large part by trail easements across private lands, as well as on-road linkages. All trails in the Hyde Park Trail system were designated National Recreation Trails by the U. S. Department of the Interior in 2006, and their formal designation as Hudson River Valley Greenway Trails was underway in 2018.
The Hyde Park Healthy Trails Walkabout is an annual program to encourage walking for health. The Walkabout is open to local residents and visitors alike. Participants who complete at least five Hyde Park trails in a given year may earn a free, themed trail patch. The Hyde Park Trail Committee creates a new patch each year, featuring a natural or historical feature that relates to Hyde Park Trails.
Hackett Hill Park is a town park that is situated on 45-acres of open and forested land on E Market Street between Routes 9 and 9G. This is the main park for the town residents. The Recreation Administration, Registration and Program offices are here in the Hackett House.
Access the trails by parking in the parking area and follow the Trail sign to the trailhead kiosk for a map of the parkland. The trails are well-marked and are easy hiking. They meander through the woodlands, past large rock outcroppings formed during the glacial age, past historic stone walls and along the scenic Crum Elbow Creek.
That’s what I read, but to be honest, out of all the hikes we did on this day, it was the most confusing. The blaze colors on the actual trails do not match up with the ones on the trail map. The trail map, issued by the Town of Hyde Park Recreation Department, is from March 2018. I would think that since the Recreation Department is located in this park, they could have paid closer attention to this important detail. This caused us to miss hiking the Red Trail entirely, which we never saw. I was able to figure things out, but it did lead to some confusion. The map below represents the blaze colors of the trails a little better than the actual trail map, but is incorrect at the start of the hike. The map below shows that the co-aligned trails from the kiosk are orange and green, when they are actually orange and light blue. The green-blazed trail does not actually begin until the Y-intersection, when orange veers left.
At the northeast end of the parking area, we proceeded on a gravel road.
To the right of the road is the Paul A. Tegtmeier Memorial. Paul Tegtmeier, 41, was a New York City firefighter at the World Trade Center who was a lifelong native of Hyde Park and volunteer for the Roosevelt Fire District, responded to the call for help and died on Sept. 11, 2001.
We continued walking north on the gravel road, with stone walls and rock formations visible to the right, on the hillside.
The trails begin at the kiosk, which is adjacent to the pool.
In the field just beyond the kiosk, there was a large rafter of Wild Turkeys. There must have been over 20 of them, but most took off into the woods before I could get my camera out.
The co-aligned orange-blazed Gorilla Rock Trail and light-blue-blazed Crum Elbow Trail begin here.
The co-aligned trails head east through the forest on a woods road.
In about 400 feet from the kiosk, the light-blue-blazed Crum Elbow Trail turns right as the Gorilla Rock Trail proceeds ahead.
I walked a short distance to the edge of Crum Elbow Creek to take a look and then retraced my steps back to the Gorilla Rock Trail and turned right.
In another 140 feet, the orange-blazed trail comes to a Y-intersection with the green-blazed Woodland Trail.
We veered right and began following the green blazes.
The Woodland Trail heads in a northeasterly direction through the tranquil forest.
The trail soon descends and crosses a wet area on a wooden boardwalk.
The trail then borders a stone wall.
Soon the trail turns left and begins heading northwest.
We came to a junction with the yellow-blazed Connector Trail and turned left.
This junction is easy to miss and I only noticed the yellow blaze when I turned to look at the rock formations that line the trail.
The yellow blazed trail heads southeast, bordered by interesting rock formations.
The trail begins to descend and ends at a junction with the orange-blazed Gorilla Rock Trail.
Gorilla Rock is a large glacial erratic that at the proper angle, appears like a Gorilla head.
There are informational kiosks and seating area nearby.
We turned right on the orange-blazed trail which descends gradually, now heading southwest.
In a short distance, we came to the playing field where we saw the turkeys earlier. The pool is straight ahead and the kiosk where we began the hike is on the left.
Not seeing any more blazes, we walked through the field and made our way back to the parking area, where our hike began.
A nice hike through very scenic woods and we did not encounter any other hikers during our visit. In warmer weather, the trails are probably more traveled. This hike took about 20 minutes to complete, stopping briefly along the way to shoot some photographs. We now checked our fourth hike off the list and headed down the road to Pinewoods Park.
The hikes completed for the 2018 Hyde Park Healthy Trails Walkabout patch are:
- Eleanor’s Walk
- Top Cottage Trail
- Winnakee Nature Preserve
- Hackett Hill Park
- Pinewoods Nature Trail Loop
The five hikes totaled about 6.5 miles with approximately 570 ft. of elevation gain. They were done in one day and we picked up our patches at the Vanderbilt Mansion Visitor Center. I called the day before to make sure they had the patches. I called The River Connection, listed on the brochure/map, and was told they no longer stock the patches. No one at the Hyde Park Recreation Dept. at Hackett Hill Park ever answered the phone and returned my call 3 days after I completed the hike. They were closed on the Saturday of the hike.
Pros: Quiet and scenic woods, rock formations, earn a patch.
Cons: No views, some of the blazed trails do not match map.
Take a hike!