May 2, 2020 – Yorktown Heights, NY
Length: Approximately 4 miles
Max elevation: 543 ft. – total elevation gain: approximately 157 ft.
Route type: Lollipop Loop
Trailhead parking: FDR State Park pool parking lot – Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park is a 960-acre state park in Westchester County, NY. It is situated in Yorktown, approximately 40 miles from New York City. FDR State Park is a large multi-use facility with picnic tables, board rentals, playing fields, and a swimming pool. In season and weekends, picnickers arrive by the carful and busload, filling the park with sounds of people enjoying the outdoors and smells wafting from grills. On weekdays and off season weekends, local residents walk, jog, or bike along the park roads in relative isolation.
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park encompasses two water bodies, Mohansic Lake and Crom Pond, which provide recreational boating and are home to many native fishes, including largemouth bass, yellow perch, and bluegill. The park is operated and managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Formerly known as Mohansic Park and Mohansic State Park, the park was created in 1922 on the former site of the Mohansic State Hospital. It was renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in 1982.
The trails at FDR are blazed, mostly on wide woods roads which have minimal elevation changes. On the easternmost part of the park, a road built by the Civilian Conservation Corps provides a quiet place to walk under tall trees. A paved path essentially paralleling the park road to the swimming area is handicapped accessible. In 2016, thanks to an Eagle Scout project, a bridge now crosses the inlet stream of Crom Pond. In 2017 a bridge was built across the outlet stream, which now connects the park to the Mohansic Trailway, an abandoned rail bed.
This hike follows the blue-blazed Crom Pond Trail over newly built boardwalks and bridges alongside Crom Pond to its terminus with the Mohansic Trailway. Returning the same way, then turning right on the white-blazed Forested Loop Trail. The final stretch is on the yellow-blazed Mid Park Loop Trail and back to the pool parking lot.
From FDR State Park’s swimming pool parking lot, look for a bench on the east side, near a post with white tag blazes. Walk down the woods road and at a broad intersection in 0.2 mile, turn right onto the Crom Pond Trail. Crom means crooked in Dutch. Head down the stone steps. In 0.3 mile, turn right onto a narrow path. Cross a 70′ long board walk in the wetlands, turn left to cross a stone wall and a short board walk. The path reaches a bridge built thanks to an Eagle project and east side of the bridge has a ramp that hugs the side of a large rock.
In 0.5 mile, turn right onto a woods road. Continue along the woods road and bear right to head towards Crom Pond at 0.7 mile. The views over Crom Pond and its adjacent wetlands make you think you are much further away from New York City than you actually are except that you can hear some traffic noise from the Taconic State Parkway. The animal paths down to the shore allow you to take a closer look at Crom Pond.
The path turns left to go away from the water. At 0.8 mile, the trail crosses a 108-foot long boardwalk that lets you keep your feet dry. Turning right, the trail parallels a wetland. It reaches a 50-foot long boardwalk that spans the flood plain of the outlet stream of Crom Pond and connects to the bridge over the stream. At first glance the bridge seems really long. But, it is only 32 feet spanning the stream and then reaches a narrow piece of land which provides a foundation for board walk on the south side. You have walked 0.9 mile when you reach the south side of the bridge.
After crossing the bridge, continue to follow the blue blazes on a woods road that soon turns right and leads toward the edge of Crom Pond then turns left. In about another 400 yards, the blue-blazed Crom Pond Trail, leaves the woods road and turns left at a junction with the Yellow Connector Trail and soon ends at the abandoned rail bed, the route of the orange-blazed Mohansic Trailway.
Turn right on the abandoned rail bed and walk a few feet to the junction with the Yellow Connector Trail and turn right. Follow the yellow blazes for a short distance to its terminus at the junction with the blue-blazed Crom Pond Trail which you passed a few minutes earlier.
Continue straight on the Crom Pond Trail, now retracing your steps. Recross the wooden footbridge that spans the outlet stream and continue back the way you came.
When the Crom Pond Trail comes to a T-intersection with a woods road, make sure to turn left and follow the blue blazes back to the broad intersection with the white-blazed Forested Loop Trail.
You have a few options here. You can continue straight on blue a short distance to its terminus, turn left and return to the parking lot. You can turn left and retrace your steps on white back to the parking lot (that would make the hike about 2.3 miles total), or you can turn right on white to extend the hike. We turned right.
The white-blazed Forested Loop Trail follows a wide woods road north. In about 0.6 mile, the trail reaches Downing Park (no trails), turns left and skirts its boundary along a wooden fence. The trail then heads west, passing the green-blazed CCC Camp Trail (another option), then comes to a pair of benches with an informational sign and turns left, now heading south.
This section of the trail is paved and you may encounter walkers and kids on bikes. To avoid this paved section, you can walk a few feet farther and turn left on the yellow-blazed Mid Park Loop Trail, or do as we did and just cut through the woods to it.
The Mid Park Loop Trail runs parallel to, and just below the white trail. You can see the people and hear them, but if you prefer a dirt path to pavement, this trail works. In just over a 1/2 mile, as the yellow trail starts to veer right, there is a short footpath that leads back to the paved white trail near a kiosk where the green, white and blue trails meet.
Continue south past the kiosk and back to the pool parking lot, where the hike began.
A nice, mostly level walk in the woods, but nothing really exciting about it. The bridges and boardwalks are cool and the Crom Pond Trail itself is worth hiking. There aren’t any real open views of Crom Pond and you have to maneuver in order to get a decent photograph. The Crom Pond Trail has a lot of wet and muddy sections where there aren’t any boardwalks, although our visit was after it rained the previous day. We got there before 8:30 am and there were already quite a few people in the lower areas of the park. We only encountered several hikers on the Crom Pond Trail, but quite a few more on the Forested Loop Trail, especially the paved section. If nothing else, this is a decent hike to stretch your legs while social distancing and staying local.
Crom Pond Trail with its boardwalks and bridges, mostly lesser traveled area, huge parking lot.
No real good views of Crom Pond. Besides the Crom Pond Trail, not much to see on the other trails except people.
Take a hike!
- New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
- Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
- History of FDR State Park
- Crom Pond Trail bridge