May 3, 2020 – Yonkers, NY
Trailhead parking: 19 Dudley Street, Yonkers 10701
Lenoir Preserve is a 40-acre nature preserve comprising woodlands and field habitats. It is located in northwest Yonkers, NY. and is adjacent to the Old Croton Aqueduct on slopes overlooking the Hudson River. The property was formerly home to two Hudson River estates, only one of which stands today.
The preserve boasts a number of unusual specimen trees and shrubs imported from around the world. Among them are some magnificent copper beeches from Europe, gingko trees from Asia and Douglas firs from the Pacific Northwest. These imports join native sugar maples, red oaks, hemlocks, pines and tulip trees in providing shelter for many kinds of wildlife including woodpeckers, owls and bats.
Every spring and autumn, bird watchers gather to observe major hawk migrations. Nature enthusiasts can learn about raptor identification markings, such as flight patterns and silhouettes, and can take part in official tracking counts of raptors.
The Nature Center houses many different nature exhibits. Nature center hours: September to June, Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; July and August, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 40-acre Lenoir Nature Preserve opened in 1978 and is owned and operated by the County of Westchester.
Trails are open every day dawn to dusk. Maps are available at the kiosk near the Nature Center.
At the southeast end of the preserve, the Lenoir Mansion stands atop the hill overlooking the meadow. The Lenoir Mansion was built between 1850 and 1870 for future presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden and was built from granite quarried on the estate. The two wings were added around 1907 by C.C. Dula where he named the mansion after Lenoir, North Carolina, where he grew up. C. C. Dula’s niece, Purl Parker, inherited the estate in 1939 where she lived with her husband, Dr. Orrin Wightman until 1965 when Dr. Wightman died.
Lenoir Preserve has a combination of traditional trails and paved footpaths that total about 2 miles. There is also a trail that connects to the Old Croton Aqueduct which in turn connects to nearby Untermyer Park and Gardens. Trail maps are available at the preserve.
- Blue Trail:
The Blue Trail traverses the property from north to south, along the hillside, just above the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA), then climbs the hillside (east) along the property’s southern border. The trail begins near the “Sugar Shack” descends a little then proceeds along the hillside. There are several unmarked footpaths that branch off it, including one that descends to the OCA. When it reaches the southern end of the preserve, it ascends steeply and runs along the preserve boundary, ending near a parking lot by the mansion.
- Unmarked Side Trail:
An unmarked trail branches off the Blue Trail and climbs steeply to a stone staircase and through a stone arch on one of the terraces.
- Yellow Trail:
The Yellow Trail starts near the Nature Center on a woods road heading northeast then makes a sharp right and heads south, passing just above the Nature Center, terminating at a junction with the paved Green Trail.
- Green Trail:
The paved Green Trail starts behind the Nature Center and loops around the interior of the preserve in a Figure-8. It passes by the Butterfly Garden, the Terraces and loops around the meadow, passing by the mansion and the stone gazebo, as it makes its way back to the Nature Center.
A really nice place to go for a walk and avoid the crowds. The grounds are well kept these days compared to several years ago when the place was severely overgrown. The adjacent Old Croton Aqueduct allows visitors to extend their walk towards South Yonkers and the Bronx, or north towards Dobbs Ferry.
Historical features, Lenoir Mansion, stone walls and terraces, gothic arch, lots of bird activity.
Take a walk!