OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT TRAIL:

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       July 12, 2024

Length:                 Old Croton Aqueduct Trail; 26 miles

                              Croton Gorge Park to Sleepy Hollow; 11.5 miles

Difficulty:             New Croton Dam to First Detour; Easy. Flat, gravel and hard packed trail.

                              Croton Gorge Park to Old Croton Aqueduct Trail; Moderate. Must take a gravel switchback trail from the park up to the Trail.

                               Old Croton Aqueduct Trail; Moderate overall. Original trail sections are flat and either hard packed dirt, grass or single track. Detour sections include steep grades 

                               and on-road sections that are not always well marked. Mountain bike recommended. Detour sections not recommended for kids.

                               Rockefeller Park section: Easy. A good portion of it consists of a wide crushed gravel base. This rest is hard packed dirt, gravel and grass. 

Directions:

To start from Croton Gorge Park in Croton-On-Hudson [Northern End]; Note; There is a fee to enter on certain days and at different times of the year. See; CROTON GORGE PARK .

    From Route 9 in Croton-on-Hudson follow Route 129 north for 2.2 miles to the Park's entrance on your right.

    From the Taconic State Pkwy take exit 13 to Underhill Ave and travel west to Route 129. Head right on Route 129. Travel 3.2 miles to the Park's entrance on your left.

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail starts from the New Croton Dam at the New Croton Reservoir in Croton-On-Hudson and travels South ending at Van Cortlandt Park at the NY City line, although not all sections of the trail are still intact. There are various detours along the route, some of which are not well marked. The detailed Map below is a must for navigating these detours. The Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line closely parallels the trail allowing you to ride the trail South and take the train back up to the Croton-Harmon Station from various other stations. A bike trail along Route 9 allows you to ride from the Croton-Harmon Station to Old Albany Post Rd, where you can then access the trail. For more information visit; Metro North Railroad

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail follows the route of the Old Croton Aqueduct, which carried water to New York City from 1842 to 1955.  Most of the structure lies beneath the trail and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The aqueduct itself remains intact; the Northern Sections continue to supply water to Ossining. The Croton Dam is the second Dam to bear that name. The first dam was washed away in 1841 while still under construction. The New Croton Dam began construction in 1892 and was completed on New Years Day 1907. The dam is over 180 feet high and built of large block stones. An arched bridge crosses over the jagged rock spillway. This is a must see. It's about a mile trek to cross the dam. For more information visit; OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT TRAIL  or  OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT .

Starting from Croton Gorge Park [Northern End]; This park is located directly below the New Croton Dam and contains picnic areas, a restroom, a small playscape and a large circular water fountain. The spillway flows down jagged rocks into the Croton River, which you cross over into the park. Above the spillway, an arched bridge crosses over to the dam. Definitely worth checking out the views from both on top of the dam and below it in the park. From the playscape, take the gravel trail to its left. You'll come to a junction for the River Trail, but bear left for the Aqueduct Trail. This is a steep switchback trail that takes you up to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. After about 0.4 miles, you'll come to the junction for the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

Note; Left, North, takes you up the gravel trail to the top of the New Croton Dam. This is the official start of the trail.

Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the trail from Croton Gorge Park South to the Ossining Weir Chamber in Ossining from SCENES FROM THE TRAIL

Starting from the top of the New Croton Dam (Croton Dam Rd) [Northern End]; [Re-zeroing Mileage] Be sure to walk across the top of the Dam for great views. 

Note; Two types of wayfarer signs mark the trail; Brownish-orange "Old Croton Aqueduct" signs and Green posts with white OCA lettering.

Travel South down the hard packed gravel Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. You'll pass by the turn-off for Croton Gorge Park before coming to Ventilation Shaft #4 at 0.3 miles. These were erected all along the Aqueduct to keep the aqueduct at atmospheric pressure. Continuing along the trail, you'll pass underneath two sets of transmission lines. Notice that the aqueduct was built right into the hillside, with the river valley down below. There are some very steep drop offs along the trail, as well as a few rock cuts. At 1 mile, you cross Quaker Bridge Rd, then pass by Ventilation Shaft #5. You cross Quaker Bridge Rd again before passing by the Croton Gorge Unique Area at the 1.8 mile mark. A small parking area is located here and a wooden bridge takes you over a small gorge. Pass by Ventilation Shaft #6 before crossing Quaker Bridge Rd again at 2.5 miles. You'll come to Indian Brook Service Rd (Ossining Water Treatment Plant on your left). Some steep climbs are included, as well as,  The trail from here travels through more of a residential area. Head right to Fowler Ave. Turn left and just before the gate to GE look right to spot the green wooden post with the letters OCA. A dirt & grass trail takes you up and then down past the GE Management Institute complex in Crotonville, where you emerge onto Sandy Lane Farm Rd. An on-road Detour begins here ( not recommended for kids on bikes). Here, you must go right on-road and then left under the bridge to bypass Route 9A. Follow Old Albany Post Rd (narrow shoulders) South up the hill and then go left, East, up a steep Ogden Rd. You'll pick up the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail on your right, across from another green OCA post in Ossining. This is roughly a 0.25 mile detour. Continuing South, you'll come to Ventilation Shaft #7 at 3.6 miles, where you have to climb up a short, but steep hill across Piping Rock Dr. At 3.9 miles you come to Route 9. Caution dangerous section. Travel left (narrow path along this busy road) a short distance to a crosswalk over Route 9 where you'll pick up the trail again. The trail follows a wide grassy area South, but just stay straight to remain on the trail. You reach a square stone building at 4.5 miles. This is Old North Ossining Weir. You can feel the cool air emerging from the open bared door. Come to Snowden Ave and head right. Across from the Fire House on your left the trail picks up crossing a grassy median. Your now entering the more urban section of Ossining. Cross N Malcolm St at 4.8 miles where the trail enters a  linear park. Follow the paved path up the hill and then down the steps on the other side to Ann St.

Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the trail from the Ossining Weir Chamber in Ossining south to Gory Brook Rd in Sleepy Hollow from SCENES FROM THE TRAIL

Across Ann St is the Ossining Weir Chamber. This is a National Park Service Historical Site. This large, square stone building accesses the old aqueduct below. There are tours that descend down into the huge brick lined tunnel of the aqueduct. Located along the trail at various locations, they were constructed to enable Overseers and Caretakers to control the flow of water through the Aqueduct for repairs, inspections or to completely drain the line. The Aqueduct here is elevated and travels along the stone Double Arch Bridge. You cross over the Sing Sing Kill (river) on top of the aqueduct along the Village of Ossining Linear Park. When you reach the other side, a path right takes you down to a viewing platform to see the Double Arch Bridge

Note; On the left stairs lead down to Leonard St and out to Broadway. Across the street is the Joseph Caputo Community Center. Head left to the lower parking lot. At the far left corner you'll find the SING SING KILL GREENWAY , a paved 0.5 mile trail along the Sing Sing Kill Gorge which travels underneath the Aqueduct.

The trail is brick lined as it brings you to Main St. Cross over Main St and continue along the brick path crossing Maple Pl and continuing South along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail brings you to Waller Ave. Short on-road detour from here. Head right to Spring St and turn left, South, on-road. Just before Everett Ave look left to spot Ventilator Shaft # 8

Note; If you continue along Spring St, then take a right on Lafayette St, which becomes State St, you'll come to the infamous Sing Sing Prison, which sits alongside the Hudson River.

After crossing Everett Ave head left, Southeast, through Nelson City Park along a paved path. Cross Washington St and head left to Nelson Park where a paved trail takes you either left or right around a ball field to a dirt path out to Albany Post Rd at 5.9 miles. This was as far as I traveled. Head right on-road then a quick left through the Highland Terrace Apartment parking lot where the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail picks up again at the rear of the lot in Briarcliff Manor. Heading South along this wooded section you'll pass by Ventilator Shaft # 9. Cross Scarborough Rd where the trail parallels it until you come to Long Hill Rd at 7.1 miles. Head right down to Scarborough Rd, then left, West, on-road down to Route 9. Caution: This next short, on-road section, is along busy Route 9 with no shoulders. See; Section C of Old Croton Aqueduct Map below for alternative route. Head left, South, on-road along Route 9 for 0.3 miles to River Rd and head right. Here you'll pick up the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail on your left at the River Road parking lot at 7.7 miles. Map Board. I've checked out this next section. Heading South, the hard packed dirt and gravel Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, follows a single track. Pass by Ventilator Shaft # 10. Cross a road and pick up the grass trail as it travels between two properties. Cross Country Club Rd at 0.4 miles utilizing the break in the medium. This section more isolated. Come to a wide crushed gravel trail and intersection at 8.5 miles.

Note; Right, South, leads to hiking only trails in Rockefeller State Park/Rockwood Hall. This was the site of the former summer home of William Rockefeller (1841-1922), brother of John D. Rockefeller. A Loop Trail follows carriage roads around this park. I haven't checked out this trail.

This next section utilizes the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail through the Rockefeller State Park. Continuing left, East, along the wide crushed gravel Old Croton Aqueduct Trail you soon cross over Route 9 via a pedestrian bridge and head South passing by Ventilator Shaft # 11 at 8.9 miles. You'll encounter a couple of small hills along this wooded section. Come to another pedestrian bridge over Route 117. After crossing continue right, Southwest, along the wide, crushed gravel Old Croton Aqueduct Trail at 9.5 miles. 

This was as far as I traveled. After about 9.9 miles you pass by a high stone wall and cross into Sleepy Hollow. Here the trail reverts to hard packed dirt & grass. As you travel past Sleepy Hollow Cemetery you pass by the Sleepy Hollow Weir Chamber. You cross the Pocantico River and after around 11 miles you cross Gory Brook Rd. You quickly pass by Ventilator Shaft # 12. Cross Bedford Rd at 11.3 miles and continue straight along the Sleepy Hollow HS entrance road.

Note; You can connect to the Terrytown Lakes Spur Trail & South & North County Trailways via the Andre Brook Trail from here by heading left, East, through the gate. See; Terrytown Lakes Spur Trail .

I've checked out the next section. Pass by the sports fields on your left and come to the High School. Turn left and travel around the high school to the back. Down below on your left is a water garden and path. That is not part of the trail. Just past this the hard packed dirt & grass Old Croton Aqueduct Trail continues left, South, atop a short berm at 11.6 miles. Follows a residential corridor, entering Terrytown, with a few road crossings and past Ventilator Shaft #13. Come to E Franklin St after 12.3 miles. 0.3 mile on-road detour. Turn right down to S Broadway and travel left (sidewalk available). Turn left up Leroy Ave and come to a parking lot on your right. Follow along the right side of parking lot to pick up the hard packed dirt & grass Old Croton Aqueduct Trail along a short berm. Enter the woods at 12.6 miles. Cross Prospect Ave then pass by Ventilator Shaft #14 before coming up to White Plains Rd at 13 miles.

I haven't checked out the Southern Section of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail:

On-road detour. Two Options. There is a sign here with directions. I haven't checked out the next sections except as part of the Westchester Riverwalk .

Option 1: You may connect to the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge Path . Head right, West, down White Plains Rd and quickly cross S Broadway to the start of the paved Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge Path which travels North. Map Board. Small pocket park affording views of the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge and informational signs. 

Option 2: You may connect to the Westchester Riverwalk . Head right, West, down White Plains Rd and cross S Broadway to the start of the paved Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge Path, which travels North. Small pocket park affording views of the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge and informational signs. Head left, South, across I-87/287.

Note; In 2024, construction is underway to build a pedestrian bridge, next to Broadway Bridge, over I-87/287.

Continue along a wide. paved trail alongside Broadway. Turn right along Paulding Ave (residential), then bear right on Van Wart Ave and you'll pick up the Westchester Riverwalk at the end of the street after 0.5 miles

 

Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail from Gory Brook Road in Sleepy Hollow South to Dobbs Ferry from SCENES FROM THE TRAIL .

Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail from Dobbs Ferry South to Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers from SCENES FROM THE TRAIL .

Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail from Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers South to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx from SCENES FROM THE TRAIL

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CLICK HERE FOR MAP

CLICK HERE FOR MAP

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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