OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT TRAIL:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 27, 2005
Length: Old Croton Aqueduct Trail; 26 miles
Difficulty: New Croton Dam to First Detour; Easy. Flat, gravel and hard packed 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.
To start from Croton Gorge Park; 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 trail starts from the New Croton Dam at the New Croton Reservoir and ends 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 ¼ mile trek to cross the dam. For more information visit; OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT TRAIL or OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT .
Starting from Croton Gorge Park; 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. At about 0.4 mile, you'll come to the junction for the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.
Note; Left takes you up the gravel trail to the top of the New Croton Dam.
Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the trail from here south to Ossining from Scenes from the Trail.
Head right along the flat, level, hard packed Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. At a ½ mile, you'll come to a ventilation shaft. This looks like a stone chimney emerging from the earth. These were placed every mile along the underground aqueduct and thus let you calculate how far you've traveled along the trail. 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. Keep an eye out at around 0.8 miles for a beautiful stone built house with slate roof below on your right. There are some very steep drop offs along the trail, as well as a few rock cuts. At 1.2 miles, you cross over a small road and at 1 ½ miles, you'll come to another ventilation shaft. You cross a couple more small roads before you come to a sign that reads "unique area" at the 2 mile mark. A small parking area is located here and a wooden bridge takes you over a small gorge. We saw people heading down a path, so maybe it takes you to the Croton River and a unique feature? At 2.9 miles you come to the first Detour. Some steep climbs are included, as well as an on-road section, so it’s not recommended for kids. The trail from here travels through more of a residential area. Head right and spot a green wooden post with the letters OCA. A grass trail takes you up and then down past the GE Management Institute complex, where you emerge onto another road. Here, you must go right and then left under the bridge to bypass Route 9A. Follow Old Albany Post Rd up the hill and then go left up a steep Ogden Rd. At the top, the trail continues right, across from another green OCA post. This is roughly a ¾ mile detour. You'll come to another ventilation shaft at 3 ¾ miles, where you have to climb up a short, but steep hill to another road crossing. At 4.1 miles you come to Route 9. Turn left and cross at the crosswalk to continue on the trail. The trail takes you over a wide grassy area, but just stay straight to remain on the trail. You reach a square stone building at 4 ¾ miles, that serves as an access point down to the aqueduct. You can feel the cool air emerging from the open bared door. Next, cross the road and head right where the trail veers left across a grassy median. You come to another road at 5 miles where the trail enters a linear park. Follow the paved path up the hill and then down the steps on the other side. Across another road 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.
Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the trail from here south to Sleepy Hollow from Scenes from the Trail.
you cross over the Sing Sing Kill (river) on top of the aqueduct along
Note; Heading 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.
The trail here is brick lined as it brings you to Main St. Cross over Main St and continue along the brick path to Maple St. Take a right down Maple to Spring Street at about the 5.5 mile mark.. Here, another detour begins by heading left on-road along Spring St. 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 through a 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. 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 after 6.3 miles. 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 7.5 miles. Head down to Scarborough Rd, then left on-road down to Route 9. Caution: This next on-road section is along busy Route 9 with narrow shoulders. See; Section C of Map below for alternative route. Head left 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 7.9 miles in Briarcliff Manor.
CLICK HERE FOR MAP
CLICK HERE FOR MAP
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