OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT TRAIL:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 15, 2020
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.
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.
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 ľ 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. This is the official start of the trail. Re-zeroing Mileage.
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 New Croton Dam (Croton Dam Rd); 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 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) and a Detour. Some steep climbs are included, as well as, an on-road section, so itís not recommended for kids on bikes. 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 grass trail takes you up and then down past the GE Management Institute complex, where you emerge onto Sandy Lane Farm Rd. 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. You'll pick up the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail on your right, across from another green OCA post. This is roughly a ĺ mile detour. 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, 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.
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
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
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 to Maple Pl. Take a right down Maple Pl to Spring Street at about the 5.2 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 6.1 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 7.3 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 7.7 miles in Briarcliff Manor. Map board located here. I've checked out this next section. Heading south along the hard packed dirt and gravel 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 8.1 miles utilizing the break in the medium. This section more isolated. Come to a wide crushed gravel trail and intersection at 8.5 miles. Continuing left you soon cross over Route 9 via a pedestrian bridge and pass by Ventilator Shaft #11 at 8.9 miles. A couple of small hills along this wooded section. Come to another pedestrian bridge over Route 117. After crossing continue right along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail at 9.5 miles. Straight leads to hiking only trails in the park. This next section consists of crushed gravel, stone-dust and hard packed dirt. The trail travels down a steep hill before leveling out and following the ridgeline. You'll pass by a massive stonewall before passing another Sleepy Hollow Weir Chamber at 10.3 miles and traveling along a high berm. Cross Gory Brook Rd in Sleepy Hollow and pass by Ventilator Shaft #12 at 11 miles. Come to Bedford Rd at 11.3 miles.
Note; You can connect to the Terrytown Lakes Spur Trail & South/North County Trailways via the Andre Brook Trail from here. See; Terrytown Lakes Spur Trail .
The trail continues straight along the Sleepy Hollow HS entrance road.
Note; There was a detour in place August 15, 2020 when I was here for road construction. Just follow the detour signs,
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 atop a short berm at 11.6 miles. Follows a residential corridor with a few road crossings and Ventilator Shaft #13. Come to E Franklin St after 12.3 miles.
Note; 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.
Note; On-road detour. Two choices. There is a sign here with directions. I haven't checked out the next sections except as part of the Westchester Riverwalk .
Note; You may connect to the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge Path . Head right down White Plains Rd and cross S Broadway to a paved trail. Come to a small pocket park affording views of the bridge and informational signs. Follow the trail right alongside Broadway to the start of the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge Path on your left after 0.3 miles.
Note; You may connect to the Westchester Riverwalk . Head right down White Plains Rd and cross Broadway to a paved trail. Come to a small pocket park affording views of the bridge and informational signs. Head left (south) across I-87/287 and take your first right along Paulding Ave (residential). 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 trail from Gory Brook Rd in Sleepy Hollow south to Dobbs Ferry (Just south of Hudson Rd, parking at Mercy College) from Scenes from the Trail.
Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the trail from Dobbs Ferry (Just south of Hudson Rd, parking at Mercy College) south to Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers from Scenes from the Trail.
Note; CLICK HERE for a visual description of the trail from Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers south to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx from Scenes from the Trail.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT