Teatown Lake Reservation | Trail guides from the community | Forum

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The forum turned out to be a bit of a failed experiment (I like to think this is because the Facebook page and comments across the site provide all we really need in the way of a forum).  I'll leave these pages here for a while longer, because some cool people have posted some good information below.  And if you'd like to be the one to resurrect the forum, everything still works -- have at it!

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Teatown Lake Reservation
Topic Rating: +1 Topic Rating: +1 (1 votes) 
July 9, 2014
3:45 pm
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justherb
Mt. Kisco, NY
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Teatown has become my go-to hiking spot for a quick fix simply because it's so close to home. Plus it allows for short or long hikes depending on how much time I have. It's easily reachable via the Taconic. Exit at rt. 134 and head West for about a hundred yards. On your right you'll see a wideish side street that IMMEDIATELY splits. Take Grants Lane to the left and not Illington Road to the right. The roads from here on are VERY narrow so use caution around the many blind corners. Also watch out for bikes because there's no room to swerve around them. Grants Lane is short and ends at Spring Valley Rd. Before turning right take a moment to look ahead of you. Up,on the hill you should be able to see a barn/house through the trees that's partially burned out. This would be Ace Frehley's house, yes...the KISS guitarist. Apparently he stopped paying the mortgage on it a few years ago and then last year there was a 'suspicious' fire. No word on whether or not Gene Simmons was involved. Anyway, follow the winding Spring Valley Rd. for a mile or so. There are two parking lots, to get to the back lot take a right on Blinn Rd. and you'll see the gated lot on your left, plenty of room here. The main parking lot is at the nature center on the right just past Blinn, it fills up quickly on weekends or if there's an event being held. Either lot is fine?

If you parked in the main lot be sure to make a quick stop to see the birds of prey exhibit, like the Bear Mt. Zoo these birds were injured and rescued. Hop down onto the gravel road that runs behind the birds and follow the red blazes to the back lot. If you parked at the back lot you can hike first and see the birds later. The Hidden Valley/red blazed trail starts to the right of the trail map and follows the road for a few yards before crossing to a gate. Cross the small swamp on the boardwalk into a grassy open area. The HV loop starts here and you can go either way. Let's go right.

The HV trail turns left up into the woods past some large rock outcrops, winding its way to the edge of the trail's namesake valley. As you get close you might notice that the trees are less dense and there appears to be a gap. There's a stand of mountain laurel on the rim and the trail descends steeply into the valley. The small stream on your right feeds the swamp in the valley. It feels a little like you stumbled into something...well...hidden. The trail crosses the swamp on another boardwalk and dead ends at a cliff where you'll follow the red blazes left. 

If you're wondering what the view is like from up on that cliff you won't have to wonder long because you'll be up there soon. Follow the base of the cliffs until it opens up and you see the route up. This is the aptly named Overlook Trail/yellow and is another loop.

Climb away and when you get to the small pond with the equally small Revolutionary War era house you can either go right or left. Left climbs a bit more to a paved road/driveway that's private property but open to hikers. Head left on the road until you see the blazes on the right back into the woods. This side of the hill is more grassy with a few clearings and circles around before it climbs the backside of the hill. Crossing over the top you're headed back to the top of the cliffs you saw earlier. Take a moment to look and see if the view is what you expected. There are some railings and fixed ropes to help you descend if you need them and you'll cross a small bridge before you end up back at the pond/house. Go back down the way you came up and rejoin the HV trail to the right.

Now climb less steeply out of the valley and back to the grassy clearing. If you like pine trees (and who doesn't) there's a quick side trail (pink) through a pine grove...they both end back at the starting point where you'll cross the swamp back to the road.

Right after crossing the road look for the orange blaze on your right, you may have to turn and look back at a few trees to see it, if you noticed it on your way in then you'll recognize it. Hang a right up the hill. You'll see evidence of the summer camps as you walk up and you'll also pass an orchard on your right. About now you should be able to see Teatown lake though the trees. The Hilltop trail dumps you out at the dam that created the lake. Here you can make a choice...just continue around the pretty lake or add a loop behind it. If you choose the latter you can either take the Northwest/green trail that follows the lake outlet or take the Cliffdale/white trail that starts just past the dam. Neither is very long and they come together at the base of a steepish climb that returns you to the lake. I take the white loop and if I have time I'll do another full lap around the lake.

The Cliffdale trail actually connects Teatown to the Clifdale Farm if you continue on it. You can do that too if you want to add three miles.

When the white trail ends at another swamp, turn left on the green trail and climb Teatown Hill. Eventually you'll wind up under the power lines, just keep an eye open for the green blazes that leave the power lines to the right. This takes yin past some more large rock outcrops and back down to the lake.

Now comes one of the unique parts of Teatown, a 200 yard floating bridge with great views of the lake. At the midway point there are some benches to sit and reflect upon your journey so far. There's also a beaver lodge between the bridge and the road, I've never seen the inhabitant, but maybe you will. Some people are put off by the power lines that you saw earlier...but hey, we all use electricity and it has to come from somewhere. Just be glad that Gerard Swope donated the land...he was the chairman of General Electric by the way. Oh were you wondering where the Teatown name came from? Seems that a man named John Arthur thought he would hoard some tea when the British started taxing it in 1776 and seek it at a huge profit. A group of local women took offense to this and kicked his ass to get the tea back. Hell hath no fury like a woman without her tea.

Once you've taken in the view you can continue around the lake at a leisurely pace with all of the families with kids and other day walkers. If you want to get a higher view there's a short Lakeside Overlook trail that parallels the Lakeside trail. As you get closer to the nature center there's a gated wildflower area to keep the local critters from eating the plants. Be sure to close the gate behind you. On the left is Wildflower Island, but it's only open for guided groups. 

At the exit gate you can turn right to go back to the main parking lot...or you can turn left to get back to the back lot. If you still have the time and/or energy, you can continue around the lake sticking to the Lakeside trail this time. There's a quaint little boathouse that's always a good photo op.

By now you've covered most of what Teatown has to offer. Across the street from the nature center there's another trailhead that brings you to a couple more lakes, two more dams, a small waterfall and some more power lines. This is the Back 40 section and can be combined with any of the other sections to add some miles.

The map below takes the Northwest trail at the dam and not the Cliffdale...I think it also starts from the main parking lot, but you get the idea.

Teatown Hike Map

Don't want to take my word for it? Visit the Teatown site.

http://www.teatown.org

July 10, 2014
9:17 pm
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Mike
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This is great, @justherb!  Thanks for taking the time to put this all down.  Sounds like a very cool place - would like to check out that floating bridge!

July 10, 2014
10:02 pm
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justherb
Mt. Kisco, NY
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Here's a picture of the floating bridge from Daniela at Gone Hikin'.

Teatown BridgeImage Enlarger

July 12, 2014
12:09 pm
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EdC
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This looks very cool. I had no idea this place even existed! Thanks for sharing!

-Ed-

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