Saturday, July 14, 2012

Teatown Lake Reservation, John Hand Park, New York City DEP Lands, NY

Teatown Lake Reservation -
John E. Hand Park at Bald Mountain
New York City Watershed Recreation - (PERMIT REQUIRED - CLICK HERE)
   The permit is free, can be printed online and is good for 5 years
Teatown-Kitchawan Trail -

GPS Coordinates 41.211192, -73.827342

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Parking lot next to nature center with signs directing to additional parking if lot is full.

Teatown Lake Reservation Trail Map -
Teatown - Kitchawan Trail Map - New York New Jersey Train Conference (the trail up Bald Mountain is blazed yellow, not white as shown on the map and the view denoted by a star on Bald Mountain is overgrown)

Teatown Lake - Bald Mountain - New Croton Reservoir - Cliffdale Farm:  11.6 miles
Teatown Lake - Bald Mountain - New Croton Reservoir:  8.35 miles

Bald Mountain
Teatown Hill
Catamount Hill

The blue-blazed Lakeside Trail leaving from the Nature Center.
The long bridge across the lake that will be crossed at the end of the hike.
Teatown Lake
Frog in Teatown Lake
The blue-blazed Lakeside Trail is also blazed purple as it runs in conjunction with the purple-blazed Teatown - Kitchawan Trail.  Trail junctions are well marked with signs.
The purple-blazed TKT leaves the lake along with the yellow-blazed Northwest Trail.
A rustic bench in the woods.
The kiosk at John E. Hand Park says "Dogs are not permitted on DEP lands."  The DEP site, however, says dogs generally are permitted.  See end of second paragraph HERE.
The trail through John E. Hand Park is blazed yellow, green and purple until the trails split where the green/yellow trail goes to the "view."
The view from the top of Bald Mountain.  From what I read, it isn't much of a seasonal view either, but it's a nice break spot.
Retracing from the Bald Mountain summit a short distance, an unmarked trail forks left into DEP land (this is where you need a permit) and switchbacks down Bald Mountain all the way to the purple-blazed TKT.  This trail is not shown on the maps.
The unmarked trail through DEP lands is well-defined and easy to follow through pretty woods.
Back on the purple-blazed TKT.
A lot of old stone farm walls throughout the woods.
The TKT crosses over a lovely meadow with lots of...
... Monarch butterflies.
Croton Dam Road - a gravel road with almost no traffic (1 car and 1 motorcycle the whole time I was on it) with lots of access to New Croton Reservoir on the right for water views.
New Croton Reservoir
A Great Blue Heron on a rock in New Croton Reservoir.
Another Great Blue Heron just a short distance to the left of the first one at an island.
Ring-billed Gull
American Crow
Looking back at New Croton Reservoir from the cove.
Croton Dam Road becomes paved briefly before reaching the Briarcliff Peekskill Trailway.
The Briarcliff Peekskill Trailway starts out with dark green blazes, then I lost the blazes for a bit (might have taken an unmarked branch accidentally), then met back up with...
... the trail blazed a different shade of green.  This is the correct trail.
Back to Teatown Lake Reservation - from Griffin Swamp either continue on to Cliffdale Farm, for the longer hike or head back to the lake for the shorter hike.
Cliffdale Loop Trail through woods and meadows.
The long bridge over Teatown Lake at the end of the hike.

[  0.00]  Walk through the parking lot and through the gates behind the visitor center; left on gravel road, blue-blazed Lakeside Trail, just before information board
[  0.20]  Left on blue/purple when unmarked goes right
[  0.40]  Left on blue/purple towards dam when orange Hilltop Trail goes right; at dam turn right on yellow Northwest Trail (along with purple) when blue goes straight
[  0.50]  Cross to left on footbridge then turn right (no blazes in this area)
[  0.65]  Cross footbridge;  keep straight on green-blazed Briarcliff Peekskill Trail (along with purple) when yellow goes left
[  0.95]  Turn right on paved Blinn Road when green crosses over to left; walk on paved road uphill and around bend
[  1.05]  Turn left through parking area at John E. Hand County Park sign on yellow/purple trail; keep straight when unmarked goes left
[  1.30]  Keep right when trail goes left almost at top of hill
[  1.35]  Keep straight when unmarked grail goes right; trail now blazed yellow/purple/green
[  1.50]  Keep left at fork
[  1.65]  Keep right on yellow/green when purple leaves to the left; trail will be blazed yellow, sometimes along with green
[  1.80]  Keep straight when unmarked trail goes sharply to the right
[  1.95]  Trail turns left at NYC DEP By Permit Only signs; left on yellow when unmarked goes right at T-intersection
[  2.10]  Top of Bald Mountain with no views; retrace
[  2.25]  Keep left on unmarked trail at NYC DEP By Permit Only sign when yellow goes right
[  2.40]  Keep right at fork
[  3.10]  Keep straight when trail comes in from left at NYC DEP By Permit Only sign
[  3.15]  At T-intersection turn right on purple-blazed TK Trail
[  3.45]  TK Trail crosses over meadow
[  3.65]  TK Trail leaves meadow
[  3.90]  Follow purple blazes around left turn heading down to New Croton Reservoir; right on purple when it leaves woods road as footpath
[  4.10]  Turn left on unblazed gravel Croton Dam Road when the purple TK Trail turns right
[  4.20]  Just before big white W painted on tree on right, footpath down to reservoir; continue on Croton Dam Road (several other boat access paths lead to reservoir along the way)
[  4.90]  Keep straight on Croton Dam Road when paved road goes left
[  5.05]  Follow gravel road around bend at end of cove
[  5.20]  Gravel road becomes paved at "Town of Cortlandt" sign
[  5.30]  Pass homes then long stockade fence
[  5.50]  At intersection of Croton Dam Road and Quaker Ridge Road, turn left on green-blazed Briarcliff Peekskill Trailway immediately crossing footbridge
[  5.75]  Keep right when a trail comes in from the left
[  5.80]  Keep left at fork with no blazes
[  5.90]  At t-intersection at creek, turn right on green trail with lighter green diamond blazes
[  6.05]  Keep left at fork after crossing plank bridge
[  6.15]  Cross paved Blinn Road slightly diagonally to the left to continue on green trail now joined by purple TK Trail
[  6.45]  Turn right on green trail (together with yellow) when purple goes straight with yellow
[  6.70]  Cross series of footbridges to Griffin Swamp intersection; keep straight on white to Cliffdale Farm or turn left on white/green/yellow for shorter hike (continue from 9.95 mile point below)
[  6.95]  Power cut
[  7.45]  At mowed grassy area, keep right on orange Cliffdale Trail; after a few steps turn right at old red gate post
[  7.65]  At mowed clearing with unblazed intersection turn left (I believe right is the correct way as they both seem to come back together)
[  7.70]  At T-intersection turn left on orange when orange comes in from right (is probably where a prior right turn would have ended up)
[  8.00]  Follow orange trail as it turns right on paved road
[  8.15]  Orange trail leaves paved road to left at red gates
[  8.75]  Cross meadow
[  8.80]  Keep straight when black-blazed Catamount Hill shortcut trail goes right
[  8.95]  Cross Teatown Road at Cliffdale Farm entrance - either walk through farm or stay on mowed orange-blazed trail which skirts to right of farm
[  9.15]  At T-intersection turn right on white-blazed Teatown Cliffdale Trail
[  9.65]  Power cut
[  9.95]  Griffin Swamp intersection; turn right across long boardwalk on white/yellow/green
[ 10.00]  Left on white when yellow/green goes right
[ 10.15]  Left on white when trail (black connector trail?) goes right
[ 10.35]  White ends at dam; turn right on blue Lakeside Trail just before dam so lake; follow trail along right side of lake
[ 10.40]  At fork keep left on blue
[ 10.80]  Straight on blue when black comes in from the right
[ 10.85]  Left on blue when yellow/green come in from the right
[ 11.00]  Turn left on bridge and cross over lake
[ 11.20]  Keep straight when pink Lakeside Overlook Trail goes right
[ 11.35]  Keep straight when pink Lakeside Overlook Trail comes in from the right
[ 11.40]  Wildflower area entrance gate
[ 11.45]  Keep straight on trail (steps to the right up to Nature Center do not access parking lot); go through Wildflower area exit gate and turn right on gravel path
[ 11.60]  Back at parking lot


  1. Hi there! I'm so happy to have found your blog. I like to hike with my shepherd/husky mix, Zeke. We are at Thanks for your great hiking destination posts. I look forward to reading through them.

    1. Thank you for your nice comments! Zeke is gorgeous! I will definitely check out your blog more thoroughly.