Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rockefeller State Park Preserve, NY - Swan Lake Area and Stone Barns Center

Rockefeller State Park Preserve - New York State Parks
Rockefeller State Park Preserve - Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve
There is a $6 fee to park or the Empire Pass may be used.
 Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

GPS Coordinates 41.11184, -73.83723
Parking lot at 7 AM.
Parking lot at noon.  It's an insanely busy place so for any solitude you have to get there at the crack of dawn.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve Trail Map - New York State Parks
Rockefeller State Park Preserve Brochure - Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve (this version has trail descriptions and distances)
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HIKE DISTANCE:  7.1 miles

Today's hike is in pink.  Blue is the hike we did two weeks ago.
This hike starts at the kiosk just beyond the visitor center.
A tufted titmouse at the Visitor Center.
Brothers' Path around Swan Lake.
The only prints in the snow from the night before were coyote and fox tracks and they were on all the trails.  They must use the trails as their nighttime super highways.
I had to wonder if people coming after us would wonder what the heck those double tire tracks were in the snow.
Apparently they did because later a jogger looked at Shawnee and said, "Oh, that is what those tire tracks are from!"
Following coyote tracks.
Coming up on the end of Swan Lake.
Looking back at Swan Lake from the far end.
Going up the other side of Swan Lake.
The moon over Swan Lake.
A duck couple in a tiny spot of unfrozen lake water.
Icicles on her chin hairs.
She can turn on a dime in that wheelchair to go in for a sniff.
A flock of wintering robins.
It's always very obvious when leaving the park trails and entering Stone Barns because there is always a sign like this but only one, no signs at intersections until back in the park.
Red-tailed Hawk
This balloon was way up in a tree in the middle of the cow pasture so could not get it for my collection.
Shawnee has always been terrified of cows (loves horses, not cows) but it seems that after almost 16 years she has gotten over it.
The cows were most interested in her.
My gloves have Velcro that holds the mitten part back when I need to use my fingers.  I realized I can attach them to the wheelchair using that Velcro when not in use.  How handy!
Going into the trough for some cow chow.
These three ladies decided to hike with us for a bit.
Some Hudson Valley views.
From a little higher up, the Hudson River.
So adorable!
Back at the far end of Swan Lake before making a hard left on ...
... Farm Meadow Trail then on to ...
... the second Ash Tree Loop sign.
Ash Tree Loop ascends steadily...
... to winter views at the top and ...
... another balloon in a tree.
Horses passed us on the Overlook Trail and where there was nobody else on the Ash Tree Loop, the Overlook Trail was a busy place.
Swan Lake from the Overlook Trail.
Some partial Hudson Valley views to the left.
Down to Swan Lake then left to ...
... the Visitor Center and ...
... back to the parking lot.


  1. Excellent pix from your "sophomore" trip to Rockefeller State Park Preserve! Good thing you and Shawnee are "early birds" (like the initial tufted titmouse you saw), because I can see what you mean about the place getting packed! (I'm not an early bird by any stretch of the imagination, and would be within those "crowds" someplace if I were there!) :)

    Gotta give the "best pix of the day" award to the cows...especially the cow/calf! Also loved the three ladies' "company" you had for a while...Shawnee must have somehow made an agreement with the cows over the years, and it is paying off!

    Too bad you couldn't get the balloons, but I'm sure there will be plenty of other opportunities throughout the year. Hey -- maybe you can have a contest this time around to see who can predict the closest to the amount of balloons you will pick up in 2017! (In case you do...I'll guess 30! Hee Hee!)

    Keep up the great work...if there's more to see at Rockefeller, then perhaps you and Shawnee will go for the "hat trick" next time. Happy Hiking!!

    -- Jim

    1. Thanks, Jim! There is more to see at Rockefeller - 45 miles of those trails and we have only done about 15 so far. I'm sure we'll be back at some point. There are some places to park on the outskirts where you can access other trails and I drove around that way afterwards to scout that out on the way home - cars parked EVERYWHERE along the road in those spots. Sigh.

  2. I think the cows were jealous of Shawnee's rig. Great to see the beautiful girl making tracks in the snow. As always, lovely post.

    --Eddie W.

    1. Thanks, Eddie! Yes, the cows seemed to be quite curious about the rig. I am sure they had never seen anything like it before. There were people with a dog ahead of us that was lunging at the cows and the cows started to walk away but Shawnee is so non-threatening with other animals (even before the wheelchair) that they came back to see her.

  3. It looked like the nice place to hike, very nice photos. Glad Shawnee is doing well. Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ

  4. I have a few riding friends that frequent the trails there quite a bit- it looks like a great place to explore. Shawnee's chin icicles are too cute haha