Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rockefeller State Park Preserve, NY - Eagle Hill Area

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, if you were gifted an Empire Passport by your son and daughter-in-law for your birthday last summer, that works, too.

GPS Coordinates 41.11184, -73.83723
The main parking lot at 7:30 AM.
The main parking lot at 11:30 AM with cars circling like vultures for a spot to open up. 

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:  7.2 miles

These are all trails as described in the Eagle Hill Area section of the brochure.
Our 7.2 mile route on the park map.
We took the Nature's Way Trail from the parking lot just a short distance in from the restroom building.
Sunrise on the Nature's Way Trail.
A very short side trail to ...
... one of the largest glacial erratics in the Hudson Valley.
Old Sleepy Hollow Road Trail
Crossing Sleepy Hollow Road - this road would be lined with parked cars on the return route.
Shawnee often starts to panic when I am 10 feet away and she can't see me yet she can clearly see those two deer.
After crossing this bridge we turned right on the Pocantico River Trail.  We would be returning from the left.
Pocantico River Trail
Going under Route 117.
It was slow going on this hike because there were just so many places to stop and sniff.
Turning right on 13 Bridges Trail.
I was so excited to see a black squirrel.  I had only seen one once before a few years ago and he was on my deck but I only saw him the one time.
But then a few steps ahead there were two playing.  Turns out they were everywhere in this area.
One of the 13 bridges.
The 13 Bridges Trail follows and crosses over Gory Brook.
Three bridges in a row.
Going back under Route 117.
I had never seen such a huge flock of wintering robins before.  They were everywhere and I was getting pictures of 3 at a time but they were blurry because at least one was always in motion.
I wanted to turn left on the Eagle Hill Trail but the only way to see the sign was to pass it by and turn around to look at it.
Heading up the Eagle Hill Trail and we had it all to ourselves, not another person up there.
Could it be, right where I can scoop it up without having to hack through thorny undergrowth?
Yes it is, my first balloon of the year,
Almost at the top...
... the trail splits into a loop.
Some Hudson River views with the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Continuing around the loop then down and over to ...
... the Witch's Spring Trail to ...
... the Spook Rock Trail.
Spook Rock
From Spook Rock Trail to Big Tree Loop.
At the other end of the Pocantico River Trail
Pocantico River
An old bridge on the left off of the trail.
Pocantico River from the old bridge.
Continuing on the Pocantico River Trail.
Across an open field ...
... a red-tailed hawk in a tree surveying the field.
Pocantico River Ducks
Heading back on Old Sleepy Hollow Road Trail.
Seriously, they let you "push it off"?  Then why did I still see so many bags of poop around?  Lazy people!
Every available spot taken on Sleepy Hollow Road where there were no cars earlier.
Old Sleepy Hollow Road Trail is kind of boring and crowded with people so we went back on Nature's Way which is much more to our liking and nobody else was there.

To close out 2016, our year of hiking, one picture from each hike.
And 20 balloons collected while hiking in 2016.


  1. Hi Daniela -- WOW, what a way to kick off the new year! Such a beautiful park...sort of reminds me of Nolde Forest State Park in PA (which I know you & Shawnee have covered). Looks like every trail has something interesting to offer (especially 13 Bridges, Galactic Erratic, and Spook Rock.) Excellent shots of the black squirrel...yowsa, I haven't seen one of those for over 25 years; saw some outside of King of Prussia, PA on the Haverford College campus circa 1990 -- beautiful creatures!

    Oh, and the picture of you & Shawnee is absolutely *priceless*...that _look_ Shawnee is giving, says all of "Yeah, it's 2017 -- and I'm *still here*, BABY!!"

    One other thing -- congrats on retrieving your first balloon for 2017, but didn't you say you'd share a pic with all of us as to what your final 2016 collection looks like? (Or is that just something I made up just now as a small <>)?? LOL!

    Anyway, here's to a wonderful 2017 adventure with Shawnee...keep up the excellent work!

    -- Jim

    1. Yes, it did remind me a lot of Nolde. And the bonus is it took only a hour for me to get there so we can keep going back and doing more of it. The place is huge. And yes, who would have thought Shawnee would not only still be here in 2017 but still be hiking? I sure didn't. Yes, I did mean to share my 2016 balloon collection and I added that picture in at the bottom. 20 collected in 2016. Thanks for the reminder!


    2. I think black squirrels are common around the Princeton area, from what I've been told. I saw an albino squirrel once in my area, but I'm guessing he didn't last long with all the hawks in the area.


  2. Happy New Year Daniela and Shawnee! Looks like another nice place to hike. I especially liked the pictures of the birds, the red-tailed hawk and the ducks. I'm always glad to see Shawnee! Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ

    1. Thanks, Joanne! Happy New Year to you!

  3. Love the Year of Hikes! Very poignant. Thanks for the blog all year and here's to many more in 2017.

    One quick question. What's the piece playing on the hike video? I ran it thru the Shazam app but it couldn't identify it. The music is a perfect match for the video, so peaceful.

    1. Thanks, Ken! The soundtrack credits are at the end of the video. I thought the title was fitting :)
      Music: "The Scent of Cedars"
      by Philipp Weigl
      is licensed under an Attribution License.

    2. Thanks! I guess I clicked off before the closing credits.

  4. Is it my imagination, or are there a lot more people into hiking than there were, say 10-15 years ago? I haven't been to all of these places you have, but I don't ever remember so many crowds this time of year (I actually started my hiking career in the winter and didn't hike in the summer until a few years later). My friend and I used to be the only ones on the trail most of the time. We used to hike the Water Gap area a lot.


    1. I am sure there are more. Used to be there were only hiking books to go by. Now will all of the information on the Internet it is much easier to find hikes in different places.