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Butler Memorial Sanctuary (Mt. Kisco, NY)
This loop hike circles the sanctuary, passing interesting rock formations, old stone walls and wetlands.
Easy to Moderate
Allowed on leash
From I-684, take Exit 4 (Mount Kisco/Bedford) and turn east at the bottom of the ramp onto NY 172. In 0.3 mile, turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road. Continue along Chestnut Ridge Road for 1.2 miles, then turn right crossing over I-684. The road deadends in the sanctuary parking lot..
Butler Memorial Sanctuary is a 363-acre tract located in Westchester County. It is adjacent to I-684, and the noise of the traffic can be heard for part of the hike. However, for the most part, the trails lead through quiet, secluded areas, with unusual geologic formations and numerous stone walls.
From the parking area on the left side of the entrance road, take the Red Trail into the woods. You will be following this trail for the next mile. Soon, the Yellow Trail begins on the left and an orange-blazed trail leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the Red Trail. After passing through an evergreen forest, the Blue Trail briefly joins, and a white trail goes off to the left. Again, continue to follow the Red Trail.
About 0.6 mile from the start, at the base of a descent, the Blue Trail crosses. In another quarter mile, you'll pass the end of the Blue Trail to the left, and white and orange trails on the right. A short distance beyond, you'll notice a white triangle trail on the left. Turn left and follow this short trail, which leads to Sunset Ledge - a west-facing viewpoint.
Now return to the Red Trail and turn left. The Red Trail begins a steady descent. At the base of the descent, the Red Trail ends, and you continue on the Yellow Trail, which bears left. Soon, you'll pass a large boulder to the right and enter a valley, with a boulder-strewn slope on the left and a stream on the right.
About a quarter mile from the end of the Red Trail, an orange trail begins on the right. Turn right onto this trail, which parallels the stream, then turns right to cross it on rocks. It continues along the stream, which widens into a wetland, and climbs to a high point that overlooks the wetland below. The orange trail now bears left, recrosses the stream, and climbs slightly to end at the Yellow Trail.
Turn right and rejoin the Yellow Trail, which begins a steady climb. After leveling off at the crest of the rise, with a lake and waterfall visible below to the right, the trail descends, passing two stone foundations on the left. At the base of the descent, a white-blazed trail begins to the left.
Continue to follow the Yellow Trail, which climbs through sparse hemlocks to overlook an interesting wetland below to the left. It descends rather steeply, crosses the outlet of the wetland on rocks, then climbs gently on switchbacks. After descending slightly to cross the Blue Trail and pass the end of a white-blazed trail on the left, the Yellow Trail continues to climb.
Just beyond the highest point, the Yellow Trail turns left, but you should continue ahead another 75 feet to the Hawk Watch, with a wooden viewing platform and grandstand seating. The Hawk Watch offers a broad east-facing view, and is a favorite place to view migrating birds.
After taking in the view, return to the Yellow Trail and turn right. The Yellow Trail descends to a junction with a white-blazed trail at a wetland, then continues to descend to its terminus at the Red Trail. Turn right onto the Red Trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.