Cranberry Lake Preserve Loop


Remenants of quarry operations, old stone walls,a small cascade, and scenic Cranberry Lake are features on this hike at Cranberry Lake Preserve. 

2 hours
3 miles
Route Type:
No Dogs
Waterfall, Historic feature, Woods, Birding, Wildflowers
Web Map:


Cranberry Lake Preserve map (available at Nature Center)

Buy Book:
First Published:

Daniel Chazin


Cranberry Lake stone wall and "Stone Chamber." Photo by Daniel Chazin.


View Cranberry Lake Preserve in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
Driving Directions

From the Bronx River Parkway at the Kensico Dam, take Route 22 North  Once past the dam, turn right at a traffic light onto Old Orchard Street. In about 100 feet, turn right into the Cranberry Lake Preserve, and continue ahead for 0.3 mile to the Nature Center, where parking is available. (If the entrance gate is closed, park outside the gate and walk along the road.)


Although Cranberry Lake Preserve is surrounded on several sides by Boardwalk along Yellow and Blue Trails. Photo by Daniel Chazin.watershed lands. It is a quiet oasis in the midst of suburban Westchester County and offers a pleasant walk around a tranquil lake. Trail junctions in the preserve are marked by numbered wooden signs, and the numbers are shown on the trail map of the preserve and referenced in this description.

After obtaining a map at the Nature Center, proceed south on a wide yellow-blazed path. At a blue sign to the "Lake" (junction #4), turn left and follow an orange-blazed trail downhill to the shore of Cranberry Lake, then turn right (at junction #26) onto a trail with blue and yellow blazes. After briefly following the lake shore, the trail climbs to ledges that overlook the lake and parallels it. At the end of the lake, it descends, crosses a boardwalk and arrives at junction #6.

Turn left onto a wide path and briefly follow blue, purple, and red blazes; then turn left at the next junction (#7) onto an orange-blazed trail which, immediately crosses the Bent Bridge over a bog. The trail goes through an attractive evergreen grove, runs along old stone walls, and passes the "stone chamber" – probably an old root cellar. At the end of the orange trail (junction #16), turn right onto a wide path and follow it Bent Bridge. Photo by Daniel a Y-intersection, with a sign for the New York City Watershed on a tree (junction #18).

Bear left here, now following the Red Loop Trail. This trail, which circles the park, will be your route for most of the remainder of the hike. To the right, marking the boundary between the park and New York City Watershed lands, is an expertly-laid dry stone wall, built nearly a century ago and still in nearly perfect condition today (except where damaged by fallen trees). Soon, the trail bears left and heads south, continuing to follow the wall.

At the southern end of the park, with private homes visible ahead, the red trail turns left and begins to head east. Be alert for a sharp right turn and head downhill toward Hush Pond, continuing to follow the red trail. Cross the outlet of the pond on puncheons, bear left (north), and soon begin to parallel a wetland on the left. In a short distance, you’ll join a level dirt road, with cliffs on the right.

Soon, the cliffs are supplanted by a concrete wall. This wall is a remnant of a facility built about 1912 to Concrete wall along Red Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.crush stone that was quarried just to the east of the trail and used for the construction of the Kensico Reservoir. Just beyond a crumbling section of the wall, you’ll reach junction #13, where a blue-blazed trail leads left to a wooden observation platform, which affords a view over South Pond. This is a good place to take a break and enjoy the tranquil setting.

When you’re ready to continue, return to the main trail and turn left (north), now following both blue and red blazes. Soon, you’ll reach a small cascade, with a bench for those who wish to contemplate this beautiful spot. Turn right here (junction #15), leaving the wide road, and cross the stream on a wooden footbridge, continuing to follow blue and red blazes. At the next fork, bear right and proceed along the Red Loop Trail through a mountain laurel thicket. After a short climb, you’ll reach junction #20, where the Purple (History) Loop, marked with purple-on-white blazes, joins from the right.

Cranberry Lake. Photo by Daniel Chazin.The trail now descends rather steeply. At the base of the descent (junction #21), the blue trail joins from the left, and the trails cross a boardwalk. Just beyond, at junction #22, the trails again split. Bear right, continuing to follow the red and purple-on-white trails, and cross another boardwalk. Cranberry Lake is visible through the trees on the left. Bear right at junction #23, continuing to follow the red and purple-on-white blazes.

After curving to the left, the trail reaches a T-intersection (junction #34), with cliffs ahead. Here, the red and purple-on white trails turn right, but you should turn left, now following yellow blazes. At the next junction (#33), bear left, continuing to follow the yellow blazes, and descend to the lake. At junction #24, turn right and follow yellow and blue blazes, with the trail paralleling Cranberry Lake. After passing a viewpoint over the lake, you’ll reach junction #26. Turn right onto the orange trail, follow it back up to the yellow trail at junction #4, and turn right on the yellow trail to return to the Nature Center where the hike began.

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Cranberry Lake Confusion

My husband and i did this little hike on 3/11/16, near the end of a winter that was oddly warm and had very little precipitation of any kind. It was extremely hard to find the Preserve coming from the north (we wish your "find-a-hike" section included directions for people coming from north of Rockland or Putnam counties). Then when we got there, we found the blazes on the trails to be few and far between -- and confusing. (The "purple" blazes consist of a faint, washed-out pink on a white square, for example.) To make matters worse, the maps at the Nature Center are black-and-white and it's hard to read the legend for the blazes. Worst of all, when you can figure out the preserve's map, it doesn't match the NYNJTC map! We're glad we stopped at the nature center, though, because they told us that two of the bridges mentioned in your directions are washed out. Also, it was very muddy and even a bit buggy, despite this being early March! All in all, we were a bit disappointed.

were any  of these issues

were any  of these issues taken care of .... Or are the trails good to go?

Virtual Tour of Cranberry Lake Preserve!

Great Description of a wonderful hike! Check out's description of this beautiful preserve! Packed with photos!

Nice Late Afternoon Walk

I am always looking for nearby walks that I can do in a couple of hours.  This one fit the bill nicely.  Lots of nice variety in the trails.  I do have to say that someone seems to have gone a little blaze crazy.  In such a small park, there was trails marked yellow, orange, red, blue, turquoise, pink, green.  But if you follow the turns as indicated in the description you should be okay.  It was a warm afternoon and the trail passed through bogs and wet lands but it wasn't as buggy as I thought it might be.  Maybe all the frogs ate the bugs.