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Vernay Lake/Hidden Valley Loop
This loop hike runs along the shore of Vernay Lake and descends into the fascinating Hidden Valley.
Easy to Moderate
Allowed on leash
Views, Woods, Birding, Wildflowers
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take the New York State Thruway across the Tappan Zee Bridge and get off at Exit 8A, following signs to the Saw Mill River Parkway North. Continue on the Saw Mill River Parkway for about four miles, and take Exit 26 (Taconic State Parkway North - towards Albany). Follow the Taconic State Parkway for about seven miles, and take the exit for Route 134 West (towards Ossining). Turn left onto Route 134 and continue for 0.3 mile, then turn right onto Spring Valley Road. Follow Spring Valley Road for 0.6 mile, and bear left at the fork. The parking area for Teatown Lake Reservation is on the right, just past the Nature Center building.
After stopping at the Nature Center to view the exhibits and pick up a map, cross Spring Valley Road, go through an opening in a stone wall, and pass a kiosk to the left and a stone-lined pond to the right.Continue ahead on the orange-blazed Croft Trail, which descends towards Vernay Lake on a grassy woods road. Near the base of the descent, the trail bears left, leaving the road, and makes the final descent to the lake on stone steps. Just ahead is a concrete dock that affords panoramic views of this pristine lake.
The red-blazed Back 40 Trail begins to the right, but you should turn left to continue on the orange-blazed trail, which follows a narrow footpath along the lakeshore. At the end of the lake, the trail turns left and begins to climb on a footpath recently built by volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. After crossing a grassy field, the Croft Trail ends at a gate in a stone wall along Spring Valley Road.
Turn right and follow the road for 50 feet, then turn left onto a black-blazed connector trail, which climbs to a stone wall at the crest of the rise and then descends. Near the base of the descent, you’ll reach a T-intersection. The black-blazed trail ends here, and you should turn right (uphill) onto the red-blazed Hidden Valley Trail. After passing some interesting rock outcrops, the trail descends through mountain laurel thickets, levels off, and passes a vernal pond to the left.
Soon, the trail bears left and descends into Hidden Valley, first gradually, and then more steeply. At the base of the steep descent, the trail begins to parallel a stream.
The trail crosses a boardwalk over a wetland (with abundant skunk cabbage), then turns sharply left and follows a path between the wetland on the left and a rocky slope on the right. Soon, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Overlook Trail, which leaves to the right. You should continue ahead on the red-blazed Hidden Valley Trail, which bears left, crosses a footbridge over the stream, and begins to climb out of the valley.
At the top of the climb, the trail passes through a gap. in an old stone wall. After winding through the woods and passing the trailhead of the Pine Grove Trail on the left, it emerges onto an overgrown field and soon reaches a four-way intersection, with signs on a post on the left. Turn right, following the sign to the “nature center,” and follow the red-blazed trail across a wooden boardwalk and through a gap in a stone wall. Continue along the red-blazed trail as it crosses Blinn Road, then turns left to parallel it. After passing the entrance to a dirt parking area, the trail climbs a little and soon emerges on a gravel parking area, with a red barn to the right. Continue ahead to the end of the trail at a kiosk behind the Nature Center. The parking area is to your right