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Mountain Lakes Park (North Salem, N.Y.)
This hike loops around the park on woods roads and trails and reaches a panoramic viewpoint.
Allowed on leash
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
From the George Washington Bridge, proceed north on the Henry Hudson Parkway, which becomes the Saw Mill River Parkway. Continue to the end of the Parkway (Exit 43), take Exit 6 of I-684, and turn right onto N.Y. Route 35. In 3.6 miles, N.Y. Route 121 joins from the right. Continue ahead on Routes 35/121 for another 0.7 mile. When the roads diverge (4.4 miles from Exit 6), turn left onto Route 121 North and continue for 4.5 miles to Hawley Road. Turn right onto Hawley Road and turn left in 1.1 miles. In another 0.3 mile, turn left again at the park entrance and proceed ahead to the park entrance.
From the park office, proceed ahead on the paved road, passing a gate. As you head uphill, you’ll notice that the road, the route of the Orange Trail, is marked with orange blazes. You’ll pass the entrance to Camp Morty on the left and, as you approach the top of the hill, come to a gravel parking area on the right. Turn right into the parking area and bear right, past a locked gate, onto a woods road with white blazes.
Follow the woods road, the route of the White Trail, which climbs gradually and reaches a turnaround at the crest of the rise. Bear right here, leaving the White Trail, and continue to a viewpoint by a cedar tree. A bench has been placed here, and you’ll want to take a break to take in the panoramic south-facing view over Lakes Waccabuc (to the right) and Oscaleta (to the left).
When you’re ready to continue, go back to the White Trail and continue ahead. The trail now follows a footpath through a ravine and bears left to climb stone steps below a large rock outcrop. After bearing right and continuing to climb, the trail reaches a seasonal viewpoint over Lakes Rippowam and Oscaleta from a rock ledge. From the viewpoint, the trail bears left and continues to climb.
When you reach the crest of the rise (910 feet), you’ll have climbed about 300 vertical feet from the park office. The trail now levels off and soon joins a woods road that runs along the park boundary, with private property on the right. The road descends gradually until it curves to the left and ends at another woods road, the route of the Orange Trail.
Turn right and follow the Orange Trail, which begins a steady, gentle climb. After curving to the right, the trail passes a trail on the left that leads to the Larch Lean-to, as well as an interesting rock outcrop. The trail now curves to the left and descends slightly to reach a junction. Bear right at the fork and continue on the Blue Trail, soon passing the start of the Green Trail on the right.
A short distance ahead, the woods road followed by the Blue Trail curves sharply to the right. Just beyond, as the road curves to the left, the Blue Trail (joined by the Yellow Trail) turns left and enters the woods on a footpath, but you should continue ahead on the road, now following the Yellow Trail.
With a house visible ahead, follow the Yellow Trail as it turns left and reenters the woods on a footpath. The trail descends to cross a stream and climbs to join a woods road. After crossing a cleared area for a buried utility line, look carefully for a cairn on the left that marks the junction with the Old Sib Trail (black “OS” on white).
Turn left onto the Old Sib Trail and follow it across rolling terrain. In 0.4 mile, you’ll reach another junction with the Yellow Trail. Turn right, follow the Yellow Trail for 50 feet, then turn left to continue on the Old Sib Trail. The trail now traverses an interesting area with a multitude of stone walls. The trail crosses a number of these With a trailer visible ahead, the trail crosses the last stone wall and bears left. After passing through a grove of cedars and recrossing the buried utility line, the trail begins a steady descent. Just before reaching a stream, the Old Sib Trail turns right, climbs a little, then descends to end at a woods road (the route of the Orange Trail).
Turn right onto the woods road, soon crossing a stone causeway that carries the road over a stream. Just beyond, the road recrosses the buried utility line. After passing a campsite (with a picnic table) on the left, the road curves to the left and begins a steady descent. Here, the North Salem Trail (black “NS” on white) begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on the road, following the orange blazes.
Just before reaching a stone causeway that carries the road over Pine Lake, follow the Orange Trail as it turns left onto another woods road and begins to run parallel to the eastern shore of the lake, passing the three Big Pine Lean-tos on the right. The road soon bears left and begins to climb rather steeply.
At the crest of the rise, follow the Orange Trail as it turns right, leaving the road. The trail passes several yurts to the left and parallels the inlet of Pine Lake, below on the right. It steeply descends a rock ledge and soon bears left and passes Laurel Lake on the right.
At the end of the lake, the trail turns sharply left, parallels a stream, then turns right and crosses the stream on a wooden bridge. It climbs a hill to end at the park office, where the hike began.