Teatown Lake/Northwest Trail/Hidden Valley Loop

Overview

This loop hike follows a boardwalk across Teatown Lake and passes through attractive forested areas and along interesting wetlands.

Details
Time:
3 hours
Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Length:
4.5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Westchester
State:
NY
Publication
First Published:
10/06/2006

Updated/Verified:
03/31/2012
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Teatown Lake

Parking


View Teatown Lake Reservation in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.211169,-73.827353
Driving Directions

Take the New York State Thruway across the Tappan Zee Bridge and get off 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.

Description

After stopping at the Nature Center to view the exhibits and pick up a map. Walk down towards the lake and enter the gate to Wildflower Woods, an area enclosed to exclude deer.

Just before reaching a locked gate that leads to Wildflower Island (open only for guided tours), the Lakeside Trail bears left and soon crosses a curved boardwalk that overlooks the lake. The trail continues on a footpath parallel to the lake shore, first crossing over many exposed tree roots, then traversing several small rock outcrops.

As you reach the western end of the lake, the trail approaches a paved road. The road runs directly along the shore of lake in this area, and to provide a more pleasant route for hikers, a floating boardwalk has been constructed along the southwestern shore of the lake. The boardwalk offers pleasant views over the lake, and several benches are provided for those who wish to pause and contemplate the surroundings.

At the end of the boardwalk, you’ll reach a T-intersection. Turn right, still following the blue-blazed Lakeside Trail. A short distance beyond, you’ll come to a Y-intersection by a stone wall. Here, you should take the left fork and continue on the yellow-blazed Northwest Trail, which parallels a stone wall on the right. Soon, the trail crosses a bridge over a stream and then turns left to parallel it.

After turning right, away from the stream, and passing some interesting rock formations, the trail emerges onto a clearing for power lines. It crosses under the power lines and bears left on a grassy road (the power line service road) which parallels the lines. After recrossing under the power lines, you’ll notice a tower to the right. A short detour to the base of the tower provides a broad north-facing view. Unfortunately, the view is marred by the power lines, but this is the only viewpoint on the hike.

Continue along the power line service road, which now descends very steeply. At the base of the descent, the Northwest Trail reaches a four-way intersection, where it turns right and crosses under the power lines for the third and final time. The trail now continues to descend gradually on a woods road, passing through an attractive grove of deciduous trees, with an understory of mountain laurel and hemlock.

Near the base of the descent, the white-blazed Cliffdale-Teatown Trail joins from the right. You should continue ahead, now following the joint yellow and white trails, which level off and cross a boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk, you’ll come to a T-intersection. Here, the Cliffdale-Teatown Trail leaves to the left, but you should turn right, continuing to follow the yellow-blazed Northwest Trail.

The trail now approaches Griffin Swamp. It crosses a wooden bridge over the swamp and turns right, following a footpath between the swamp on the right and a rocky slope on the left. After passing a stone wall - made up of unusually large, rough stones – to the right, the Northwest Trail reaches a T-intersection and turns right to cross the other end of Griffin Swamp on a wooden bridge.

Soon, the Northwest Trail begins to parallel a stream on the left. The trail turns left, crosses a bridge over the stream, then immediately turns right on a woods road. It continues to parallel the stream, which is now to the right, and passes several cascades.

A short distance ahead, the Northwest Trail ends at a junction with the Lakeside Trail, adjacent to the dam of Teatown Lake. Turn left, and almost immediately, you’ll reach another junction. Here, the blue-blazed Lakeside Trail turns right, but you should continue ahead, now following the orange-blazed Hilltop Trail. As its name indicates, the Hilltop Trail climbs over a hill and descends gently through the woods.

When the descent briefly steepens, keep a careful watch for a trail that comes in from the left. This junction with a connector trail to the Hidden Valley Trail is marked by a sign, but the sign is facing in the opposite direction. Turn left here and follow the connector trail, which is occasionally marked with orange blazes, as it descends on a switchback. It soon ends at a T-intersection with the red-blazed Hidden Valley Trail.

Turn left onto the Hidden Valley Trail, which descends to cross the paved Blinn Road and reenters the woods. The trail soon reaches a fork, where you should bear right. After crossing a boardwalk over a wet area, you’ll reach a four-way junction in the middle of an overgrown field. This is the start of a loop, and you should turn right to follow the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.

At the next T-intersection, turn right onto a woods road. Be alert for a sharp left turn, where the Hidden Valley Trail leaves the road. Follow the red-blazed trail as it turns left and begins to climb. After passing some interesting rock outcrops, the trail descends through mountain laurel thickets, levels off, and passes a wetland to the left.Boardwalk in Hidden Valley. Photo by Jane Daniels.

Soon, the trail bears left and resumes its descent, first gradually, and then more steeply. At the base of the steep descent, the trail begins to parallel a stream. You’re now in the Hidden Valley, after which the trail is named.

The trail crosses a wetland on a boardwalk, then turns sharply left and follows an old woods road 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, following the red-blazed Hidden Valley Trail, which bears left, crosses a bridge over a 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, it emerges onto an overgrown field and soon reaches the four-way intersection where you began the loop. Turn right, following the sign to the “Nature Center,” and follow the red-blazed trail across Blinn Road. Continue on the red-blazed trail, which passes a dirt parking area and climbs to reach the sugar hut, used for maple sugaring in the spring. Teatown cares for raptors who have been injured and unable live in the wild. Their cages are to the left. The trail ends at a kiosk behind the Nature Center, with the parking area to your right.