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Westchester County Sanctuary Ramble
Diverse habitats at the Hunt-Park and Mount Holly sanctuaries provide homes to a wide variety of wildlife. It is possible to have a quick hike at either sanctuary; yet a much longer hike is possible by utilizing a short walk along a country road.
Woods, Birding, Wildflowers
See Walkable Westchester 1st edition pages 145 and 165; second edition pages 118 and 165
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take I-684 to Exit 6 and turn east onto Route 35. At the stoplight at Route 22, turn left to head north for 0.8 mile. Turn right onto Todd Road and drive 0.6 mile to the parking area on the right near a white mailbox for 35 Todd Lane.
The hike begins at the Hunt-Parker Memorial Sanctuary, owned by the Bedford Audubon Society. From the parking area across the street from the Bedford Audubon Society's headquarters on Todd Road, head towards the stone barn and kiosk. Follow the the Baur Meadow Hill Trail (orange) on the mowed path along the edge of the meadow.
Heading uphill the trail enters the upland forest and ends, at 0.7 mile, at the Katonah Ridge Trail (blue). Turn left, descend and then ascend to the high point in the sanctuary without a view. The Katonah Ridge Trail passes junctions with white trails as well as short orange trails which lead to neighboring developments. The Katonah Ridge Trail passes the Swamp Maple Trail (yellow) to the left at 2.0 miles. If taken, the Swamp Maple Trail (yellow) goes through a wetland and adds 0.4 mile to the hike.
After passing the Swamp Maple Trail a second time, the Katonah Ridge Trail reaches the Valley Brook Trail (white) to the left at 2.1 miles. If you wish to have a shorter hike, turn right to continue on the Katonah Ridge Trail to reach the Bauer Meadow Hill Trail to return to the parking lot for a hike of 3.8 miles.
To visit Mt Holly Sanctuary (owned by The Nature Conservancy), take the Valley Brook Trail (white) which goes through the wetlands on puncheon. An extremely wide stone wall is to your right, evidence that the area was once farmed. At the entrance to Hunt-Parker Sanctuary on North Salem Road, turn left and walk 275 yards to the entrance to Mt. Holly Sanctuary just past the driveway for #143 on North Salem Road.
Turn right to go through a gate beside an ATT post and follow the ATT right-of-way, which parallels a driveway. At ATT post 266, turn left to parallel a flat top stone wall in view of a horse paddock to the right. Enter Mt Holly Sanctuary and turn left leaving the ATT right of way. The unmarked trail heads down hill and passes a rock outcropping to the left. Almost immediately it goes over a short causeway and shortly reaches the Pond Trail (yellow) at 2.7 miles.
Follow the Pond Trail to pass ponds and wetlands. The Pond Trail first ascends and then descends to end at the South Main Trail (blue) at 3.2 miles. Continue straight following the South Main Trail. When it reaches the North Main Trail (red), turn right. The red trail joins and leaves the blue trail twice. When it joins the blue trail for the third time at 4.3 miles, turn right on it. When the blue trail reaches the ATT right-of-way, turn left to follow it.
Just after passing ATT Post 271, the trail leaves the ATT right of way. Aside from occasional round black blazes on trees, the trail is unmarked. At the Pond Trail at 5.4 miles, turn left and begin to retrace your steps back to North Salem Road. After passing the rock outcropping, bear left at a Y junction. Just after leaving the sanctuary, the unmarked trail joins the ATT right of way down to North Salem Road.
Turn left, walk along the road, and turn right at the entrance to Hunt-Parker Sanctuary at 6.0 miles. Just after the Valley Brook Trail (white) crosses a stone bridge, it ends at the Katonah Ridge Trail (blue). Bear left and begin a gradual climb to the Baur Meadow Hill Trail (orange) At 7.0 miles, continue straight and head downhill. Just before the meadow, bear left onto the white trail and follow a stone wall. Turn right, leave the woods, and pass a house to return to the parking lot, having finished a 7.6 mile hike.