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Loop Hike to Fire Tower Site and Indian Rock Shelter from Michigan Road Parking Area
This loop hike climbs to the highest point of this Westchester County park and passes an interesting rock shelter.
Allowed on leash
Views, Historic feature
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. Take Exit 4 and continue on the Cross County Parkway, then bear left to follow the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway. In eight miles, bear left and continue on I-684. Take Exit 6 (Katonah/Cross River), which briefly joins the Saw Mill River Parkway, then exits to Route 35. Turn right and follow Route 35 east for 3.7 miles, then turn right onto Route 121 south. After crossing a bridge, immediately turn left into Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Continue for 0.7 mile to the tollbooth (there is a parking fee on weekends, daily in summer). Make the next right onto Michigan Road and continue for 0.7 mile to a parking area on the right, just before a circle at the end of the road.
Walk back to a junction where a "parking" sign points to the right. Turn right into a dirt parking area, follow it to its end, then continue along a wide path, passing a cedar tree on the right. At the end of the path, steeply descend the hillside. At the base of the descent, bear right and follow the FH blazes of the Fox Hill Trail (in the direction indicated by the sign "To Junction Marker 9"). The trail climbs, passing through gaps in several stone walls. Just below the high point, it bears left and begins to descend. As it parallels a stone wall at the edge of a field, there are north-facing views through the trees.
At the base of the descent, the trail passes an interesting shelter, built of branches and covered with bark, and reaches junction #9. Here, the Fox Hill Trail ends. Turn right onto the Orange Trail, which follows a woods road gently uphill. In half a mile, you'll cross a footbridge and reach junction #10. A white-blazed trail begins here, but you should turn left to continue on the Orange Trail.
Just ahead, at junction #51, bear left at the fork to continue on the Orange Trail, which crosses a stream on a footbridge and climbs to the stone ruins of a former shelter. After passing Shelter #29 (to the right), you'll reach junction #13. Here, you should bear right onto the white-blazed Fire Tower Trail, then immediately bear left to continue on this trail (do not follow the trail to "Junction Marker 12").
The Fire Tower Trail climbs along a woods road. At junction #52, bear right, following the sign "To Junction Marker 15." The trail continues to ascend, passing interesting rock formations and mountain laurel thickets.
At junction #15, the white-blazed trail ends. Continue ahead, now following the blue-blazed Laurel Trail (do not turn left at this junction). Soon, you'll reach the highest point in the park (860 feet), the site of a former fire tower, now marked by a bench and a water pump.
Just beyond, look carefully on the right for junction #16. Turn right here and descend on a white-blazed footpath, which goes down steeply over rocks and passes through a tunnel of mountain laurel. At the base of the descent, you'll cross a stream on rocks and climb slightly to reach junction #49.
Turn right at the junction and head west and then north. At junction #18, continue ahead, and you'll pass, to the right, a natural rock shelter, used by Native Americans. After crossing two footbridges and passing cliffs to the left, you'll reach junction #19. Here, the white-blazed trail ends, and you turn left onto the Yellow/Red Trail - a wide woods road.
After passing junction #20 and Shelter #6 to the right, you'll reach junction #33, where the Red Trail departs to the left. Continue ahead, now following only yellow blazes. When you reach junction #24 in about a mile, continue straight ahead, then bear right at junction #70 and reach the parking area where the hike began.