Dover Stone Church Preserve


Dover Stone Church (photo copyrighted, Justin P. Goodhart)


View Dover Stone Church in a larger map

Park Overview:

Main feature: a short, moderate walk leads to a scenic brook and a dramatic natural cavern—the "Dover Stone Church" —through which water flows out and sunlight filters in.  

Trail Uses:Hiking
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:3.75 miles
Park Acreage:120 acres
Dover Plains/Dutchess/NY
Web Map:Dover Stone Church Preserve Trail Map
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

This is a small-town preserve, which began in 2004 by offering a single short hike (about 1.2 miles round-trip from parking area). The scenic brook and cavern at the end of the trail make the Dover Stone Church — an extraordinary cave-like natural formation — a worthwhile destination.  Inside the cavern is a 30-foot waterfall cascading into pool of water that flows through and then out of the cavern entrance.

By 2015 additional parkland was acquired; three new trails were blazed and opened to the public.

The Dover Stone Church Visitor’s Guide provides a history and description of the site, including a map showing designated parking areas and the access path to the trailhead.


Trails Overview:

Use the Web Map link to view the network of trails.  Access to the preserve is by foot along Stone Church Lane, a graveled private drive (0.4 mile, one way).  The trailheads are at the top of the small rise at the end of the drive. 

  • The original Stone Church Cave Trail (0.2 mile from trailhead, pink blaze), while generally easy, follows close alongside the Stone Church Brook and the rocks are often wet and slippery. High water may cover stepping-stones during rainy periods.
    • From the trailhead, the path immediately descends on granite steps into a flat, man- made valley. Young maple trees that give a sense of formality to the start of the hike line the way here. At the end of this flat walk, another shorter set of steps takes the path into woods and near the brook. You emerge briefly into an open area, where a way is mowed in both directions. Turn left. You will see another welcome sign for the preserve. Follow the path across a wooden bridge, then along the streambed — the path often follows rocks or flat stones. It rises gently and you are soon at the gothic-like entrance to the Stone Church cavern.
    • To return, simply retrace your steps
  • New trails include two providing “lollipop” hikes: Red Trail (1.0 mile, loop from trailhead); Yellow Trail (1.0 mile, loop from trailhead).  Plus a Blue Trail (1.5 mile, out-and-back from trailhead).  The Web Link map briefly describes level of difficulty for each.



Take NYS Route 22 to Dover Plains. Immediately south of the traffic light at Mill Street, look for blue-and-gold historic sign on west side of road for Dover Stone Church. The drive is private, but open for pedestrians; do not take cars up it. According to the Visitor’s Guide (link above) parking is permitted at the elementary school across the street when school is not in session; the Tabor Wing House at 3128 Route 22; and at Four Brothers Restaurant, all within walking distance.

  • Metro-North’s Dover Plains station stop is an easy quarter-mile walk.  From the station proceed north to Mill Street, turn left.  At Route 22, turn left then in a short distance turn right to Stone Church Lane and continue to the trailhead.  Zoom in on Location Tab.
Contact Information:Town of Dover
Region:Dutchess County

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Gorgeous spot

I have visited this place numerous times. It is one of the most scenic spots around. The new trails are alright, but the money spot is the "Stone Church." I visited today hoping to get there before the rains fell and was rewarded with amazing beauty.  If you would like to see images of this short easy hike with a big payoff, visit: