Butler Memorial Sanctuary (Mt. Kisco, NY)
Directions to trailhead
From I-684, take Exit 4 (Mount Kisco/Bedford) and turn east at the bottom of the ramp onto NY 172. In 0.3 mile, turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road. Continue along Chestnut Ridge Road for 1.2 miles, then turn right crossing over I-684. The road dead ends in the sanctuary parking lot..
Butler Memorial Sanctuary is a 363-acre tract located in Westchester County. It is adjacent to I-684, and the noise of the traffic can be heard for part of the hike. However, for the most part, the trails lead through quiet, secluded areas, with unusual geologic formations and numerous stone walls. For its entire length, this hike follows the red-blazed Butler Trail, which loops around the sanctuary, in the counter-clockwise direction.
From the northern end of the parking area, follow the red-blazed Butler Trail into the woods. Soon, the yellow-blazed Hawk Watch Loop lbegins on the left and the orange-triangle-blazed Fern Trail begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on the red-blazed Butler Trail. After passing through an evergreen forest, the blue-blazed Long Trail briefly joins, and a white-blazed trail goes off to the left. Again, continue to follow the red-blazed Butler Trail.
About 0.6 mile from the start, at the base of a descent, the blue-blazed Long Trail crosses. In another quarter mile, you'll pass the northern end of the Long Trail on the left, and then the northern end of the orange-triangle-blazed Fern Trail on the right. A short distance beyond, you'll notice a white triangle trail on the left. Turn left and follow this short trail, which leads to Sunset Ledge - a west-facing viewpoint. Now return to the Butler Trail and turn left to begin a steady descent. At the base of the descent, the trail turns left. Soon, you'll pass a large boulder on the right and enter a valley, with a boulder-strewn slope on the left and a stream on the right.
Soon, you'll reach a junction with the green-blazed Balancing Rock Trail, with begins on the left. Turn right and continue to follow the red-blazed Butler Trail, which parallels the stream, then turns right to cross it on rocks. It continues along the stream, which widens into a wetland, and climbs to a high point that overlooks the wetland below. The trail now bears left, recrosses the stream, and climbs slightly to reach a second junction with the green-blazed Balancing Rock Trail.
Turn right and continue along the red-blazed Butler Trail, which begins a steady climb. After leveling off at the crest of the rise, with a lake and waterfall visible below to the right, the trail descends, passing two stone foundations on the left. At the base of the descent, a white-blazed trail begins on the left. Continue to follow the Butler Trail, which climbs through sparse hemlocks to overlook an interesting wetland below on the left. It descends rather steeply, crosses the outlet of the wetland on rocks, then climbs gently on switchbacks. After descending slightly to cross the blue-blazed Long Trail and pass the end of a white-blazed trail on the left, the Butler Trail continues to climb.
Just beyond the highest point, the yellow-blazed Hawk Watch Trail joins from the left. Continue ahead on the joint Butler/Hawk Watch Trails, and in 75 feet you'll reach the Hawk Watch, with a wooden viewing platform and grandstand seating. The Hawk Watch offers a broad east-facing view and is a place to view migrating birds.
After taking in the view, continue along the joint Butler/Hawk Watch Trails, which head downhill, parallel to the fence along the cliffs above I-684, back to the parking area where the hike began.