Sylvan Glen Park Preserve Shorter Loop
Directions to trailhead
From the Taconic State Parkway, take the exit for US 202/NY 35 (Yorktown Heights) and turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto US 202/NY 35 (Crompond Road). Continue for 1.8 miles and turn right at a traffic light onto Lexington Avenue. In 0.5 mile, turn right onto Morris Lane and follow it for 0.2 mile into the parking area for Sylvan Glen Park Preserve.
Sylvan Glen Park Preserve is the site of a granite quarry that opened in 1895 and was abandoned in the fall of 1941, just before the advent of World War II. In its heyday, it employed hundreds of workers, and its high-quality stone was used to construct such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan and the approaches to the George Washington Bridge. Operations at the quarry were terminated rather abruptly, with the result that much of the machinery was left behind and still may be seen today. The trails in this 408-acre park are blazed with colored plastic markers of the Town of Yorktown.
From the kiosk at the end of the parking area, proceed ahead on the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which follows a woods road, passing Turtle Pond on the right. After passing a fenced-in dog park on the left, the trail bears right, then turns left and heads uphill.
At the top of the climb, three yellow blazes on a tree to the left mark the start of the Snake Hill Trail. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the white trail. Just ahead, the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail begins on the left. Proceed ahead on the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which descends to cross a gas pipeline.
On the other side of the pipeline clearing, the trail reenters the woods and descends, passing through a pine grove and crossing Sylvan Brook on a wooden bridge. The trail begins to climb, passing a stone foundation on the right. After crossing another footbridge, the trail levels off, passes the foundations of former buildings on the right, then resumes a gradual climb. As the trail once again levels off, you’ll notice numerous fragments of carved granite blocks on both sides of the trail. Interpretive signs relate the history of the Mohegan Granite Company, which installed modernized machinery in this area in 1925.
Just ahead, around a bend, you’ll notice a driving range down to the right. Here, you should bear left, following the woods road uphill. In a short distance, you’ll reach a junction where the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail begins. The High Quarry Trail proceeds ahead on the woods road, but you should turn right onto a footpath, continuing to follow the white blazes. You’ll notice a rusted rail - a remnant of the narrow-gauge railroad that once served the quarry - embedded in the trail.
The trail passes a water-filled quarry pit on the left and widens to a woods road. A short distance ahead, you’ll come to another intersection where the red-blazed Sylvan Glen Trail begins. Bear left and continue to follow the white blazes along the woods road, which climbs gradually, curving sharply to the left.
After passing a huge heap of discarded blocks of granite (note the drill marks in many of the rocks), the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail ends at a T-intersection with the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail. Turn right and follow the blue trail steeply uphill, soon reaching the edge of a deep quarry pit. Abandoned in 1941, the once-barren pit is now filled with trees and other vegetation. Remnants of the quarry operation are abundant here, including several cables bolted into the rock. Take some time to explore these interesting artifacts, but be careful, as there is a steep drop from the edge of the quarry pit!
The trail passes under a rock bridge and bears left, leaving the rim of the quarry and descending slightly. Soon, it turns sharply right and passes another quarry pit (filled with water) and a small stone shed (once used to store explosives) on the left. The trail goes through a gap in a stone wall and turns right to parallel it.
A short distance beyond, an unmarked path to the right leads to a viewpoint from an open rock ledge. From here, you can look down into the quarry, and you can also see the hills to the west. Again, use extreme caution here, as there is a very steep drop.
Just ahead, you’ll reach another junction where the red-blazed Sylvan Glen Trail comes in from the right. You should turn left here, following the co-aligned blue and red trails. The trails head uphill and, as they level off, they split. Bear left to stay on the blue trail, which continues along a level woods road.
Immediately after passing through a gap in a stone wall, you’ll come to a fork. Here, the green-blazed Old Farm Trail begins on the right, while the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail bears left. You should bear left to continue on the blue trail, which begins to descend on a footpath. After passing through a gap in a high stone wall, it reaches the wide gas pipeline clearing. Cross the pipeline and reenter the woods, continuing to follow the blue trail, which descends on switchbacks. At the base of the descent, the trail turns left to parallel a stream. Soon, it turns right, crosses the stream on large rocks below a small cascade, then turns left and continues to parallel the stream on the other side.
As the trail bears right, away from the stream, it reaches a junction with the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail. The blue-blazed High Quarry Trail turns left and joins the yellow trail, but you should bear right and follow the yellow blazes uphill on switchbacks. As you approach the top of the hill, you’ll notice a triple-green blaze on the right. This short green-blazed trail makes a 300-foot loop around a huge pile of discarded granite blocks, and it is a worthwhile detour.
After following this loop, return to the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail and turn right. The yellow trail continues to the top of the hill and descends slightly to end at a junction with the red-blazed Grant Lookout Trail. Turn right onto the red trail, which descends on a footpath, with some views through the trees to the right when there are no leaves on the trees (despite its name, there is no “lookout” on this trail).
In a short distance, you’ll come to another quarry pit on the left, with many abandoned cut stone blocks. The red trail continues along a woods road (built to access the quarry) and ends at a T-intersection with the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail. Turn right and follow the yellow trail downhill to its end at the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail, then turn right onto the white trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.