Northern Loop along Cross River in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Directions to trailhead
From I-684, take Exit 6 (Route 35) and turn east. 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), then proceed ahead for 0.3 mile and turn left into the Meadow Picnic Area.
From the kiosk at the northwest corner of the parking area, proceed north on a wide path, following the Fox Hill Trail, marked with “FH” blazes. After crossing a wet area on a boardwalk and a stream on a bridge, the trail continues between stone walls. When the “FH” blazes turn right, continue ahead and cross a bridge over the Cross River. Just beyond, you’ll reach junction 1, where you turn left onto the Brown Trail.
At junction 46, turn right and follow the Brown Trail uphill on a wide woods road. The trail levels off, then resumes its climb. When you reach the top of the climb at junction 45, bear right to continue along the Brown Trail, which now descends. After traversing a relatively level section, the trail climbs steadily.
Continue ahead at junction 44, where another road joins from the left. Just ahead, at junction 5 (marked by a cairn on a stump), turn left, leaving the Brown Trail, and follow the Deer Hollow Trail, marked with “DH” blazes. This trail follows along the hillside, with Deer Hollow below on the right.
In a quarter mile, the Deer Hollow Trail begins to descend, passing a trail register on the right (please sign) and a blue trail on the left that leads into the Lewisboro Town Park. At the base of the descent, it crosses an intermittent stream, then climbs again, passing a yellow trail on the left. From the crest of the rise, the trail descends steeply, then more gradually. It soon begins to parallel a stream on the right and passes the start of another blue trail on the left.
After passing a fenced-off horse farm, with Route 35 visible in the distance, the trail crosses the stream, goes through a gap in a stone wall, and passes a wetland on the left. At junction 40, a white-blazed trail comes in from the right, but you should continue ahead on the Deer Hollow Trail.
The trail now follows a relatively level route, with some minor ups and downs. It passes rock outcrops to the right, continues to parallel the wetland on the left, and goes through an area with thick barberry bushes. After paralleling a stone wall for some distance, it climbs a little, then makes a short, steep descent. You are now about a quarter mile from Route 124, which may be heard and seen through the trees.
Soon, the trail begins to climb, passing more rock outcrops on the right. When it reaches a point where the road ahead is badly eroded, the trail bears right and continues on a footpath. It turns sharply right, rejoins the road, and soon bends left to reach junction 8. Here, you should turn right onto a white-blazed trail and follow it for a third of a mile to junction 7.
Turn left at junction 7 onto the Brown Trail, which soon descends – first steeply, then more gradually. At junction 3, turn right, briefly rejoining the Deer Hollow Trail, but when the two trails diverge (at a sign for junction marker 42), bear left to stay on the Brown Trail, which descends to cross a wet area on a wide boardwalk.
For the next three-quarters of a mile, the Brown Trail follows a woods road along the Cross River, below on the left (to avoid several wet sections, it detours slightly to the right). This is a particularly scenic section, with the trail paralleling the cascading stream. Most of the way, the trail is elevated above the stream, but it dips down in places to approach the stream.
When you reach junction 2, turn left, cross the bridge over the river, then immediately turn right to proceed west on the Fox Hill Trail, which continues to parallel the stream. After passing high above the stream, below on the right, the trail goes by a playground and picnic area on the left. A short distance beyond, the Fox Hill Trail reaches another bridge over the river. Turn left (do not cross the bridge) and retrace your steps on the Fox Hill Trail back to the parking area.