Know the New Hiking How-tos
Vernay Lake/Hidden Valley Loop
Directions to trailhead
Take the Taconic State Parkway exit for Route 134 West (towards Ossining). Turn left onto Route 134 and continue for 0.3 mile, then turn right onto Spring Valley Road. Follow Spring Valley Road for 0.6 mile, and bear left at the fork. The parking area for Teatown Lake Reservation is on the right, just past the Nature Center building.
From the parking area, cross to the south side of Spring Valley Road, go through an opening in a stone wall, and immediately turn left. Bear right ahead, passing a kiosk on the left and a stone-lined pond on the right, and continue on the orange-blazed Three Lakes Loop, which descends towards Vernay Lake on a woods road. Near the base of the descent, the trail bears left, leaving the road, and makes the final descent to the lake on stone steps.
When you reach the lake, turn left and head north on a narrow footpath along the lakeshore. On the right, a concrete dock affords panoramic views of this pristine lake. At the end of the lake, turn left onto the white-blased Shortcut Trail, which climbs on a footpath. After crossing a grassy field, the trail goes through an opening in a stone wall and turns right onto Spring Valley Road.
The trail follows the road for 50 feet, then turns left and reenters the woods at the driveway of a private home (follow the sign “Connector to the Hidden Valley Trail”). It climbs to a stone wall at the crest of the rise and levels off. When the white-blazed trail ends at a T-intersection, turn right (uphill) onto the red-blazed Hidden Valley Loop, which passes a huge rock outcrop on the right and soon begins a gradual descent.
After descending a little more steeply, the trail crosses a footbridge over a stream and bears left onto a woods road, which climbs briefly, then descends steadily. At the base of the descent, the trail curves sharply to the left and emerges into the Hidden Valley. It crosses a boardwalk over a wet area and recrosses the stream on a wooden bridge below attractive cascades. The trail immediately turns right, briefly paralleling the stream. It then crosses a boardwalk over a wetland (with abundant skunk cabbage in season), turns sharply left, and follows a path between the wetland on the left and a rocky slope on the right.
Near the end of the wetland, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Overlook Loop, which begins on the right. You should continue ahead on the red-blazed Hidden Valley Loop, which bears left, crosses a footbridge over the stream, and climbs out of the valley.
At the top of the climb, the trail passes through a gap in an old stone wall. After winding through an evergreen grove and crossing another stone wall, it emerges onto an overgrown field, with signs on a post on the left. Turn right, following the sign to the “nature center,” and continue along the red-blazed trail, descending through the field. At the base of the descent, the trail crosses a wooden boardwalk and passes through a gap in a stone wall. A short distance beyond, the trail crosses the paved Blinn Road, then turns left to parallel it.
Just ahead, the red-blazed Hidden Valley Loop ends at a junction with the orange-blazed Three Lakes Loop. Continue ahead on the orange-blazed trail, paralleling Blinn Road. After passing the entrance to a dirt parking area, the trail climbs a little and soon emerges onto a gravel parking area, with a red barn on the right. Continue ahead to the end of the trail at a kiosk behind the Nature Center. The parking area where the hike began is on your right.