Mohegan Quarry Ramble at Sylvan Glen Park Preserve
Directions to trailhead
Take the Taconic State Parkway to Route 202 and turn west. At 1.8 miles at the traffic light at Lexington Avenue, turn right. Drive 0.6 mile to Morris Lane. Turn right and go into the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.
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 200 workers, and its high-quality stone was used to construct such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. 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 co-aligned white-blazed Turtle Pond and pink-blazed Taconic Bridge trails, which follow a woods road, passing a pond on the right. After passing a fenced-in dog park on the left, the trails bear right, then turn left as they head uphill.
At the top of the climb, they cross the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail, and almost immediately the pink-blazedTaconic Bridge Trail turns left. Continue on the Turtle Pond Trail, which descends to cross a gas pipeline and reenters the woods on a footpath.
The Turtle Pond Trail passes through white pines and crosses Sylvan Brook. Foundations and remnants of quarrying operations and interpretive signs are along the trail. The trail turns, passes the High Quarry Trail (blue) on the left and turns right. At 1.1 miles, the trail turns left, passes the end of the Sylvan Glen Trail (red), and ascends. It turns left again and passes the overgrown entrance to the High Quarry.
When the Turtle Pond Trail ends at the High Quarry Trail, turn right and head steeply uphill. At the top, pieces of abandoned quarry machinery and cables are scattered along the trail. The trail goes under a rock bridge, with more quarry equipment off to the left, including the base of the anvil of the blacksmith's shop. Cinders are the surface of the trail. It passes a water-filled quarry, heads uphill, and then passes a stone shed that housed explosives. At 1.7 miles, take the side trail to a view into the quarry pit and to the west. Observe caution and stay back from the edge.
Leave the view and follow the co-aligned High Quarry (blue) and Sylvan Glen (red) trails away from the quarry operations. When the trails split, go straight on the Sylvan GlenTrail (red), which crosses wet areas on puncheon, and goes up and over a knoll. It descends and after going through a stone wall, it heads slightly uphill. After going through several more stone walls, it passes a large pond to the right.
At the junction with the Old Farm Trail (green) at 2.5 miles, turn left. To the right, the trail leads to parking on Stony Street. The Old Farm Trail heads uphill and passes an orange blazed trail to Quarry Drive (no parking). After going through a stone wall, it turns right onto the Ring Trail (yellow), an old riding ring. In about 100 feet, turn right again to go through the stone wall a second time. The trail crosses a bridge over a large ditch dug in hopes of draining a wet area to the north. It passes the end of the white-blazed Seminary Ridge Trail that heads to Granite Knolls Sports Complex Park.
After following a woods road, the Old Farm Trail reaches the High Quarry Trail at 3.0 miles. Turn left and follow the High Quarry Trail back to the quarry area and take the Sylvan Glen Trail (red) behind the pile of discarded rocks.
The Sylvan Glen Trail heads left uphill along a narrow path and turns around the end of the knob of the hill. It descends gradually at first and then turns to descend steeply. At 3.8 miles, reach stone steps, built by the Jolly Rovers, a highly skilled group of Trail Conference volunteers who specialize in rock work. They spent 706 hours to build the 36 steps, moving 21 tons of stone in the process. A side trail at the bottom of the steps leads 200 feet to the 18-foot circumference Quarry Oak.
The Sylvan Glen Trail turns right, passes a large pile of discarded rocks, and enters the quarry. Large stones in the quarry floor are another place to have lunch or snack. The trail leaves the quarry and ends at the Turtle Pond Trail. These trails were built in 2010 by Trail Conference volunteers. Go straight to follow the Turtle Pond Trail back to the parking lot for a 4.9-mile hike.
For a 3.1-mile hike, skip the loop after the visit to the view of the High Quarry.