Sylvan Glen Park Preserve is the site of a granite quarry that opened in 1890 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. Operations at the quarry were terminated rather abruptly, with the result...
Sylvan Glen Park Preserve is the site of a granite quarry that opened in 1890 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. 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 350-acre park are blazed with colored markers of the Town of Yorktown.
From the parking lot, proceed ahead on the co-aligned white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail and pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail, which follow a wide woods road. You'll pass a kiosk, a large interpretive sign with a schematic map, and Turtle Pond on the right. After passing a fenced-in dog park on the left, the trails bear right, then turn left and head uphill.
At the top of the climb, the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail crosses. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the white/pink trail. Just ahead, the pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail leaves to the left. You should bear right to continue on the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which descends on a footpath to cross a gas pipeline.
On the other side of the pipeline, the trail reenters the woods and continues to descend. After passing the southern end of the yellow-blazed Snake Hill Trail on the right, the white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail passes through a pine grove and crosses 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, there are numerous fragments of carved granite blocks on both sides of the trail.
Just ahead, you’ll reach a bend in the trail where an interpretive sign explains how the quarried stone was processed. Here, you’ll notice a driving range down to the right. 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 and goes steeply uphill. Turn right onto a footpath, continuing to follow the white blazes.
The trail descends a little and widens to a woods road. At the base of the descent, the trail reaches a junction where the red-blazed Sylvan Glen Trail begins on the right. Bear left to continue along the white blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which climbs gradually along the woods road, curving 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. Here, on the left, an interpretive sign explains how blocks of stone were lowered on an incline railway. Turn sharply right and follow the blue trail steeply uphill, soon reaching the edge of the main quarry.
Abandoned in 1941, this deep pit is now filled with trees and other vegetation. Remnants of the quarrying operation surround the quarry pit, including cables bolted into the rock and a capstan. Take some time to explore these remnants, but be careful, as there is a steep drop from the edge of the quarry pit! In leaf-off season, additional remnants of the quarry operation are visible below. Just ahead, an interpretive sign explains how a derrick was used to hoist large blocks of granite from the quarry.
The trail goes under a rock bridge and bears left, leaving the rim of the quarry. It passes an interpretive sign which explains how the stone was split. After descending slightly, the trail turns sharply right and passes on the left another pit (usually filled with water), once used as a source of water for the quarry. It then passes on the left an interpretive sign on geology and quarrying, as well as a stone shed which was used to store explosives. Just beyond, the trail goes through a gap in a stone wall and turns right to parallel it.
A short distance beyond, an unmarked path on the right leads to a viewpoint from an open rock ledge, with views into the quarry and over the hills to the west. Here, an interpretive sign gives the history of the quarry. Again, use extreme caution, as there is a very steep drop into the quarry.
After leaving the viewpoint, turn right to reach a junction where the red-blazed Sylvan Glen Trail comes in from the right, joining the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail. Bear left here, following the coaligned blue and red trails. The trails head uphill and level off. After descending slightly, 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, the green-blazed Old Farm Trail crosses. Continue on the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail, which passes through a gap in a high stone wall and descends to cross the gas pipeline. After reentering the woods, the High Quarry Trail ends at a junction with the pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail. Turn left onto the Taconic Bridge Trail, which descends on switchbacks. At the base of the descent, the trail turns left to parallel a stream. Soon, it turns right to cross 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 pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail turns left to join 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 marks the start of a short trail that makes a 300-foot loop around a huge pile of discarded granite blocks, 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 views through the trees in leaf-off season (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 a junction with the coaligned white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail and pink-blazed Taconic Bridge Trail, then turn right onto the white/pink trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 01/18/2008 updated/verified on 04/02/2023
This loop hike explores the interesting remnants of an abandoned granite quarry which is now a local park.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.