At the northwest corner of the parking area, go through a rustic gate and enter the Wildflower Woods, an area enclosed to exclude deer. Go down stone steps and turn left, heading toward the lake. Bear right and pass a locked gate that leads to Wildflower Island (open only for guided tours), then bear right again and cross a curved boardwalk that overlooks the lake, with the bridge to...
At the northwest corner of the parking area, go through a rustic gate and enter the Wildflower Woods, an area enclosed to exclude deer. Go down stone steps and turn left, heading toward the lake. Bear right and pass a locked gate that leads to Wildflower Island (open only for guided tours), then bear right again and cross a curved boardwalk that overlooks the lake, with the bridge to Wildflower Island on the right. The trail now bears right, goes through another rustic gate, and continues on a footpath parallel to the lake shore, crossing over exposed tree roots and traversing several small rock outcrops. The trail offers views over the lake, with benches provided for those who wish to pause and contemplate the surroundings.
As you reach the western end of the lake, the trail approaches the paved road. The road runs directly along the shore of lake, and to provide a more pleasant route for hikers, a floating boardwalk has been constructed along the southwestern shore of the lake.
At the end of the boardwalk, you’ll reach a T-intersection. Turn right, still following the blue-blazed Lakeside Trail. A short distance beyond, you’ll come to a Y-intersection by a stone wall. Here, you should take the left fork and continue on the orange-blazed Hilltop Trail (also the route of the green-blazed Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail), which parallels the stone wall on the right. Just ahead, the trail crosses a bridge over a stream and turns left to parallel it.
After turning right, away from the stream, and passing some interesting rock formations, the trail emerges onto a clearing for power lines. It turns left onto a grassy road, then turns right and crosses under the power lines. After traversing a short boardwalk, you’ll reach a T-intersection. Here, the Hilltop Trail leaves to the right, but you should turn left, continuing to follow the green-blazed Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail.
In 750 feet, you’ll come to a junction where the white-blazed Teatown Hill Trail begins on the left. Turn left and follow this trail uphill to its terminus at a power line tower, which offers a broad southeast-facing view.
Retrace your steps to the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail and turn left. The trail now begins a steady descent. After crossing a boardwalk at the base of the descent, you’ll reach another T-intersection. Here, the yellow-blazed Cliffdale-Teatown Trail begins on the left, but you should turn right, continuing to follow the green-blazed Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail.
The trail now approaches the Griffin Swamp. It crosses a wooden bridge over the inlet of the swamp and turns right, following a footpath between the swamp on the right and a rocky slope on the left. After passing a stone wall - made up of unusually large, rough stones – on the right, you’ll reach a T-intersection. Here, the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail turns left, but you should turn right, joining the Teatown-Kitchawan Trail (marked by purple and “TKT” blazes) which comes in from the left. After crossing the outlet of Griffin Swamp on a wooden bridge, the trail parallels a stream on the left, passing several cascades.
When you reach the dam of Teatown Lake, turn left and cross over the spillway. Just ahead, bear right at the next intersection (the route straight ahead is the orange-blazed Hilltop Trail). You’re now once again following the blue-blazed Lakeside Trail, which follows the shore of scenic Teatown Lake, passing a gazebo (known as the “boathouse”) on the right. Continue to follow the Lakeside Trail along the lake until you reach the Nature Center and the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 05/10/2018
This loop hike follows a boardwalk across Teatown Lake and passes through attractive forested areas and along interesting wetlands.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.