Sylvan Glen Nature 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 hundreds of workers, and its high-quality stone was used to construct such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan and the approaches to the George Washington Bridge. Operations at the...
Sylvan Glen Nature 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 hundreds of workers, and its high-quality stone was used to construct such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan and the approaches to the George Washington Bridge. 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 white-blazed Turtle Pond Trail, which follows a woods road, passing a pond to the right. After passing a fenced-in dog park on the left, the trail bears right, then turns left as it heads uphill.
At the top of the climb, three yellow blazes on a tree to the left mark the start of the Snake Hill Trail and almost immediately the end of the blue-blazed High Quarry Trail. Continue on the Turtle Pond Trail which descends to cross a gas pipeline and reenters the woods on a footpath.
After reentering the woods, 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) to 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 now 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. It passes a water-filled quarry and then 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 and goes up and over a knoll. After going through several 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 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 Taconic Bridge Trail (pink) that heads to Granite Knolls Park and the bridge over the Taconic State Parkway.
After following a woods road, the Old Farm Trail ends at 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 as part of the East Hudson Community Trails program in Yorktown. 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 the view to the High Quarry.Publication: Submitted by Jane Daniels on 12/12/2011 updated/verified on 03/18/2016
This hike along woods roads and trails passes remnants of early 20th-century quarry activities.
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.