Monday, October 10, 2016

Cranberry Lake Preserve

Hello, everyone.

I found a lovely park just forty minutes north of the City with several miles of intertwining trails.  Cranberry Lake Preserve is located in North White Plains, adjacent to the Kensico Reservoir.  The well-marked trails wind through a fairly young woods, along stone walls, and around ponds and swamps. There are hills, but nothing too strenuous. The exception, is the loop around the quarry, which does include a bit of a rock scramble and isn't as well marked as the others.

I began at the northern-most parking area, just off Old Orchard Street. I walked past the park gate and, just a few feet further down the road, turned right onto the red-blazed trail.  I followed this trail along the edge of the park. Passing three other trails, I eventually turned left onto an orange-blazed trail. This brought me to a boardwalk through the swamp.

The orange-blazed trail intersected with a purple-blazed trail at the north edge of the South Pond. I turned left and, at the next intersection I turned right, merging back onto the red-blazed trail as I worked my way around the pond.  At the south end of the pond there is a marker for a blue-blazed trail. I found this trail to be impassible due to the mud, but a bird stand was accessible that provided a nice view of the pond.  I continued on the red-blazed trail as it circled around the swamp, eventually turning right onto a white blazed trail that met back up with the blue-blazed trail on the western side of the pond.  (There are a lot of trails, but a good map is provided here).

Once I reached the north end of South Pond, I retraced my steps along the purple-blazed trail, this time continuing straight, past an old tennis court, to the quarry.  The trail eventually climbs up the rocks of the quarry, following its rims. This is the most challenging part of the hike, in that you do climb for a short bit. But it offers some lovely views.

The purple-blazed quarry loop works its way back to the red-blazed trail.  I turned right again, and followed the red-blazed trail until it merged with the blue-blazed trail, following the blue/yellow blazes around Cranberry Lake.

I eventually turned right onto a white-blazed trail, then right onto a yellow-blazed trail, which brought me to a picnic area and the paved road that runs into the park, which I followed back to where I parked. 

All and all, a nice way to spend a rainy fall afternoon.  I will keep this park in mind for snowshoeing, but think I would avoid it in the summer months, since the swampland is a guarantee for mosquitoes.

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