Rockefeller State Park Preserve: A Must-Know about Trails and Tours at Park Pleasantville

Rockefeller State Park Preserve: A Must-Know about Trails and Tours at Park Pleasantville

Are you visiting the state of NY for the first time? Chances are you will first head to New York City, the most populous city in the United States of America. However, suppose you are looking for another experience and want to relax and take a breather. In that case, there is a place that will surely satisfy your craving for nature, the State Forest at Pleasantville.

Rockefeller State Park is only thirty miles north of New York City. It is far from the noisy and lively experience you will get from the urbanized areas of New YC. The forest is flourishing with natural features and wildlife that will surely pique your interest.

WHY YOU NEED TO VISIT ROCKEFELLER STATE PARK PRESERVE

WHY YOU NEED TO VISIT ROCKEFELLER STATE PARK PRESERVE
(Credits to Visit Westchester County)

Tourists, guests, and new visitors will be amazed by the beauty and the beautiful activities experienced at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The forest provides the countryside vibe with its woods, hills, valleys, and rural fields. You can find carriage streams and almost 55 miles of streams with streams, pastures, ridges, ponds, and the Hudson River in the area. The place is perfect for trekkers, runners, bird watchers, equestrians, dog walkers, and families. If you want to understand why the State Forest is lovely to experience, plan your next trip and make sure that the State Forest is on top of your list of tours.

Let’s delve into some insights, details, and information about this beautiful place where you can bring your friends and family on your next trip. We will tackle the forest’s particulars, amenities it has to offer, and the activities you can immerse yourself in.

ROCKEFELLER STATE PARK BASIC INFORMATION

If you are not familiar with the place, make sure to check this necessary information to have a heads-up on your trip.

Operational Hours

9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Offices Closed on Christmas Day

Operating Times

All-Year round

Address

125 Phelps Way Pleasantville, NY 10570

Reservation

+1 (914) 631-1470

Customer Service

+1 (914) 631-1470

Busiest Season

Holiday Season

Address

125 Phelps way Pleasantville, NY 10570

Local Information

+1 (914) 631-1470

GETTING THERE

GETTING THERE

If you are driving around having your car or RV, you may encode these longitude and latitude coordinates to your vehicle’s GPS: 41.108627406757044, -73.8368351014684

From NY City, the State Forest is approximately 36.5 miles. Get on FDR Drive road and by taking the FDR Drive North Ramp. Follow FDR Drive and use the middle lane to continue on Harlem River Drive. Take exit 18 for Willis Avenue Bridge, take the left lane, and make sure not to miss it. Continue towards I-87/Deegan Expressway, use the left lane to take the Major Deegan Expressway Ramp to Albany. Keep left and stay on I-87 Northbound. After almost 18 miles of driving, watch out for signs on the road for Exit 7A. Keep right and Take Exit 7A to merge onto Saw Mill River Parkway north. Continue for 5.4 miles. Use the right two lanes to take the ramp to Taconic State Parkway North/Albany. You are now in Westchester County. Watch out for signs and take the NY-117 exit toward Pleasantville. You will then take a left onto NY-117 south, then turn left onto Tower Hill Road. You will be able to see the State Forest entrance on the left.

If you plan to travel by train, take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Tarrytown Station. You can hail a taxi and ride to the State Forest Office on Route 117 in Pleasantville. Once at the workplace, you can ask for more details and obtain a map for other essential information about the area.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND INTERESTING FACTS

The State Forest was once a 200-acre estate and castle called Rockwood bought by William Rockefeller from Henry Aspinwall’s heirs in 1886. John D. Rockefeller bought acres of land at Pocantico Hills in 1893, seven years after William Rockefeller’s purchase.

The National State of New York acquired 1,000 acres of the estate at Pocantico Hills in 1983. Laurence Rockefeller granted the belonging to the New York State as part of the State Forest in 1999. Since then, the state has used 1700 acres as part of the recreational forest for New York. 

The State Forest was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States of America Department of the Interior. The New York State Workplace of Forests, Recreation, and Historic Preservation operates the forested hills, valleys, and the pastoral scenery of fields and pastures in the Pocantico River watershed.

PARK NATURAL ASSETS

Rockefeller State Park Preserve is a hardwood forest filled with giant oak, maple, tulip poplar, and beech trees. There is a large diversity of native species of migratory birds, insects, mammals, amphibians, fish, reptiles, and aquatic species in the park’s forests, fields, streams, and wetlands.

The area covers forested valleys and hills separated by the Pocantico River and various streams along the pastures and hayfields’ rural landscape. The hardwood forests contain towering trees of more than 150 years old like beech-maple, oak-hickory, and other types of trees. The forest thrives with rich wildlife like bluebirds, woodpeckers, owls, wood ducks, and flying squirrels.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve or RSPP highlights one of the most beautiful lakes in the area, Swan Lake. Swan lake is an incredibly scenic natural wonder where you can see the diversity of flora and fauna of the area. There are wildflowers like swamp azalea, tall meadow rue, swamp milkweed, sweet pepper bush, and rafts of fragrant water lilies. The beauty and richness of the lake attract migratory waterfowls like buffleheads and hooded mergansers.

There is a pastoral section of the Preserve at Rockwood hall area that showcases the Hudson River and Palisade Cliffs’ panoramic views.

AMENITIES AT PRESERVE

The forest offers amenities that you can visit and use during your trip to Rockefeller State Park. Here are some of the amenities that the forest has to offer.

AMENITIES AT PRESERVE
(Credits to New York State forests)

Visitor Center

Visitor Center
(Credits to NYC foodie family)

You can enter the visitor person for inquiries. It is open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. you will be able to view the maps of Rockefeller State Park Preserve just outside the visitor center

Art Gallery

Rockefeller State Park Preserve: Visit One of the Best Historic Parks in New York
(Credits to S.A. Cem via Flickr)

If you are an art and photography enthusiast, you will indeed have a great time at the art gallery in the State Forest’s visitor center.

Rockefeller State Park Restaurant

Rockefeller State Park Preserve: Visit One of the Best Historic Parks in New York
(Credits to Lou Stejskal via Google Maps)

If you are hungry because of the forest activities, you don’t have to go very far. Drop by Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

ACTIVITIES AT PRESERVE

Make sure to plan your activities to maximize your time enjoying what Rockefeller State Park has to offer. There are many activities that you can immerse yourselves in, so you better prepare for them.

ACTIVITIES AT PRESERVE
(Credits to New York State)

HOP ON YOUR HORSE FOR EQUESTRIAN STREAM AND CARRIAGE DRIVING

HOP ON YOUR HORSE FOR EQUESTRIAN STREAM AND CARRIAGE DRIVING
(Credits to Friend of the RSP)
HOP ON YOUR HORSE FOR EQUESTRIAN STREAM AND CARRIAGE DRIVING 2
(Credits to Friend of the RSP)

You can enjoy horseback riding if you have your horses; there are also equestrian services for you to avail and experience horseback riding. The State Park Preserve has more than 55 miles of carriage roads for you to enjoy. Ride through acres of open fields, woodlands, stone bridges, waterways, and see the splendid Hudson River. You will also get to pass the beautiful 24-acre Swan Lake at the forest’s Center.

The remarkable carriage roads of the State Forest offer an exceptional and extraordinary experience for riders and members. You are required to have a permit if you wish to partake in this activity. Daily and annual equestrian constituent passes are required to present them to the management. We encourage you to contact the Forest Base for additional information.

RELAX AND UNWIND THROUGH FISHING

RELAX AND UNWIND THROUGH FISHING
(Credits to Friends of the RSPP)

During the season, visitors can enjoy angling at Pocantico River and Swan Lake. Licensed anglers can delight in angling for Bass in Swan Pond, while you can fish for Brown Trout in the Pocantico River. You will need to procure an angling permit for the freshwater season at the forest base. The pass is free for anyone. In addition to that,  you will also need a New York State angling license. You can find and acquire access from town halls and the majority of sporting goods stores.

Angling is a fun and immersive experience. Bring your kids and family to relax and bond with while angling. It is a bonus that you get to look at the beautiful Swan Pond and Pocantico river while angling. You may contact the forest base for more details on this activity.

BOW-HUNTING SPORT

BOW-HUNTING SPORT
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The State Forest allows limited bow-hunting of deer in one of the state forest sections. This activity is done and is vital to control the explosive population of deer. The number of deer in the state forest may have some surfeit, and hunting is allowed to maintain the ecosystem’s balance. Hunting season typically begins in October and ends in December. Hunters who want to participate should submit the required documents for application and fulfill the hunt’s conditions. You may do this in person at the state forest base or via online email. Contact the state forest base for more details about this activity.

WINTER SEASON FUN ACTIVITIES

WINTER SEASON FUN ACTIVITIES
(Credits to Trail Conference)

This State Forest is also a place for Winter sports. During the winter season, guests may trek, horseback ride, and cross-country ski in the snow. The streams that go through the woodlands and the open fields are excellent for snowy season activities. One popular activity in the forest is Snowshoeing. The hills in the forest are also ideal for sledding if you are looking for thrill and speed. Team building is also excellent and fun in the snow.

FLY YOUR KITE HIGH IN THE SKY

FLY YOUR KITE HIGH IN THE SKY
( Credits to Friend of the RSPP/Facebook)

If you are into fun family activities, we are sure that you will enjoy kite flying. Kite flying is allowed at the Rockwood hall. Grab all your family members, pack your kites, and head to the State Forest for a family bonding experience and team building. Take a break from work!

HIKE THROUGH THE BEAUTIFUL STREAM

The Rockefellers designed the State Forest’s landscape to complement carriage roads accessible to horse riders and trekkers. You will see streams running through wetlands, woodlands, fields, meadows, past streams, ponds, and rivers. There are many loop hike opportunities around State Forest. These streams range from 2 kilometers and 12 kilometers. Elevations of the streams come up to 200 meters above sea level.

Here are the stream options that you may choose from for trekking, running, and walking. Whichever stream you choose, we are sure that you will find yourself fully immersed in the beautiful natural features of the State Forest.

SWAN LAKE LOOP

SWAN LAKE LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
SWAN LAKE LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 2.3 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 9 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 35 mins

This stream features a picturesque pond that you will surely adore. The streams are mainly for trekking, running, walking, nature appreciation, horse riding. Your pets can also enjoy the stream with you, provided that they are on a leash. Discover the rich wildlife in the area and the wonderful ambiance.

ROCKWOOD HALL TRAIL

ROCKWOOD HALL TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
ROCKWOOD HALL TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 5.6 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 74 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 30 mins

This stream features a picturesque pond that you You can find this stream at the western part of this Preserve. It features Scenic Highlights of the Hudson River, Palisade Cliffs, the Great white tree, wooden bridges, and the beautiful sunsets in the evening. The stream is best for strolls, walking, running, family excursions, and nature photography.

ROCKEFELLER STATE PARK LOOP

ROCKEFELLER STATE PARK LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
ROCKEFELLER STATE PARK LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 10.6 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  168 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 3h

If you want to trek, walk, run, exercise, to refresh yourself with nature and the sun, this is the stream for you. The stream features a pond, and it is suitable for all skill levels.

ROCKWOOD HALL, POCANTICO RIVER, & OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT LOOP

ROCKWOOD HALL, POCANTICO RIVER, & OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
ROCKWOOD HALL, POCANTICO RIVER, & OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 13.4kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  217 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Average
  • Est. Duration: 4h

The route features a 13.4-kilometer stream that has average difficulty. You can find the loop at Briarcliff Manor that showcases a river. The path is excellent for trekking, walking, running, and nature trips. You can best enjoy the stream from April to October.

You can bring your pets and enjoy the trek with you.

POCANTICO RIVER TO DOUGLAS HILL LOOP

POCANTICO RIVER TO DOUGLAS HILL LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
POCANTICO RIVER TO DOUGLAS HILL LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 6.1 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  76 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 50 mins

The stream is one of the Preserve’s treasured streams. It showcases a gentle and scenic trek. You will see rivers, wooden and stone bridges, giant trees, fields with tall grasses, old trees, oriole birds, gravel paths, and a lot that nature has to offer. Make sure to heed to signages that show private property borders, stick to the rules and regulations.

SWAN LAKE via DAVID’S LOOP & BROOK TRAIL

SWAN LAKE via DAVID’S LOOP & BROOK TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 5.5 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  84 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 30 mins

The stream is excellent for new trekkers since the well-marked paths lead to Swan Pond, the forest’s main attraction. Some of the other attractions and photo-worthy spots are the meadows, streams, wildflowers, serene streams, and the quiet pond. If you are bringing pets, make sure they are on a leash. This stream can be your practice before heading to the mountains.

RAVEN’S ROCK via FERGUSON LAKE TRAIL

RAVEN’S ROCK via FERGUSON LAKE TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
RAVEN’S ROCK via FERGUSON LAKE TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 9 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  198 meters
  • Route Type: In and Out
  • Route Difficulty:
  • Est. Duration: 2h 40 mins

The stream is a combination of paths that lead to the magnificent Raven’s Rock. The stream highlights the scenic ponds, ancient trees, wildlife, and meadows. You should have a companion when taking this stream; Raven’s Rock stream is a remote one. The route is a more manageable trail than trekking a mountain!

SPOOK ROCK via GORY BROOK & WITCH’S SPRING TRAIL

SPOOK ROCK via GORY BROOK & WITCH’S SPRING TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
SPOOK ROCK via GORY BROOK & WITCH’S SPRING TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length:  3.2 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  70 meters
  • Route Type: In and out
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h

The name of the stream itself will spook you out. You will see a stream that leads to an eerie historical landmark in this forest. It features a witch’s shelter and a spooky rock. You can enjoy and be mesmerized by the great forest and scenery.

EAGLE HILL TRAIL LOOP

EAGLE HILL TRAIL LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
EAGLE HILL TRAIL LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 4.5 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  109 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 20 mins

Keep on walking on the stream, and you will be amazed by the nature that surrounds you. This stream is for walking, running, skiing in winter, and trekking. You can bring your dogs and enjoy the course with you. Bikes are strictly prohibited.

BUTTERMILK HILL to RESERVOIR LOOP

BUTTERMILK HILL to RESERVOIR LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
BUTTERMILK HILL to RESERVOIR LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 7.2 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  135 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 2h 10 mins

The stream showcases the scenic and picturesque area of this loop. You will see ancient-growth oaks, two ponds, thriving meadows, and wild animal species. Enjoy the gentle heat of the sun while you trek.

STONE BARNS FARM LOOP

STONE BARNS FARM LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
STONE BARNS FARM LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 3.7 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  60 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 5 mins

You can visit the historic farm, one of the local favorites of visitors. This place has free parking on weekdays and a pay-for lot on weekends. You will find the gravel slopes best for walking, running, and snowshoeing. The stream showcases a functional farm, cattle, gardens, animals, hills, vistas, and youngsters’ ad activities. This stream connects to other well-marked streams.

LUCY’S LOOP

LUCY’S LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
LUCY’S LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 3.9 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  79 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 10 mins

The stream is an easy one. Experience the forest and the stream while trekking. Watch out for local horse riding clubs on the way. The stream is open all year round.

THIRTEEN BRIDGES LOOP

THIRTEEN BRIDGES LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
THIRTEEN BRIDGES LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 4.3 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  90 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 20 mins

As the name suggests, the stream has 13 bridges. The course goes through thick forest and footbridges that cross over streams. The thirteen bridges loop highlights the woods, trees, and the excellent gravel paths where you occasionally see horse riders.

BUTTERMILK HILL LOOP

(Credits to AllTrail)
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length:  3.9 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  71 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 10 mins

This stream’s entrance connects to Lucy’s loop, which is another one of the favorite streams.  It is an easy stream with a gradual inclination through forests and meadows. It is a good stream all-year-round, and snowshoeing in the winter is excellent.

GLACIAL ERRATIC QUICK LOOP

  • Length: 1.4 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 24 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Average
  • Est. Duration: 25 mins

Among all the State Forest streams, the Glacial Erratic is the fastest stream to the finish. It showcases the main attraction, a massive glacial boulder from the North Arctic dating back to 10,000 years.

EAGLE HILL DIRECT

  • Length: 2.7 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  57 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 40 mins

The stream will let you experience and show you the panoramic views of the State Forest. The stream is suitable for trekking, and you will see a river, a footbridge, and the gravel paths you will follow. There are also viewing benches at the summit.

DOUGLAS HILL LOOP via CANTER ALLEY

(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 2.6  kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 28 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 40 mins

The stream has indicated paths that are helpful to new trekkers. That is why it is an excellent experience for all skill levels. It features a river along the stream. You can walk with your dog. Do not deviate from the marked paths and towards private belonging. It is near Cedar Hill, which is a restricted area; trekkers are not allowed there.

RAVEN’S ROCK via LUCY’S LOOP and BUTTERMILK HILL TRAILS

  • Length: 12 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  285 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 3h

The Raven’s Rock is a historical highlight of the State Forest. The combination of the streams leads to this historical monument. The course showcases pastures, ponds, ancient trees, a brook, wildlife, and a rock enclosure with cliffs.

BROTHER, BROOK, and RIDGE TRAILS DOUBLE LOOP

BROTHER, BROOK, and RIDGE TRAILS DOUBLE LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 4.5 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  53 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 15 mins

If you are looking for a relaxed trek, you can stroll through this stream, one of the State Forest’s favorite streams. You can follow the well-marked paths, and you will be able to see Swan Pond, brooks, wildlife, ancient trees, and gravel paths along the way. The stream is beneficial for beginner trekkers.

BROOK, DAVID, and SWAN LAKE LOOP

BROOK, DAVID, and SWAN LAKE LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
BROOK, DAVID, and SWAN LAKE LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 6.9 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  137 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 2h 20 mins

Enjoy the ambiance while hiking or running on the stream. Be amazed at the panoramic view of the pond and make sure to capture memories. You may enjoy the course with your dogs, provided that you kept them on a leash.

STONE BRIDGE, POCANTICO RIVER, BIG TREE DOUBLE LOOP

STONE BRIDGE, POCANTICO RIVER, BIG TREE DOUBLE LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 2.4 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  18 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 40 mins

You can trek this double loop stream and see the flowing river, ancient trees, stone bridges, and open grasslands. The stream is excellent for all skill levels for walking, running, and appreciating nature.

STONE BRIDGE to STONE BARN LOOP

STONE BRIDGE to STONE BARN LOOP
(Credits to AllTrail)
  • Length: 4.8 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 79meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 25 mins

The stream is a favorite running and walking loop at the state Forest. You will see the green pastures, farm gardens, rich forests, fields, different animal species, and the Welcome Center of Stone Barns. This stream is terrific for kids, family, and nature lovers.

GLACIAL ERRATIC via LUCY’S LOOP and BROOK TRAIL

(Credits to AllTrails)
  • Length: 10.5 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  206 meters
  • Route Type: In and Out
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 3h 5 mins

Glacial Erratic is one of the main highlights of the State Forest. This stream combines different rails for a different experience, and you will walk on the stone bridges and gravel paths and see the pond, grounds, and grasslands.

EAGLE HILL, SPOOK ROCK, and BIG TREE DOUBLE LOOP

(Credits to AllTrails)
  • Length: 4.7kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 114 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Average
  • Est. Duration: 1h 10 mins

If you want a more challenging stream, this could be for you. This stream is rated average or moderate by trekkers. The course has historical highlights along the way. 

OVERLOOK and ASH TREE LOOP

  • Length: 3.7 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  70 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 1h 5 mins

Walking this stream will refresh you with nature. You can have panoramic photos taken with the breathtaking view of Swan Pond and the Overlook Stream. The stream also has different connections with other streams if you want to extend your trek.

DEER RUN, PLEASANT PATH, and OLD RAILROAD DOUBLE LOOP

(Credits to AllTrails)
  • Length: 27 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 41 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Easy
  • Est. Duration: 50 mins

Hike through the well-marked paths of the stream and enjoy the nature views of the forest. The creek features gravel paths, a brook, Swan Lake, and the Park Welcome Center.

CARL’S BROOK LOOP

CARL’S BROOK LOOP
(Credits to AllTrails)
(Credits to AllTrails)
  • Length: 1.8 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain: 51 meters
  • Route Type: Loop Route/Trail
  • Route Difficulty: Average
  • Est. Duration: 35 mins

CEDAR HILL SHORT TRAIL

CEDAR HILL SHORT TRAIL
(Credits to AllTrails)
  • Length: 2.1 kilometers
  • Elevation Gain:  47 meters
  • Route Type: In and Out
  • Route Difficulty: Average
  • Est. Duration: 40 mins

The stream is currently private property and is closed to the public.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS AT NATIONAL FOREST PRESERVE

MAIN ATTRACTIONS AT NATIONAL FOREST PRESERVE
(Credits to Wilderness)

Along the streams of the State Forest, you will be able to see the beauty of nature and other structures like bridges, barns, and paths. These picturesque attractions should be on your go list. Make sure to snap a shot to capture the memory of these beautiful attractions that will indeed highlight your trip to the forest. Here are some of the forest’s main attractions:

Northwest Passage Tunnel

Northwest Passage Tunnel
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

Along the stream, you will pass through this magical tunnel. You can find this in the Buttermilk area of the forest. The historic structure is an excellent place to take your pictures. Make sure to ask your guides for quick trivia or facts about this structure. They would be glad to provide you with information.

USGS Bench and Plaque

USGS Bench and Plaque
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The benchmark and plaque is the mark for the most ancient Triangulation Station in America. A triangulation station is also known as a trigonometrical point, or commonly known as trig. It is a surveying station utilized for geodetic surveying and geodetic projects in the area and a benchmark that contains the coordinates and elevation of the location. This plaque memorializes the 200th anniversary of the Buttermilk Hill Triangulation station of the America Geological Survey.       

Raven’s Rock

Raven’s Rock
(Credits to Scenes from the Trail)

Ghost stories riddle this magical rock. Washington Irving’s novel entitled The Legend of the City of Pleasant also mentions the location. Make sure you have a companion, especially if you are a scaredy-cat.

Stone Arch Creek Tunnels

Stone Arch Creek Tunnels
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The three-stone arches is a magnificent display of design and architecture by the Rockefellers. The arches’ purpose is to channel the water from one side to another. John D jr. engaged with the construction details and perfectly influenced the creek tunnels’ final design.

Fairy Circle

Fairy Circle
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

Relax and gather under what seems to be a magical tree. You can find the Fairy Circle in the Buttermilk area near Ferguson pond. Make sure to capture any fairies around and play with them.

Reservoir Bridge

Reservoir Bridge
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The reservoir bridge acts as a view deck for the panoramic view of the pond. However, most visitors often miss the chance to go there. The place is lovely all year round, and you will be enjoying taking pictures of friends and family.

Triple Arch Bridge

Triple Arch Bridge
(Credits to NY-New Jersey Trail Conference)

The Triple Arch Bridge is known as the pioneer triple arch bridge built in the United States of America. It traverses the Pocantico River and provides a magnificent view of the vast ancient Aqueduct stream breakwater.

Spook Rock

Stone Arch Creek Tunnels
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

Myths, fables, and legends riddle the spook rock like in the City of Pleasant tales. This rock was an ancient Native American Council rock. They often gather here for a meeting of elders and talk about their people.

Hulda’s Hut

Hulda’s Hut
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

Locals said that a certain Hulda has lived in the exact place. People called her Hulda the witch, but she was more likely a healer or a quack doctor. History said that this person has certainly lived. The forest management has recreated the area to tell Hulda the witch, which intrigues many visitors to the forest.

Eagle Hill Lookout Point

Eagle Hill Lookout Point
( Credits to Scenes From the Trail)

If you want to see nature’s panoramic views in the entire state forest, this place overlooks the Hudson River. You may also see wildlife while in the area, like the American bald eagle. The name itself is from the eagle sightings in the area. It is a popular sport in the State Forest. Make sure to visit Eagle Hill Lookout Point for a fantastic experience.

Pocantico Falls

The Pocantico falls the largest waterfall in the State Forest. Walk and skip at the rock and see the stream where the waterfalls wind up. During the winter, you may be able to see ice formations. The fall intensity may vary according to season.

Sleepy Hollow hollow

Sleepy Hollow hollow
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The tree features a hollow inside where you can go inside and take a pic. Have you ever seen a tree like this one? If not, snap those photos and bring with you memories of this spectacular tree. Every detail of the tree will surely surprise you.

Glacial Erratic

Glacial Erratic
(Credits to the Hiking Project)

What seems to be a big rock is a glacial erratic, most likely from the arctic circle dated back 10,000 years ago. The Glacial Erratic spans 20 feet high and 65 feet in diameter; it is a huge rock. It is one of the largest in the Hudson River valley, be amazed by this somewhat mystical rock. These rocks were products of glacier events from long ago.

Swan Lake Overlook

Swan Lake Overlook
(Credits to Pinterest)

You will be out of words to describe the beauty of Swan Lake and its every detail. Make sure to snap a shot and add it to your photo collection—fun time bonding and relaxing with nature in the forest. The ambiance of the pond will surely please you. However, if you are expecting a beach experience, the State Forest has no beaches and islands.

Toad Face Tree

Toad Face Tree
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

Primitive trees have their ancient bark showing different patterns. Sometimes they tend to show a character or a formation. This Toad Face tree will tell you a story. If you walk along the Brook stream, you will stumble upon this wonder. It is the only one of the many wonders of the State Forest and its natural features.

Fishpond Ruins

The fishpond ruins were once a fish farm back in the 1900s. There are weirs or barriers in the stream assumed to be put by the state forest to fish there. The king of England was said to partake in the activity in his visits to the area.

Curious Creek Crossing

Curious Creek Crossing
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The curious creek crossing features a natural spring-fed stream. The stream serves as the water source for the Rockefellers herd of breeding cattle during their time. If you want to get your feet on a wet adventure, stop by the curious creek crossing.

Foundation Ruins

Foundation Ruins
(Credits to RSPP/ Facebook)

The ruins feature the Rockwood Hall, the former house of the Rockefellers. During that time, this mansion was the second-largest private house in the United States, and it is a place of events. If you want a historic site and know where the site started, this is the right spot.

Sugar Shack

Be mesmerized by the surrounding sugar maple trees. During the time it was a farm, maple trees were the sugar. The surrounding trees will surely entertain you.

Bridge View benches

Enjoy the panoramic views of the Hudson and some bridges that you can see from this spot. We are sure that you will take your time to relax in this magnificent spot. You can view from afar what seems to be islands, but they are not islands.

Rockwood Creek and Bridges

Walk under the beautiful shade of trees. Make sure not to miss this in the Rockwood area if you are on this stream. You will have a relaxing time walking while hearing the sound of the steady flowing water at the creek. The creek eventually joins the Hudson River. Follow it if you want to know where the stream ends.

White Tree of Rockwood

White Tree of Rockwood
(Credits to Friend of RSPP)

This white tree is an ancient Sycamore tree. It is a magnificent view both afar and close. The tree is noticeable since it has a unique color and the strength of display to the surroundings. The picture of the majestic tree will surely please you. The vibe this place will give you is like you are alone on an island.

HOTELS NEAR PRESERVE

Camping is not allowed at Rockefeller State Park. If you plan to have activities in the forest for several days, you might want to check in a hotel for your convenience. Having a good place to stay is good preparation for tomorrow’s events. Here are the nearest hotels from the forest:

RESTAURANTS NEARBY PRESERVE

If you are looking for some grub, here are the nearest restaurants and events you can visit from Rockefeller State Park. There is plenty of parking space for your car or RV, in case you are wondering.

PREPARATIONS BEFORE HEADING TO STATE PARK PRESERVE

RV ESSENTIALS

If you are traveling in your RV, these are the things you need to bring with you on the road for more comfort, convenience, and stress-free getaway. We listed all the possible essentials so that you don’t have to worry during your trip.      

  • Dehumidifier  – sticky weather can be quite annoying, we encourage you to choose the best RV dehumidifier for your motorhome.
  • Camp stove – if you want to cook your meals during a picnic, having a camp stove may come in handy.
  • GPS – you don’t want to lose your way going to the forest. Having a reliable GPS will save time and save you from the stress of trying to navigate manually.
  • Converter  – proper output for your appliances is essential to avoid damaging them.
  • Sewer Hose – a reliable sewer hose is essential so you will not make a mess during discharge.
  • LED bulb  – a spare bulb is essential to replace defective bulbs.
  • Door lock – security is, essential so you must have a reliable lock for your motorhomes.
  • TV – for recreation purposes, if you have no tv installed yet, you might consider choosing one that fits your budget and your motorhome or RV.

OTHER TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

For you to be ready for any event, you must prepare extra things so that your trip to the State Forest will be hassle-free. Here are some of the other essentials that you might consider bringing on your trip.

Make sure you also bring a First-aid kit to be prepared for any emergency.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Ointment
  • Aloe Lotion
  • Medicines for allergies
  • Saline Solution
  • Band-aids
  • Towels

You are not allowed to camp at the State Forest, but picnicking is allowed. The management provides picnic sites, picnic at Rockwood hall is allowed. Here are the things you need to bring for a beautiful picnic:

  • Coolers
  • Utensils
  • Plates
  • Tumblers
  • Ziplock bags
  • Airtight containers
  • Portable stove or grill ( Ask for permission, creating fire is prohibited)
  • Cooking oil

Acquire all the necessary passes for your trip so that it will be hassle-free. You will not have to waste time and to be on your planned activity itineraries.

SITE POLICY AND GUIDELINES

The Rockefeller State Park management has provided guidelines to maintain the orderliness of the forest. Visitors should adhere to the rules and regulations to avoid creating problems for the administration. Please follow the directions to prevent problems.

GENERAL

The forest is open from dawn to dusk. The operating hours fall from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Make sure to adhere to the rules and regulations of the forest.

WILDLIFE

Interaction with wild animals or any farm animals in the State Forest is strictly prohibited to prevent people from getting hurt by animals.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol beverages of any kind are not allowed. You are not allowed to smoke or make a fire in the forest. Please adhere to the strict no-alcohol rule.

CELL PHONES & CAMERAS

Cell Phones are allowed. A state forest is a beautiful place for photography and filming. For professional photography, you should obtain a pass from the forest to conduct the activity.

BICYCLES

Biking is not allowed. Any kind of scooters, rollerblades, or skateboards is not allowed. This regulation maintains the forest’s order and avoids visitors damaging forest areas.

WALKING AND JOGGING

As a responsible hiker, you should be accountable and aware of your surroundings. Always be on alert for other hikers to avoid accidents. Passes should be acquired if planning to be in a group of seven or more. They are available at the state forest visitor center. Streams also have restrictions. Some streams restrict groups of runners larger than 4.

WALKING WITH YOUR DOG

The management allows dogs in the forest. As the state law requires, you should have your dog leashed at all times for safety purposes. Dogs may scare some visitors or horses on the streams. Clean after your dog. Any dog feces should be removed or bagged. Dispose of dogs’ fecal matter properly. Please be mindful of your dog at all times.

HORSE RIDING AND CARRIAGE DRIVING

Before riding a horse on the streams, you should acquire the pass appropriately. Contact the state forest for detailed information on equestrian passes.

  • The annual passes should be visible at all times.
  • You are required to have helmets for safety.
  • You should have the horses fully bridled.
  • Horse galloping is not allowed.
  • Yield to working vehicles
  • The stream only at Brothers path
  • The courtyard area is off-limits.

FISHING

Acquire an NYS angling pass to have the RSPP pass tag. You can obtain these passes at the forest’s visitor center. Angling rules in NY state apply. Make sure always to clean up your workstation, maintain cleanliness and orderliness.

SKIING, SLEDDING, and SNOWSHOEING

Popular winter sports in the forest are prevalent. Make sure to do these activities in spots allowed by the management.

PARK RATES AND FEES

The fee you need to pay mostly on NY State Forests is the vehicle use fee. RSPP charges 6 dollars per vehicle. Suppose you are on a school trip or an organizational trip on a bus. In that case, the payment will be at 35 dollars for non-profit org and 75 dollars for commercial purposes. 

State forests of NY have admission programs for site-goers. Only for 80 dollars, you can avail the Empire Pass Card. This pass allows you unlimited day-use entry for most facilities by state forests, including this State Forest. You can purchase this online. Contact the site for more details on their admission programs and fees.

For the equestrian, the day pass costs 15 dollars, including the vehicle entry fee. The annual equestrian access is 40 dollars for empire passport holders for vanning horses. Campervan and horses are charged 65 dollars per season and 6 dollars per visit as empire pass holders.

BOOKING AND PAYMENT POLICIES

The State Forest does not offer camping or any overnight facility. Only da-use facilities are available for guests and visitors to use. 

Like most New York State forests, they charge a vehicle use fee of six dollars and ten dollars for day use. You may contact Rockefeller State Park at +1 914-631-1470 for additional information on your forest visit.

You may also purchase the Empire Pass that you can share with your family. It is the ticket for all New York State Forests that the pass is accepted. It provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry by most facilities managed by New York State Parks and the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

  • You may be able to purchase the Empire Pass for 80 dollars at shop.parks.ny.gov, where you can fill an online application for customers and pay via online billing, credit cards, or debit cards.
  • Forests also have an available Empire Pass that you can purchase. This State Forest sells them for also 80 dollars each.
  • You may also apply for the card by mail with the check and money order that is payable to New York State Parks.

CONCLUSION

Spending the day on an adventure in the State Forest is the perfect getaway for your family. We are sure that the place will help you relax and distract you from the stressful urban life. The Preserve is very rich in natural assets that will allow you to experience and immerse yourself with nature.

We hope that we could give you an insightful overview of what to expect in the State Park Preserve. We guarantee you that your trip to Rockefeller State Park Preserve will be a wonderful experience with your friends and family.

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