Distance: 1.25, option for more
Skill Level: easy, good for little walkers, stroller accessible
Elevation Gain: 100′
Type of Hike: out-and-back
Trail Condition: gravel road
Wow Factor: views of the dam
Note: paid parking seasonally
How to get there: From the Taconic State Parkway, take Underhill Ave west. Right on 129. Pass over the reservoir. Down the hill on the left, you’ll see a big brown sign for Croton Gorge Park. Drive down the hill and over the bridge. Park in the back near the playground.
Summary: Go to the base of the falls to check out the view from the middle of the bridge before or after your hike. My dad, who looked at me weird when I said I wanted to take him to a dam, admitted it was an impressive sight.
The trail starts to the left of the playground on the grass to dirt to gravel road. It will loop back behind the playground and head uphill. You will pass the river trail on the right and switchback up the hill. You’ll also pass the trail for the Old Croton Aqueduct. Keep climbing until you get to the top.
Head left around the barriers onto the dam road. Check out the views down the valley as you get closer to the dam. The quarter mile walk to the otherside is easy and a great place to let your toddler walk (just watch as the rails seem a like they’re head sized). Once you get to the dam, the wind picks up and if the water is rushing, its loud. Kids and adults will be mesmerized. Look for the boat that fell over the waterfall and look at the large cascade on the right that goes on forever and you can only see a tiny bit from the bottom.
When you are done exploring, head down the way you came. You can follow the Old Croton Aqueduct as far as you want or are able with a stroller–it goes to NYC.
Follow the road as it switches back. You can either head straight down to the parking lot or take the left to the river trail which will add another 3/4 mile that you could not get a stroller down. Follow the road down a little over 1/4 mile until you hit the cleared land for the power lines. Look for a right turn off the road, down the hill. Its not marked but very well used. You’ll enter the trees again and see the river and white markers. Make a right and follow the river another 1/4 mile. If you want to go back to the playground, look for an unmarked path to the right heading uphill and it will dump you out on the opposite corner. If you didn’t go to the base of the dam before, keep following the white trail all the way to the lower bridge.
There is plenty of open lawn and picnic tables at the park so you could play and picnic after your hike.
Dogs: on a leash