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The Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park follows the route of the Old Croton Aqueduct, which carried water to New York City from 1842 to 1955. Most of the structure lies beneath the trail and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The aqueduct itself remains intact; the northern sections continue to supply water to Ossining.
The trail offers an enjoyable, level 22-mile route from the New Croton Dam in northern Westchester County to Yonkers, just north of New York City. While primarily a walking path, parts of the trail are suitable for horseback riding, biking (mountain bikes are recommended), and cross-country skiing. Cyclists should avoid the trail after heavy rains and during the mud season to reduce erosion.
Panoramas of the Hudson River are visible, particularly in Yonkers and Hastings. Many historical homes, two nature preserves, and a museum in Ossining highlighting the construction of the Aqueduct are immediate neighbors. The trail passes through 11 communities and is accessible from Metro-North Hudson Line trains and bus services along Route 9.
At its southern end, travelers can connect to the South County Trailway, a paved trail offering nearly 15 more miles of adventure from Yonkers to Mount Pleasant.
Parking is available on local streets and several municipal parking lots along the trail route.
The OCA trail offers a rich variety of surfaces and surroundings. I rode a commuter bike with 38mm slicks and did just fine, even through the muddy sections. I picked the trail up in Yonkers off the South County with a bit of street riding. This initial section runs through some rough spots in Yonkers and includes some on-street sections. After reaching the northern neighborhoods of Yonkers, it all starts to feel European with back-to-back posh villages, mansions, and views of the Hudson. There are even some interesting stone ruins, not to mention the Lyndhurst Mansion grounds.
The trail comes and goes a bit further north and you'll find yourself on the road more than you may like, but there are some deeply wooded sections and a fun climb to a bridge over Phelps Way. There is an aqueduct museum along the way and many clear signs of former aqueduct works.
I highly recommend this trail and shall return to it many times.
My friend and I rode the OCA on January 22, 2017. We started from the parking lot of Sleepy Hollow high school. The trail is free of snow and ice, with a few muddy patches. The section shortly after is hilly. There are a few breaks in the trail that require riding on the road. One of these is at River Road in Briarcliff Manor. Two in Ossining are located from the Highview Terrace Apartments parking lot and another at Ogden Rd. near the GE complex. These road connections aren't marked so make sure you have an OCA map or GPS. There are numerous road crossings, most not heavily trafficked. There is one very steep road crossing in Ossining. Unless you're a seasoned mountain biker, I'd recommended walking your bike up and down. There is also a fairly steep hill along the fence at the GE complex. Because the surface of the trail changes from grass to dirt and can be uneven in spots, hybrid tires, at a minimum, are recommended. There are historical markers, ventilators, and weirs along the way. Make sure to ride atop the dam.
...Have parked just off Route 129, pedaled over the metal bridge just a bit east of the Taconic over the Croton Reservoir and rode alongside the reservoir up to the Old Croton Dam and down the unpaved, but very rideable path, down to Route 9A and down to Croton Harmon Metro-North station, passing over the top of the Croton River emptying into the Hudson. Then rode over the bridge over the Metro-North tracks and west to the Hudson River.....Beautiful. About 18 miles roundtrip !
I describe this trail with pictures on wetschestertrails.com This is an unpaved trail; you cannot in-line skate on it.
"It's been over a year since I posted my last review of this trail, so I thought that an update might be in order.
Of all the trails I've biked in the past year, this one still remains my favorite.
I rode the segment from Tarrytown to Yonkers 2 days ago. It's a nice level ride although there are many street crossings to deal with. Once you get into Yonkers, be aware of broken glass in the more populated areas of the City.
I biked the segement from Sleepy Hollow north to the Croton Dam today. There are fewer street crossings on this segment, but you must deal with off trail street detours in several spots. The ride was well worth it though; views from the top of the New Croton Dam were spectacular.
This trail should not be missed by any serious off-road bikers.
E-mail me if you're in the area and want more details.
Safe riding . . . "
"A great trail for those who enjoy long distance, fast moving off-road biking.
Detours via city streets in Yonkers, Tarrytown, North Tarrytown, and Ossning but otherwise a nicely maintained dirt & gravel trek from NYC to the Old Croton Dam.
Trail doesn't get very much use except just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge in Irvington & Hastings-on-Hudson.
A good starting point is the Sleepy Hollow High School in North Tarrytown. From this point, head north for the most scenic and crowd-free trail portions.
No facilities in place on trail. Bring your own water & food. Maps are available from the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct. Get one; they're great.
E-mail if in area for more details.
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