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Old Croton Acqueduct Hike - Tarrytown to Yonkers

This hike from Tarrytown to Yonkers follows the Old Croton Aqeduct.  The Old Croton Acqueduct carried water to NYC from 1842 to 1955. In the early 1800’s, New York City was dealing with over population and problems with fires and diseases.  The solution was to create the Croton Aqueduct. The aqueduct modeled after the aqueducts of ancient Rome.  The goal of the aqueduct was to bring fresh water more than 40 miles to the New York City area.  The Old Croton Aqueduct (O.C.A.) was a stone, metal, and masonry tunnel system covered with earth (to protect the water).  Every mile or so, a chimney-type structure was built to allow fresh air into the aqueduct tunnels.  The OCA is currently categorized into three sections: the northern, the central, and the southern.  Over time, the OCA has been forgotten in some areas, and that shows by the way parts are cut, covered or just missing.  Along the route, we should be able to see some historical structures, tree lines nature paths, and even a few deer.  I encountered three deer on my initial walk – two of which blocked my path for about 10 minutes while one took his sweet time deciding if I was a threat or not.

Objective  This hike will focus on the central section of the Old Croton Aqueduct (from Tarrytown to Yonkers).  Attempts were made in the planning to factor in hikers of various levels and interests.

Summary The primary goal is to try to complete the entire route.  My initial recon tells me the hike can be completed in about 5 hours without a real break or rest.  However, no one will probably join for that kind of a hike, so I’ve tried to factor in the Metro-North stations and timing for those who don’t want to complete the whole route AND would like a rest along the way. Below is an abbreviation of the possible hike.  However, I’m more than willing to modify the plan to meet the needs and interests of those who join the hike.

Tentative Schedule (outline):

Tarrytown Station

Entrance to the OCA trail

Arrival at Lyndhurst Castle (Rest)

Metro-North Station**  – Irvington (via Main Street)

Octagon House Mercy College Campus (Rest) Metro-North Station**  – Ardsley on the Hudson (via Hudson Rd.)

OCA History Sign @ Steps (Rest) Metro-North Station**  – Dobbs Ferry (via Palisade St to Cedar St. to Main St.)

Farragut Ave. & Chauncey Ln. (Bathroom Break – Port-a-Potty in local park) Metro-North Station**  – Hastings on the Hudson (via Main Street)

Quarry Lane Trail “Under the Aqueduct”

Odell Avenue** Metro-North Station**  – Greystone (via Odell Avenue)

A Weir~~ and “Lion’s Gate” Park (both abandoned) ~~ A weir is a water diversion system that allowed workers to enter the Aqueduct.

Glenwood Avenue Metro-North Station**  – Glenwood (via Glenwood Avenue)

Metro-North Station – Yonkers Station – The End

**We won’t be walking to the station.  According to my research, I believe this is one of the closest points on the Old Aqueduct Trail route that can lead to the nearest Metro-North Station.  Those who wish to join us later in the hike can meet us at this point.  However, they will have to walk from the Metro-North Station (about a 15 to 20 minute walk) to the OCA trail entrance.  Sorry, to complete this whole route I don’t think I’d have the strength to walk to and from each Metro-North station on the route.  Also, those who don’t want to walk the whole route, can exit here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Route Details (times are only an approximate guide for planning purposes):

Meeting Locations:

Grand Central Station (Information Booth) 9:00AM

Tarrytown Metro-North Station 10:00AM*

9:30am - Meeting spot for those coming from (or near) NYC will be the information booth in Grand Central Station. For those driving, or coming from outside of NYC, the meeting place will be Tarrytown station at 10AM.  Phil will meet the NYC members at the Grand Central Station Information booth.  Joel will meet the others at the Tarrytown Station at 10AM. GCS - Train departs for Tarrytown at 9:44am.  Tarrytown Station – we will meet at the southern end of the Tarrytown train station on the Depot Plaza side.  I'll have a Meetup badge around my neck. Those people who will be driving, my suggestion is that you park your car at the Metro-North (Hudson Line) Station where you believe that you will finish.  If you park at Tarrytown station, you will have to take the train back to the starting point.  REMEMBER, TRAINS ON THE WEEKEND RUN ON AN HOURLY SCHEDULE.  Those who will be driving should also remember the hourly train schedule when they are planning to arrive at the meeting spot.

10:20AM -  Introductions and tentative schedule for the day

10:30AM - The hike begins

10:45AM - Entrance to the OCA trail – Although the trail goes for miles (interrupted at various points), there are only a few places where hikers can get onto the trails. Don’t look for formal entrances.  Expect a street (cutting through the trail), a gap in a wall, a parking lot, or a wide road (cutting through the trail) to be the “entrance” onto the trail.

11:30AM - Arrival at Lyndhurst Castle Due to the very large number of members who RSVP'd, we will be doing the "picnic style" lunch.  There is a large open field by the castle, and there (I hope, but I'm not sure) a bathroom in the visitor's center.  Bring your lunch and bring a towel or small blanket to sit on.  I have a tarp, but not big enough for 36 men.  We will find a spot under one of the very large trees for a quick lunch and rest.  If anyone wants to join us, they can meet us here.  To me the Lyndhurst “Castle” looked more like a mansion designed to look like a castle, so I’m not really interested in touring, but if anyone is, we can wait for them here as well while they tour the grounds. Metro-North Station**  – Irvington (via Main Street)  The north-bound train arrives at 12:06PM.  Anyone coming up from Irvington station, they will just need to walk up Main Street.  If you get lost, I will provide my cell phone number, or you can just ask a local resident for the Lyndhurst Castle.  We will leave about 12:30pm.

Octagon House – Sorry guys, because of the trees, I missed this one.  I’m not exactly sure of the location.

2:15PM Mercy College Campus (Rest) We can rest on the open field to the right of Hudson Rd.  Anyone walking up from the Metro-North station can meet us here.  We will leave about 2:30pm.  However, if anyone RSVP’s that they will join the hike here, then we will wait a few minutes for them to reach us If I receive a call or text message asking for us to wait. Metro-North Station**  – Ardsley on the Hudson (via Hudson Rd.) The Metro-North (north bound train) arrives at 2:04PM.

3:00PM – Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA) History Sign @ Steps (Rest) There is a set of stairs leading off of the trail.  Main Streets cuts through the trail here.  There is a very small rest area with about 2 or 3 cement tables and chairs.  If anyone is coming from the Metro-North, they can meet us here. Metro-North Station**  – Dobbs Ferry (via Palisade St to Cedar St. to Main St.) The train arrives at 2:02pm. Those tired can also end the walk here.  Those who arrive at the rest area early can either bring something to do for 30 minutes, or they can meet us on the trail.  We will leave about 3:30pm.  However, if anyone RSVP’s that they will join the hike here, then we will wait a few minutes for them to reach us if I receive a call or text message asking for us to wait.

4:15PM Farragut Ave. & Chauncey Ln. (Bathroom Break – Port-a-Potty in local park) There is also an A&P Supermarket across the street for those guys who want to buy something to eat or drink. Metro-North Station**  – Hastings on the Hudson (via Main Street) The train arrives at 2:59PM.  The walk from the station to the small park is about 30 minutes.  The small park is located at an intersection of Main Street, Broadway, Farragut Avenue, and Chauncey Lane.  Theml park has a port-a-potty at the entrance of the park.  We will leave about 4:30pm.  However, if anyone RSVP’s that they will join the hike here, then we will wait a few minutes for them to reach us if I receive a call or text message asking for us to wait.

4:45PM - Quarry Lane Trail “Under the Aqueduct” Basically it is a path to nowhere.  This will only take us about 3 minutes off the trail.  Down a set of stairs, you will be able to see the tunnel under the Aqueduct.  From the photos I’ve seen online, I was expecting something big.  However, it turned out to be a fairly small tunnel.  From the amount of graffiti and trash, it must be quite the hangout place.  Not a place I’d want to be in late at night.

5:15PM - Odell Avenue** Metro-North Station**  – Greystone (via Odell Avenue) Now I’m thinking guys might want to finish the hike here, so I'm looking at the southbound schedule. The train will depart at 5:26PM.  At this point, there really isn’t a place to rest.  This is a residential street on a very steep incline.

5:35PM A Weir~~ and “Lion’s Gate” Park (both abandoned) We would probably arrive here in twenty minutes from Odell Avenue.   ~~ A weir is a water diversion system that allowed workers to enter the Aqueduct.

6:05PM Glenwood Avenue The southbound Metro-North train departs at 6:29PM. 6:35PM Yonkers Station – The END!!!***

*** The southbound train to NYC leaves Yonkers at

6:31PM - Local

6:58PM - Express











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  • Dan

    Great to meet you all... And special thanks to our leaders... Great job!

    May 26, 2013

  • George

    Great time with great bunch of guys.

    May 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I gave the hike four stars. Although others thought the weather was great for hiking, I didn't like the temperature fluctuations and the mud. However, I'm glad I went. The temperature stayed mostly nice. The abandoned Lion's Gate entrance exploration was the only difficult part of the hike for me. Being overly-anal at times is something that I have to work on. However, I think that a bit of forewarning/planning is important. In the beginning, the reins were turned over a bit too quickly to a member who happened to live in the neighborhood. The route up Main Street was GREAT! The small bit of wandering wasn't. Luckily, the guy turned out to be a GREAT GUIDE overall. However, "luck" shouldn't be depended on. Lion's Gate was another "lucky" moment. Without warning, members decided to venture off the path. Again, the detour turned out to be great, but again, it could have turned out differently. Detours are nice, but warnings and consensuses are important.

    May 26, 2013

  • Phil

    Really enjoyed the hike yesterday and seeing everyone. Despite the blustery weather we didn't get rained on! Great to meet new comers Dan, Lucas, and K as well. Many thanks to Joel (great to meet you finally too) for his planning and keeping us all together.

    May 26, 2013

  • David

    I always look forward to these hikes. The guys are very nice and its a great way to see parts of the region that I have only driven by in the past. We get to see historic sites like the Octagon House all while having a pleasant hike.

    May 25, 2013

  • Dan

    For on train very last minute see you fellow hikers once we disembark.

    May 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It is 9:20AM. To be honest, I would rather be in my bed sleeping. However, I'm here at the TARRYTOWN Metro-North station. I'm in the "No Heat" waiting area on the platform.

    May 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry cant make it guys. Work deadlines. Have a great hike and good rest of Memorial Day weekend!

    May 25, 2013

  • K S.

    Well, I'm suited up and heading to Grand Central :). Brunch in Tarrytown, if nothing else!!! Who's with me?? Lol

    May 25, 2013

  • Joseph

    weather is going to suck hope to do it on a nice day

    May 24, 2013

  • Alex

    away for holiday wknd..have fun!..looking forward to next event

    May 22, 2013

  • Chuck

    I just completed the Brooklyn Half marathon Saturday and have to bow out of anything too strenuous this weekend.

    May 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    look forward

    May 20, 2013

  • Joel

    Hi,
    Pre-arranged plans do not permit me to join the group. Eager to join on future outings. Everyone enjoy the holiday weekend.

    May 19, 2013

  • Karl

    I am sorry won't be able to attend- Will be going away for that weekend- I hope you all have fun. Thanks

    May 19, 2013

  • Lee

    I will be flying for work on that day. Hope to join you guys next. Have fun!

    May 4, 2013

  • Craig

    Can't attend since the date changed.

    April 30, 2013

    • Phil

      Hi Craig. We didn't change the date of this hike. We did change the date of the breakneck ridge hike.

      May 1, 2013

    • Craig

      I must have had an eye to brain disconnect when I put it on my calendar. Sorry I'm going to miss this event, it sounds great.

      May 2, 2013

  • Joseph

    I will meet you guys on the train as I live in Westchester will you be on the 920am out of Grand Central?

    May 1, 2013

    • Phil

      Will send out train details before the hike.

      May 1, 2013

  • K S.

    Looking forward to fresh air and great views along the Hudson!!

    April 18, 2013

  • Keith G.

    Those of us beginning in Tarrytown might want to figure out a car scenario to dribe back or train back.

    April 9, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      If you know that you will complete the approx. five hour hike, and muggy be too tired to deal with the train after the hike, then I would suggest you drive to and park near the Yonkers Metro North Hudson Line station in the morning and take the train back to Tarrytown. There are curbside spaces to park your car. Also, there is a new large parking garage that was built to replace the parking lot that was removed. Sorry, I don't know what the curbside or garage rates are.

      April 10, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Typo muggy / might

      April 10, 2013

  • Keith G.

    It will pass close to my apt. How could I resist?

    April 7, 2013

    • Phil

      Glad you are coming Keith! Sit down lunch for 25 in your apt?!!

      Joking!

      1 · April 9, 2013

    • Keith G.

      One bathroom but woods to pee in.

      1 · April 9, 2013

  • Peter

    Good to get out of Dodge for a while!

    1 · April 1, 2013

    • Phil

      Should meet sometime Peter. I live in jax hts too.

      April 9, 2013

  • David

    Sounds like fun!

    April 7, 2013

    • Phil

      Glad your coming Dave.

      April 9, 2013

  • Chuck

    I'll drive and meet the group there.

    April 4, 2013

  • David

    Looking forward to it, hope it's a nice Spring day!

    April 4, 2013

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