A few of our favorite trails

A few of our favorite trails

It can be tempting to visit Teatown and stick to the Lakeside Trail, but where’s the fun in that? We asked some of our staff: What are your favorite trails? Here’s what they said.

1) The Hidden Valley Loop

Staff pick by:

Elissa Schilmeister

Educator and Volunteer Coordinator

Why I love this trail
This hike brings you through a variety of different habitats. In the winter, I enjoy the snow in the pine forest. In spring, I love to hear the amphibians calling from the vernal pools. In the summer, I enjoy the wildlife encounters, especially the snakes. In the fall, I enjoy tracking barred owls, weasels and coyote through pellets and scat.

Approximate time to complete: 1 hour
Difficulty level: Easy/moderate

Walk out of the nature center and take a left. At the map-kiosk, take the first gravel driveway to the left past the sugar house and the red barn. You will continue along the orange Hilltop trail perpendicular and then parallel to Blinn Rd. Continue straight past the Lakeside/Blinn Rd parking lot. The Hilltop trail turns uphill to the left at the road, at this point you will leave the Hilltop trail and cross Blinn Rd to the red fence on the other side. Once you have crossed over, you will pick up the red blaze of the Hidden Valley trail. The Hidden Valley trail leads you first through the old meadow. After making a right at the top of the meadow to start the Hidden Valley loop, follow the red blazes as this loop leads you through wetland forest, streams, rocky hillsides and ends at an old pine forest.

Route highlighted in green:

2) Twin Lakes-Waterfall-Hilltop Loop

Staff pick by:

Mike Tierney

Summer Science Field Technician

Why I love this trail
I enjoy wetland activity, bird watching on the water bodies, and a bumpy hiking trail. The challenges of some of the smaller obstacles on these trails keeps me focused on the walk while keeping my eyes and ears wide open to the wildlife. Following the waterfall trail north up to Spring Valley Road gives a nice look at the hardwood forest while treating you to a small, calming waterfall. Once you cross the road, the Hilltop trail brings you through the woods and around the outside of Teatown Lake for a gorgeous overhead look of the lake. I’d always keep an eye out for waterfowl, raptors, and other birds while taking this route. Finishing this loop around sunset is undeniably the perfect time for the final leg of the journey as the sun sets just over top of the lake.

Approximate time to complete: 2 hours
Difficulty level: Moderate

Take a right out of the nature center and cross Spring Valley Rd. Follow the Twin Lakes Trail (orange blazes) until you reach Vernay Lake, and make a right. When you come to a crossroads with the Waterfall Trail on the right (yellow blazes), follow them through the wetlands until you reach the Spring Valley Rd. Cross the road and make a quick left to pick up the trail. Follow the Lakeside Trail (blue blazes) past the boardwalk on your right (but don’t go over it) until you reach the Hilltop Trail (orange blazes) on your left. Follow the Hilltop until you reach Teatown Lake dam. Turn left and follow the Lakeside Trail back to the Nature Center.

Route highlighted in green:

3) Twin Lakes-Hidden Valley-Hilltop Loop

Staff pick by:

Dianne Barron

Managing Director

Why I love this trail
This loop provides water vistas at both the beginning and end. The HV Connector (white blazes) doesn’t get much traffic and the glen is shaded and serene. The Hilltop gives you a bit of an incline and then another shaded glen with not much traffic, and it feels as though you are far away when you are really quite near.

Approximate time to complete: 45 mins/an hour
Difficulty level: Moderate

Walk out of the nature center and take a right. Cross the street and follow the Twin Lakes Trail (orange blazes) until you arrive at Vernay Lake. Take a left and continue on the Twin Lakes Trail until you reach a left hand fork onto the Hidden Valley Connector Trail (white blazes). Follow the HV Connector through a small field reaching Blinn Rd. Cross the road and climb the stone steps to the right of the red house driveway. Continue on the HV Connector until you reach the juncture with the Hidden Valley Trail (red blazes). Turn left and head down hill and through the field until you again reach Blinn Rd. Cross the road and climb up-hill on the Hilltop Trail (orange blazes). Follow Hilltop until you descend and find yourself at Teatown Lake dam. Turn left and follow the Lakeside Trail back to the Nature Center.

Route highlighted in green:

Full trail map

Find our full trail map and learn more about hiking at Teatown.