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This is a flat, family friendly trail, highlighted with the Croton Dam, the Double Arch (a unique bridge-within-a-bridge, located in Ossining across from the Ossining Museum), New Croton Dam (an unusual spillway makes for a pretty waterfall at the state of the Croton River), Weir Chambers (located along the trail at various locations, they were constructed to enable Overseers and Caretakers to control the flow of water through the Aqueduct for repairs, inspections, or to completely drain the line). Also look for the ventilators that are located along the trail, constructed to ventilate the aqueduct.
Need to Know
Parking by the dam is permitted. Navigating the trail through the Village of Ossining is a bit challenging, but there are some blazes tacked up to the utility poles.
Plenty of great paces to eat and drink in the Village of Ossining.
Starting from the New Croton Dam, you are immediately inspired by the raw power of the spillway. Heading south, you hike through the OCA State Park, passing Weir chambers and ventilators. The trail is wide and easy to follow until about three miles in, just past Gerlach Park.
The trail crosses Hillcrest Avenue and then winds behind the GE Management Institute. Follow the trail along the fence line down to old Albany Post Road. There are a few old bollards marking the trail. Turn left, up Ogden Road, and you'll resume following the trail through a small right of way, on the right hand side of the road, tucked into a residential neighborhood.
Follow the trail until it crosses RT 9 and continues to head south towards the Village of Ossining. You'll cross several streets on your way to the Double Archway, located behind the Village Community Center and OCA Museum.
On Maple Street, turn right and head to Spring Street, where you'll turn left and continue until you reach the park on Everett Avenue next to Park School. You'll transect the park and the adjacent Nelson Field until you reach RT 9. The trail crosses RT 9 and there is an OCA bollard next to the bicycle rack on the southern end of the apartment building directly across from Nelson Field. The trail resumes on the other-side of the parking lot.
The OCA returns to the woods behind several apartment buildings and condominiums for another mile through Briarcliff. A kiosk and directional panel are located at Long Hill Road. Turn around and retrace your steps back to the dam.
History & Background
This information applies to the entire Old Croton Aqueduct which runs from New Croton Dam in Westchester County, to Bryant Park, in Manhattan.
The Old Croton Aqueduct was the first water pipe from upstate to NYC. It was built in the 1840s. The aqueduct was constructed flat with a downward grade of 13' per mile. When they ran into hills they either tunneled through them or constructed cut and cover. At vallieys they built viaducts across them. So overall the trail is pretty flat with a slight descent toward the City, but every now and then you do have to go uphill, sometimes steeply. Since then the area has been built up and people's back yards go right up to the edge of the right of way is some places. The closer you get to the City the more built up the surroundings are and in Manhattan the indications of where the aqueduct is are fairly subtle until you learn what to look for.
Shared By: Joshua Howard