Recently, our family visited Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County. The park’s main entrance is located off of Route 117 in Pleasantville. Since that first visit several weeks ago, we’ve already been back. The park includes over 1600 acres that were deeded to New York State as a generous gift from the Rockefeller Family. Much of the park was designed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. beginning in 1910 and reflects his passions of conserving nature and carriage driving. Today, over 350,000 people visit this park every year.
The Visitor Center is open from 9 to 4:30 PM with a person inside available to answer questions. Outside the visitor center are maps of the trails.
Rockefeller Park also has an art gallery on premise, which is open from 9 AM – 4: 30 PM.
The current exhibit, “Winged Jewels of the Forest” is on display until August 13. All of the artwork is available for purchase and proceeds that the Preserve receives directly support the gallery.
The park has four main areas, Swan Lake, Eagle Hill, Rockwood Hall and Buttermilk Hill. Each area consists of several different trails that you can walk, jog, or in winter, cross-country ski on. You can even get a permit to horseback ride or carriage drive on the trails.
Our family enjoys visiting parks to hike and geocache. However, during trout and bass season, fishing is permitted with a state license and in winter cross-country skiing is allowed. On this trip we started out on Deer Run and then walked Brothers’ Path which circles around Swan Lake. The path is 1.1. miles and a perfect, short hike. It was a beautiful day and we saw many other hikers and joggers along the trails. Using the geocache app, we found four caches on our first trip.
On our second trip we walked a little bit of Overlook Trail. Then we went back to the parking lot and walked Glacier Erratic, where you can find this amazing rock formation.
With almost 40 trails, this is a local park that you can visit and hike many times without getting bored.
Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve work with New York State to, “promote the conservation and operation of the Preserve.” Donations to the Friends go directly into preserving and maintaining the park, as well as supporting educational programs. Upcoming events include Rocky’s 5K.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, NY 10570
Parking: $6 or free with an Empire Pass
Tips to know:
There are bathrooms in the art gallery and in the main parking area.
There are a couple of picnic tables near the park entrance.
Be sure to pack bug spray and sun screen.
We like to carry water with us as we hike.