Hiking at Mianus River Gorge in Westchester Co. NY
The Mianus River Gorge Preservation is a beautiful hiking trail that features a waterfall, an overlook, and a stunning gorge.
If you’re new to hiking (or getting back into it) this is a great hike to get out into nature and break in those hiking shoes. The hike starts out next to the Mianus River, and the babbling brook sounds will carry you into the lush green forest and out into the Mianus River Reservoir, which provides drinking water to 130,000 people!
There are some smaller ups and downs on the trail, but clearly this hike is meant more for beautiful scenery than intensity.
Overview of Mianus River Gorge Hiking Trails
Location: Bedford, NY – just across the Stamford, CT border
It can be tricky to find – so if you’re struggling put “Millers Mill Road” into the GPS, and turn onto the dirt road, “Mianus River Road”. It will be on your left.
Distance: 5.0 miles for the full loop – can do shorter durations
Time: 2-5 hours, depending on length and time at the waterfall
Features: Overlook, Waterfall, Quarry, and Reservoir
Hours: 8:30am-5pm, April 1st-November 30th
Cost: Free, but suggested $5 donation
Parking: Decent, but can be tough at tricky hours
Bathrooms: Porta-Potty only as of May 2021, regular bathrooms were damaged in a storm
Dog Friendly: No dogs are not allowed at this reservation (even while leashed).
Cell-Phone Service: Spotty signal at best
Location of Mianus River Gorge Park
This hiking trail can be a bit of a struggle to locate because there isn’t an address. The GPS leads you to an unmarked location on a dirt road, so be prepared. You can’t just type this into Google Maps.
You can use the link here, which should take you to the right location. Otherwise, type in “Miller’s Mill Road” in Bedford, NY and from there you can turn onto “Mianus River Road” and this dirt road will lead directly to the entrance on the left.
Parking and Bathrooms for Mianus River Gorge
The parking lots are well maintained, but there can be limited parking. Street parking is also not allowed so I would recommend going at off-peak hours.
As of May 2021, the only bathroom is a large porta-potty. Their normal bathroom facility was damaged in a recent winter storm.
Mianus River Gorge Trail Entrance
The hiking trail entrance is easy to locate at the end of the parking lot. This is the main entrance for the red, blue, and green trails.
Beginning of the Trail
At the end of the parking lot you’ll see this trail marker, which will take you to most of the Mianus River hiking trails
During the pandemic, the hikings trails were changed into one-way trails. Hikers will start on the red trail and loop around to the blue trail before returning back to the parking lot. If you don’t want to do the full trail loop, there are four opportunities to cut over to the blue trail and head back at various locations.
Choose whatever feels right to you!
During the 2020 and 2021 years, the hiking trails are one-way for social distancing. You’ll take the red out and blue back if you want to see the sights below
All of the blue-trail intersections occur before the outlets to the overlook, waterfall, and reservoir. So, if you really want to see those features then stay on the red trail until you’ve gotten there.
Hiking the Mianus River Gorge Trail – The Main Features
The best part of this hike is how many beautiful and interesting features exist! It also helps that all of them are so easy to reach without going a long distance away from the main trail.
The first offshoot you’ll come across is the one leading to the Hobby Hill Quarry. This stunning stone shoots forth from the forest towering over the trail. Pictures don’t do this justice, as it is so magical to see in person.
Hobby Hill Quarry
You’ll hear the dripping of water cascading down the rocks. It’s extremely beautiful
As you keep walking on the red trail, you’ll next come across the reservoir overlook, followed by the Havemeyer Falls. Some have said that the overlook can appear overgrown at times, so we skipped this to spend more time at the falls.
One of the most exciting features on a hike is coming across a waterfall! Something about the water crashing over the rocks and pooling at the bottom takes my breath away, no matter how big or small the falls are.
It is about 3.5 miles from the parking lot to the waterfall. The offshoot trail is clearly marked, but it is a bit steep to walk down to where you view the falls. I think it’s worth the trip. This is a great place to rest and take in the beauty around you.
The offshoot will take you down a steep incline to the falls. You can see where the falls meet the reservoir.
After the falls, you’ll hike on a slight decline down to the S.J. Bargh Reservoir. Once here you’ll be able to look out into the entire reservoir.
S.J. Bargh Reservoir
Very tempting to swim, but swimming is not allowed. This is drinking water for the city!
What goes down must come back up, so once you leave the reservoir it’s a steady incline all the way back to the falls. It’s not too tough, but it had me a bit out of breath. You’ll walk back the way you came on the red trail, but once the blue trail intersects (about a mile from the reservoir), you’ll turn off on blue and make your way back to the parking lot. There is clear signage to direct you.
Other Tips to Remember
As always when you’re out in nature, leave no trace. Take out anything you bring in, and leave the plants, animals, and rocks where you found them. Also, although it’s tempting, no swimming is allowed here. Remember, this is public drinking water and that’s just gross!
Hiking the Mianus River Gorge Preserve will leave you feeling rejuvenated and allow you to really see the beauty of nature found in Westchester County, New York.
Have you hiked here before? Planning on doing this hike? Tell us about it below!
This preservation is run by Mianus River Gorge Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation and management of the Mianus River Watershed.
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