Hiking in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Pound Ridge, NY
The Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is an expansive and diverse park in Westchester County that provides a variety of activities for recreation, including hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, and in the winter, skiing. There’s truly something to do here for everyone.
It’s rocky landscape and open, lush, green trails allow for hikers of any level an opportunity to escape into the woods for a quick stroll, or a longer, more elevated, hike.
This post details the Blue -> Rock -> Dancing Rock -> White trail Loop that features an overlook and a variety of different trail landscapes throughout the park. A commonly stated attribute of Ward Pound Ridge is that it is easy to get lost. This isn’t because of the trail markers, because the trails are actually very well marked. Instead this is because of how many interconnecting trails there are and the sheer number can lead you to get turned around.
So, be sure to plan this trip well and be sure to know where you’re headed before stepping out onto the trail.
Location: Pound Ridge, NY
Distance: 6.0-6.5 miles for the full loop, but you can do shorter sections using intersecting trails to cut the distance
Time: 2-3 hours
Cell-Phone Service: Great
Hours: 8am – Dusk, Year Around
Cost: $10 without park pass, $5 with Westchester County park pass
Bathrooms: 1 portable toilet – other toilets accessible at other parking areas
Dog Friendly: Yes, but only on leash
Location, Parking, and Bathrooms
Ward Pound Ridge has several entrances and parking areas that are not connected inside the park. So, it’s essential you are headed to the right parking area for the trail you plan to complete. For this trail, you’ll want the parking area off of Reservation Rd.
When you pull into the park entrance, there is a long drive (1-2 miles) before reaching the final parking area. You’ll pass through the pay area and then have several options to turn left or right before making it to the parking area for this trail. For this trail, just continue straight – don’t turn off on any of the other roads. Eventually, you’ll see the “Kimberly Bridge Picnic Area” sign with the parking area right past the small bridge. This is where you want to be.
You can continue driving past this point, but very shortly you’ll run into a dead end and need to turn around. So, just pull in here and be prepared to park.
The parking lot has a portable toilet, plenty of parking, and several picnic tables to utilize. There is also a little stream in between the parking area and trail entrance – but note, no swimming allowed!
Ward Pound Ridge Trail Entrance
When you get out of your car, you may look around and think “well where is the trail?” The trail is a minute walk from the parking area. You’ll walk up the road, over the bridge crossing the stream, and then directly across the street from the Kimberly picnic area sign will be the trail entrance. It is located behind a picnic bench and grilling grate if you can’t see it clearly from the road.
There are actually two entrances here – the one shown below, and then also slightly to the left. This is a loop trail, so starting at one will have you ending at the other.
The trail entrance below definitely has a steep first few minutes. It’s the steepest part of the trail, which levels out once you get to the top. The other entrance will have a less steep incline that extends a further distance. I prefer to just get the steep part done with quickly, even if it’s steeper – but choose whichever works best for you.
Again, it’s easy to get a bit lost or end up on the wrong trail at Ward Pound Ridge, so make sure you’re using AllTrails, or have a printed paper map to use. The paper map on the website doesn’t have all the cross-through trails you can use to shorten or extend your hike to different areas. The paper map will work as long as you stick to the main trails, but if you’re looking to adjust more than that then be sure to use All Trails.
Hiking the Ward Pound Ridge Trail – Features
Ward Pound Ridge is a beautiful trail, with lush greenery, streams running through various trails, an overlook, and a variety of large rock and rock structures to see. Each part of the trail really has something different, as the trail beginning looks quite different from the end of the trail.
As there are so many small streams or creeks running through the trail at various points it can get muddy in areas. You also may need to cross over some small water-flow spots using strategically placed rocks.
In several sections, though, Ward Pound Ridge has placed these functional and cute trail bridges to cross. I probably saw 3-4 on this trail alone, and I know there are others elsewhere in the park.
Crossing these make me feel like a kid again – climbing up on something walking one foot in front of the other to get across. They’re just fun!
Additionally, very early on in the hike, just after you climb to the top of the initial steep part of the trail, you’ll come across some metal structures. I believe this used to be a well and a water pump. I love stumbling across structures like these as it reminds me to take a second and think about all the people who used to roam these parks in the past.
There are some fun stories about the Leatherman, a man who, in the 1800s roamed around this area. I imagine he probably took use of this water pump at some point in his travels.
Ward Pound Ridge – Overlook
The overlook is what many people look forward to most in this hike. Elevation isn’t too high (~850 ft), but it does give you a stunning view of the New York countryside in Westchester County. There is also a nice bench located at the top, making it a perfect place to take a seat, drink some water, and just rest from your journey up here.
If you head a little closer to the edge and look down, you will see a large house just to the left at the bottom of this ridge. When circling back down and out to the trail end, you’ll see several no trespassing signs as this house’s property lines up with the park edge.
A great view point for a beautiful and fun hike!
Other Tips to Remember
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is a local gem that has something for everybody. Be sure to bring a map (whether digital or printed) and that you’re prepared for some moderately rocky terrain. It’s beautiful, but requires some decent footing in some areas.
Be sure to protect our environment while you’re out and practice the principles of leave no trace.
Hiking at Ward Pound Ridge will leave you feeling energized and recharged, while experiencing the beauty of Pound Ridge New York, in Westchester County.
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