With over 1,400 sprawling acres, numerous species of wildlife, and miles upon miles of trails, the Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester, New York, is the perfect place to relax amongst nature. Guests can enjoy an abundance of recreational activities including birdwatching, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding, or simply sit back and take in the incredible scenic views. Located 30 miles from bustling New York City and just 30 minutes from the Stanton House Inn in Greenwich, Connecticut, a trip to Rockefeller State Park is a wonderful way to spend the day.
Explore the Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Named after the famous Rockefeller family, the Preserve land is comprised of a portion of the family estate in Pocantico Hills and was donated to the state of New York in 1983. Now open to the public, guest can explore open meadows, dense forest, winding rivers, and wetlands from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM every day except Christmas. In addition to its beautiful natural surroundings, the Preserve is home to the Rockefeller Art Gallery as well as a variety of fascinating sites and monuments. Here are some things you’ll see at Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
13 Bridges Loop Trail
This moderate 3-mile loop winds along the park and takes you through a beautiful evergreen forest, where you’ll reach the 13 bridges that pass over Gory Brook. You’ll also have fantastic views of Swan Lake, a 22-acre body of water where anglers can fish for bass in the summertime. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trial, so feel free to bring your furry friends along for a relaxing stroll.
Carriage Road System
One of the most notable features of the Preserve is the 55-mile system of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Designed to complement the picturesque landscape, these scenic paths wind through the Preserve and traverse many wood and stone bridges with views of the Hudson River. One road even passes by the foundation of Rockwood Hall, the former 220-room home of William Rockefeller. Equestrians are welcome to ride saddleback on the carriage roads and trail maps are available at the Preserve Office.
Following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the town of Yatsuka Cho, Japan, gifted over 500 peonies to the United States as a memorial. Japan considers the peony to be the most noble of flowers and it is the signature flower for the region. The Rockefeller Preserve accepted the generous gift and even renovated the entrance to the Preserve to accommodate the peonies. Located next to the art gallery, these beautiful flowers bloom every spring in late April through early May.
Keep Exploring the Nearby Area
Once you’re finished hiking the trails of Rockefeller State Park Preserve, check out a few date night ideas on our guide to the best things to do at night near Greenwich. Tarrytown, Croton-on-Hudson, Briarcliff Manor, and Elmsford, NY, are all nearby and offer some unique experiences to finish-up your day.
If you’re willing to cross the border, be sure to explore our list of the best state parks in Connecticut.