The Westchester County Department of Parks, Conservation, and Recreation manages the 190-acre Cranberry Lake Preserve. Since 1967, the park has provided a safe refuge for turtles, migrating birds, and dragonflies, among other species and flora near Armonk, NY.
The current Cranberry Lake Preserve property was essential in constructing the Kensico Dam. The construction was before Westchester County bought it in 1967. The dam of 1917 is less than a mile distant. Most of the stone used in its construction came from the preserve’s current location.
The preserve’s history, and its importance in the construction of Kensico Dam, make it worth visiting. The preserve has a network of paths, with numbered markers indicating route intersections. With so many paths crossing one another, it is easy to explore the preserve.
The Environmental Center hosts events and has a range of educational, interactive displays. There are also live animals on weekends. Fishing, bicycles, and dogs should be off the reserve to safeguard the natural Lake.
A chorus of spring peepers emerges from the various vernal ponds early in the spring, providing a prelude to the new season. Summer days are made more bearable by being shaded by a forest canopy. A trip around Cranberry Lake when the fall colors are at their height is a visual treat. A perfect calmness after a winter snowfall entices snowshoers and intrepid hikers.
Most of the stone used to build the dam was from the preserve. Quarry operations are an industrial activity that needs a large amount of area for gear and equipment, such as a sandpit, an electric plant, a stone crushing plant, and train tracks for material delivery. This left an indelible imprint on the terrain, still present today.
The old houses and schools of Italian workers who were the primary builders of the dam are to the south. These residents, with their families, helped establish the character of Valhalla and the neighboring settlements.
The Red and Yellow trails are loops that allow you to follow one color before returning to your starting place. The Blue Trail is no longer a circle because a boardwalk piece spanning South Pond became hazardous. The Nature Center has trails that slope downward to the lake. Trails that connect have white or orange blazes.
It takes 58 minutes to finish what is considered a challenging course. Because this is a popular spot for hiking, strolling, and other natural excursions, you will run into other people while exploring.
Follow the History Trail to the ruins of a 19th-century farmhouse and an early 20th-century stone-mining enterprise to learn about the area’s history.