Croton Gorge Park, located in Cortlandt, New York, is worth a quick stop if only to witness the grandeur of the New Croton Dam and the impressive force of the overflowing water and rock solid icicles. Though that shouldn't stop you from extending your stay and enjoying more of what the park has to offer.
The Old Croton Dam, which was replaced by the new dam, was the first large masonry dam to provide water to New York City and was completed in 1842. The surrounding park is 97 acres and is often visited for sledding and cross-country skiing in the winter as well as hiking, picnicking, and fishing in the summer.
The damn stands 200 feet high and has a capacity of 34 billion gallons of water. The road crossing the top of the damn is no longer open to cars due to security concerns, however it is open for pedestrians and bicyclists. Elsewhere in the park is a baseball field, a fountain that can be operated by the pressure from the reservoir, and of course the resident wildlife.
Whatever time of the year that you visit, make sure to spend some time in front of the dam itself (just keep an eye out for cars!). The weight and force of the roaring water is the perfect backdrop for any activity. Though if you're looking to have a quiet conversation with a friend, grab one of those picnic tables a little further away from all the commotion.
What: Croton Gorge Park
Where: Cortlandt, New York, Westchester County
When & What to Do:
- Winter for sledding and cross-country skiing
- Spring, Summer, or Fall for picnics, walks, and fishing
- Year Round for checking out the dam (though not during droughts!)
How Long: Just ten minutes if you're stopping through to see the dam, but longer if you're coupling it with an activity