Kennedy Dells County Park

Sunbeams over Waterfall
Sunbeams bursting through fog and forest above the Crum Creek waterfall pouring over ruins. Kennedy Dells County Park, New York

Distance: 1.6 miles

Type: Loop

Difficulty: Easy

The Bridle Path in Kennedy Dells County Park makes for a great small excursion for people in the area, though it packs an unexpected surprise that’s worth going out of your way for. Tucked away in this obscure county park are not only ruins from a century ago, but also a spectacularly beautiful waterfall. Admittedly, it was built up when the original architecture was put in place, however, the water pouring over the decaying stone wall paints a picture of a simpler and more relaxed time, transporting you away from the busyness of modern life found nearby. Similarly, the white noise from the crashing of the falls will also drown out any surrounding noises, to surround you in a picturesque setting from centuries ago.

Bridle Path Trail Description

From the main parking area, head up the wide path for .1 miles, then look for the official start to the Bridle Path on your right, marked by the white markers. It will pass over a small footbridge as it begins a relaxing and easy journey into the woods.

Bridle Path Crossing Footbridge
The Bridle Path crossing a small footbridge over a forest drainage. Kennedy Dells County Park, New York

Wind along the embankment through tall trees rising high above, and at the following trail junction, continue right, heading toward the park’s perimeter. This will quickly lead you to another junction at the boundary of an old evergreen farm, indicated by a sign marking the Eleanor Burlingham Tree Nursery, which operated from 1913 all the way until 1991. Head right again along the north side of the tree nursery where you’ll soon cross another small footbridge.

You’ll be led through a beautiful forest along the northern perimeter of the park, where you’ll encounter another junction, heading right once again. The trail from here will lead you to the back side of a residential neighborhood, as well as a small parking area at the end of a street.

The trail breaks away from the neighborhood as it takes the form of an old weathered road. It’s here that you’ll begin to hear a more prominent rushing of water from the creek now below on your right, just below a small embankment you’re hiking along.

After passing through a brief section of mixed trees, a small carriage road veers away from the trail off to the right. Follow this down to access the ruins and waterfall.

Fall colors reflected in a slow moving section of Crum Creek. Kennedy Dells County Park, New York

Pouring over part of what was once an old driveway, a roughly twenty-foot waterfall splashes down in a small pool below, the remaining ruins ever so gradually weathering away in their own sweet time. The creator of these ruins was a wealthy individual who was keen on turning the nearby town of New City into the Hollywood of the east. Located just downstream from the falls is a small hut he built for himself and his guests which is still partially standing, but has unfortunately been desecrated with significant amounts of graffiti. Surrounding the falls and ruins are an umber mud and stone, which can be slick when wet, so use caution when exploring the area. Farther downstream from the falls the creek slithers through the forest, disappearing into the lush trees. Regardless of the graffiti, the location still makes for a fantastic place to relax, helping you to feel like you’re in a much more remote location.

Once you’ve had your fill of the falls, head back out the same way you came to access the trail once again. Resume the trail by heading right, where, after passing through the woods for a short distance, you’ll come to trail junctions for both the blue and orange blazed trails, respectively. Both are shortcuts back to the larger trails that can bring you back to the parking areat. Otherwise to finish the Bridle Path, continue straight ahead for a peaceful meander along the creek.

The trail will end as it intersects with a larger trail, where you can either head back to the parking area, or access other intersecting trails to add a little more mileage.

Getting There

From downtown New City, New York, drive north on Main Street for 1.5 miles, then turn left into the main entrance for Kennedy Dells County Park. Head to the end of the road, passing the picnic area and fields and catch the trail next to the parking area.