SYNOPSIS: The trail follows an old dirt road down to the ruins of the Knickerbocker ice harvesting compound that sits along the edge of Ice Pond. The trail is easy to follow, and after exploring the ruins, the return trip is a good cardio workout.
APPROXIMATE TIME: 45 minutes.
DIFFICULTY: Easy in, moderate out. It’s all uphill on the way out!
DIRECTIONS: From Route 84 exit 19, turn left to head east on Route 312. Go .9 miles. Just before the railroad crossing, make a left onto aptly named Ice Pond Road. Up a long winding hill, the preserve is just over the top of the mountain on the right at 1.2 miles. Look for the preserve sign on the tree. There is enough space for four or five cars to park.
THE HIKE: The trailhead is well-marked and starts with a long, straight, slow descent down an old dirt road. As the path becomes steeper and curvier, you get glimpses of Ice Pond if the foliage is thin enough.
You will arrive at a T intersection. We didn’t have enough time to explore the left/north-heading trail. Plus, I think it heads into private property, so we went right/south. Descending further down the hill, you will make a wide, slow turn to the left. At the bottom, there is an old fishing cabin that is boarded-up. Long before the cabin was built, this area was the location of the ice house, which was 300 feet long, and almost as wide.
Behind the house there is a opening in the fence that leads to the LIVE Metro North train tracks, and there are no-trespassing sings posted so do not go near the tracks.
When you are done exploring, hike back the way you came in. The walk back is considerably more difficult since it is all uphill. If you like trail running, this would be an intense run because of the uphill return.
HISTORY: Years ago, ice was harvested from the pond and shipped down to New York City. The Knickerbocker Ice Company ran a large operation at this site from about 1900 to the mid-1920’s.
Ice Pond Conservation Area is owned by the Putnam County Land Trust. In 1976, local residents George and Pam Shawe donated 18 acres to PCLT. In 1999, an additional 104 acres was acquired via state grants and donation from an entity called Ice Pond Corporation.
MAP & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Our last visit was in October of 2017 with my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. October is my favorite time of year to visit Ice Pond. Pets are allowed if leashed.
For more info on the preserve, including a map, visit www.pclt.net.