family-friendly, outdoors-oriented, low or no cost things to do in and around Putnam County

White Pond MUA

Kent, NY

SYNOPSIS: This pond is very popular for boating, fishing, and dog-owners. Swimming is ‘not encouraged’ but a lot of people do it. There is a dock and boat ramp at one end of the parking lot. At the other end is an earthen dam with a paved walkway out to a wooden fishing pier. We have visited on three separate occasions and were amazed at the amount of activity.

APPROXIMATE TIME: Two hours.

DIFFICULTY: Easy.

DIRECTIONS: White Pond is slightly less than seven miles from Route 84 exit 18. From the exit, drive west 1 mile on Route 311. Just after a small causeway that goes over Lake Carmel, make a right onto Route 52 and head north for 2 miles. Just after Kent Primary School, make a left onto Farmers Mill Road. After 3.7 miles make a right onto White Pond Road. Shortly after making the right there is a sign on your left, and a parking lot on your right. The lot can hold 20-25 cars.

THE HIKE: Follow the trail atop the earthen dam to go counter-clockwise around the pond. It took me, a six-year-old, a four-year-old and a dog about two hours. The far side of pond has a lot of nice rock formations and an area with larger trees and a high canopy.

The trail map seemed to indicate that the main-use trail followed the main road to make a loop back to the parking lot. Let me be clear – I do not recommend walking this road if you have kids with you. This road has guard rails on both sides so there was NO shoulder. With two small kids and a large goofy dog, I felt pretty vulnerable walking on the road for this portion of the loop around the lake. The only option is to head back the way you came, which would lengthen the duration and distance of the hike.

The water was very clear, though I would think that the weed growth could get pretty bad because the pond is not very deep. This is a beautiful place to visit in almost any season, and the dock and fishing pier allow water access to the public, which you don’t find often in Putnam County despite our numerous ponds, lakes and reservoirs.

HISTORY: The pond itself is about 125 acres. The entire property is 273 acres. Now a NYS DEC property, it was at one point a New York City reservoir.

MAP & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Our last visit was in May 2009. Pets are allowed if leashed. More info on the property can be found at www.dec.ny.gov, including an official map. I had trouble finding the map at first so you may need to do some exploring. To print the map (assuming the website layout and content stays the same) start on the left side of the homepage. Click on Lands & Waters, then the Forests submenu, then the State Forests submenu, then List of State Forests. On the List of State Forests page, scroll down to Region 3 and click the White Pond MUA link. Once the White Pond page is open, there will be a link on the right for the map or try this link, http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/put4.pdf.