Activities at the Preserve
While the roads were originally designed for equestrians and carriage driving, they are also perfect for walking, jogging, hiking, cross-country skiing, nature study, bird watching, photography and walking a leashed dog.
- The Preserve is open dawn to dusk
- Interacting with wildlife or farm animals is not permitted
- Smoking, alcohol, fires of any sort and camping are not permitted
- Visitors should remain on the trails at all times
- No ball playing, picnicking, or sledding (except in Rockwood Hall area)
- No bicycling
- Schools must register before visiting
Rockwood Hall - The following activities are permitted:
- Ball playing
- Kite flying
- Sledding and snowboarding in designated area only
The Preserve is classified as an Audubon New York Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society, demonstrating that the environment supports a wide variety of birds as well as their occurrence in sufficient numbers. Birdwatchers and naturalists will be pleased to know that the Worm Eating Warbler and the Wood Thrush’s estimated number of breeding pairs is at, or above, the breeding number. This is significant because these species have been in decline.
Walking and Jogging
The Preserve trails are considered ideal by runners for their sure footing, gentle grades, and beautiful scenery. For everyone’s safety, it is important to be aware of the Park Regulations, particularly yielding to and keeping a safe distance from equestrians and carriages. Swan Lake tends to get crowded on weekends with families, equestrians, and the elderly so alternate, less crowded trails are advised. Inquire at the Preserve Office about trails that are less populated and about those that are restricted to groups of runners larger than 4.
- Request permission to walk, single file, past equestrians and carriages
- Go around stopped horses; do not run through
- Alert hikers and walkers prior to passing (pass on the right, if possible)
- Be aware of and courteous to the elderly and families with small children (pass on the right, if possible)
- Groups should run 2 abreast
The preserve is a beautiful place for visitors to walk their dogs. For the safety and consideration of all Preserve visitors, please observe the following:
- State law requires that dogs must be leashed at all times
- Dog refuse in the courtyard and parking lot must be removed
- Dog refuse on trails must be pushed to the side of trail
- Dog refuse center is on Swan Lake Access trail; bagged refuse may be left there
- Do not leave bagged refuse on trails or in the bathrooms
Horseback Riding and Carriage Driving
Bring your horse and carriage and experience over 55 miles of carriage roads that traverse acres of woodlands, fields, wetlands, bridges, and waterways, with beautiful views of the Hudson River. The carriage roads were designed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., whose vision was to preserve the natural beauty of the area while providing an open welcoming and healing environment to be enjoyed by everyone.
The Preserve offers a unique and unparalleled experience for equestrians on the historic carriage roads. Daily and annual equestrian passes are required, permit available for download here. If driving to the Preserve, a daily parking ticket or an annual Empire Parking Passport is also needed. Trailer parking is available at the Preserve main entrance. 2018-2019 Equestrian Permit
- Annual permits must be displayed at all times
- Helmets are required for all riders
- Horses must be fully bridled/no ponying
- Galloping is not permitted
- Walk only on Brothers Path/Swan Lake
- Pass others in single file at a walk
- Yield to working vehicles
- Courtyard area is off-limits
Visitors can fish in the Pocantico River and Swan Lake in season.
- A current NYS Fishing License and orange Rockefeller State Park Preserve permit tag are required and must be displayed. RSPP permit tags can be obtained at the visitor center.
- All NYS fishing and Rockefeller State Park Preserve rules apply
- Trout season begins April 1st on the Pocantico River
- Bass fishing begins the 3rd Saturday in June on Swan Lake
- Anglers are required to clean up before leaving
Cross Country Skiing and Snow Shoeing
Cross country skiing and snow shoeing are a popular winter sports at the Preserve. Although trails are un-groomed, visitors find it a fun and exhilarating way to enjoy the surroundings.
The Preserve is a wonderful environment to take pictures of nature. The Art Gallery’s annual exhibition SNAP! is an opportunity to exhibit your Preserve photographs. Permits are required for professional photographers, film makers, and college student film projects. Please call 914-631-1470 for more information.
Bicycles are not allowed in the Preserve.