Important Message for Equestrians: Please read before bringing your horse to the Park.
Visitors will delight in the ever growing haven of open space in Westchester County known as Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Approximately 30 miles from the hustle and bustle of New York City, the Preserve is an idyllic spot for strolling, jogging, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. With 180 recorded species of birds and its IBA (Important Bird Area) designation by the National Audubon Society, the Preserve is a must visit area for birders. In season, licensed anglers enjoy fishing for bass in the 22 acre Swan Lake and for brown trout in the Pocantico River.
In addition the beauty of the Preserve inspires many artists and photographers to memorialize its scenic vistas. While in the park, stop in the Preserve's Gallery across from the Visitor Center. Its rotating exhibits feature the art of local artists. Within walking distance are the Preserve's nearest neighbors - The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a nonprofit farm and educational center designed to demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production and Blue Hill restaurant.
These numerous outdoor opportunities exist due to the foresight and generosity of the Rockefeller family. The Preserve land is comprised of a portion of the Rockefeller family estate in Pocantico Hills given to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in 1983. Since the Preserve's inception, additional bequeaths have extended its size to over 1,400 acres.
The most notable feature of the Preserve is the system of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Designed to complement the landscape, the carriage roads, many of which are accessible, allow visitors to experience and enjoy the natural wonders of the area. These scenic paths wind through wetlands, woodlands, meadows, and fields and past streams, rivers, and lakes while traversing wood and stone bridges. One road passes by the foundation of Rockwood Hall, once the 220 room home of William Rockefeller. Its Olmsted designed landscape with its panoramic view of the Hudson River remains a spot of beauty for all who visit. Trail maps (with distance and grade descriptions) of all the carriage roads and equestrian permits are available at the Preserve Office. Swimming, biking, snowmobiling, camping, and open fires are strictly prohibited.
Looking for volunteer opportunites at the park? Visit: rsppvolunteers
From NYC by train: Metro North Hudson Line to the Tarrytown Station. From there you can take a short taxi ride from train station to the Preserve Office on Rt. 117 in Pleasantville. At the Preserve Office you can obtain a map and other important area information.
Don't miss these popular destinations and attractions within or near the park preserve:
Household pets only; must be on a leash not more that 10 feet long. Pets are not permitted in buildings.
Picnicking: Extremely limited. No picnic pavilions on premesis.
There is no picnicking allowed in the area of the carriage trails--the area that begins at the visitors' center and spreads both east and west. There are, however, several picnic tables opposite the equestrian parking lot which is just before you enter the general parking area. The public may use those tables. There is also a table opposite the VUF booth, and in the back of the paved parking lot, in the woods.
At Rockwood Hall the public may picnic on the grounds, however BBQs are not permitted. There are no restroom facilities available at Rockwood Hall.
Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.
Your key to all season enjoyment of state parks is our season's pass. For $65, the Empire Passport provides you unlimited day use vehicle entry into most of our parks. Apply on-line or call your favorite park for more information.
*Collected via automated pay station.
New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.
Highlights of Rockefeller State Park Preserve:
What will you see? Plan your trip today!
Look and listen for these birds at our Park:
Everyone is a Steward: Be a Rockefeller State Park Preserve Hero!
For more information, please read our Trail Tips!
Ask a Naturalist!
Q: What is the black bird with the long neck sitting on the log in the lake?
A: That is a cormorant, a fish eating bird species. Cormorants stop to dive for the fish in Swan Lake during their annual migration. They spread their wings to dry out after swimming, because they do not have oil on their wings like ducks do.
Q: Can you see the Hudson River from the Park?
A: Yes, there are spectacular views of the Hudson River and Palisades from the hilltop at Rockwood Hall. This is also a good place to view bald eagles in the winter.
Q: Are there fish in the lake and rivers?
A: The warm waters of Swan Lake support large-mouth bass, crappie, pumpkinseeds, bluegills, and bullhead catfish. Pocantico River is habitat for caddis fly larvae, which are the favorite food of the stocked brown trout. Trout fishing season is from April 1 to October 15. In Bass Lake, fishing season runs from the third Saturday in June to November 30. Anglers 16 years and older must have a Rockefeller State Park Preserve fishing permit, obtained for no charge at the Preserve office, and a valid NYS fishing license.
Q: Do I have to worry about ticks?
A: RSPP carriage roads serve as wide trails so visitors do not brush against tall grass and brush, the habitat of ticks. Over 40 miles of carriage roads enable visitors to safely and easily access most parts of the park-preserve. However, you should still check your skin and clothing for ticks after being outdoors. Showering soon after being outdoors gives you an opportunity for a full body tick check and can help wash off unattached ticks. If you find a tick, you should remove it and speak with you doctor if any signs of illness occur.
Q: What is the vine with the mottled turquoise blue berries?
A: It is Porcelainberry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), an ornamental vine with grape-like leaves that was introduced to the US from northeast Asia in 1870. Spread by birds, it is now very abundant and forms thick walls of vines draped on trees in the park and along Westchester parkways. It is considered to be an invasive species that outcompetes many native wildflowers, trees and shrubs.
More Interesting Facts about Rockefeller State Park Preserve:
Here I sit on Buttermilk Hill,
Who should blame me cry my fill?
And every tear would work a mill,
Johnny has gone for a soldier.
In 1886, William Rockefeller bought the 200-acre estate and castle, Rockwood, from the heirs of William Henry Aspinwall. Seven years later, John D. Rockefeller bought land in 1893 at Pocantico Hills.
Since 1983, over 1,000 acres of their estate at Pocantico Hills have been deeded to the State of New York. Laurance S. Rockefeller donated the property to New York State in 1999, as part of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve will conduct a controlled bow hunt this fall. To participate, hunters must commit to a minimum of five days of effort. Applications and conditions of the hunt may be obtained in person at the Preserve Office, on the park website (below), or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions can be directed to the Preserve Office at 914-631-1470, ext. 120.
Audubon meets once a month at the preserve for a bird walk. Check www.sawmillriveraudubon.org for updates to event or for info on other upcoming events.