Ossining’s Crawbuckie Park / Nature Preserve (open in Google Maps) is a woodland riverfront park and preserve accessible by car via Beach Rd. Parking is available at the entrance to the park’s trails, at the end of Beach Rd. The preserve is on the edge of Brayton Park, part of the North Village neighborhood.
Take a walk through the Edward M. Wheeler Crawbuckie Nature Preserve! For some beautiful early-morning light, start as much before 9:00 AM as you can muster the troops. Check out some pictures below.
There are 20+ acres of natural Hudson River Valley rain forest (it seriously looks like a rain forest in places) in this preserve. There are lovely trails that wind through the forest, where you will often see the river glimmering at you through the trees, and in some spots a more open Hudson River view. There are trees like cathedrals that are 3 and 4 feet in diameter. Some of these trees date back to when the area was home to Dr. Benjamin Brandreth’s 35-room mansion Glyndon:
Trails for walking or, if you're adventurous, jogging.
Benches and observation platforms along the trails, particularly closer to the water.
A real highlight is the symphony of bird songs. Against the quiet of the woods their calls seem to be played through a loudspeaker.
The preserve is populated by numerous bird species due to its huge diversity of trees. Ossining resident Robert Havell Jr. was the engraver for John J Audubon’s seminal work Birds of America (the “world’s most expensive book“). Audobon collected and studied in the Crawbuckie area.
Listen to the 6-minute North American Bird Song Quiz Video on Youtube with your children (or friends), preferably a few times, but at least once just before going out to Crawbuckie so you can identify some of the birds from their calls. Practice your bird calls before going and see if you can strike up a conversation!
This would also make a great Scouting event.
The land that makes up the current Crawbuckie Preserve was reportedly obtained by Ossining starting in 1967, with later additions being made. There was a trail but it was poor and public usage was low. In 2012, Ossining contracted Tahawus Trails LLC to design and build a new trail system that would allow for better access.
The 3/4 mile natural surface trail includes 65 stone steps, a 65-foot boardwalk, 7 wooden benches and 3 observation platforms. One day (hopefully), this trail will be part of the planned continuous trail from Yonkers to Peekskill, the Westchester Riverwalk.
There is also a 300-foot long accessible trail that provides an additional viewing area of the river with access from the main parking lot. You can theoretically get in there with a wheelchair, but it won’t be a walk in the park, so to speak. The river view from the upper viewing area will definitely be better in the fall/winter after the foliage is gone.