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New York State Parks

Old Croton


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The Old Croton Aqueduct was a large and complex water distribution system constructed for New York City between 1837 and 1842.  It brought water by the force of gravity 41 miles from the Croton River in Westchester County into reservoirs in Manhattan, where local water resources had become polluted and inadequate for the growing population of the city.

The need for a new supply of fresh water was crucial and in 1837 construction began on a massive engineering project to divert it from sources upstate.  Water started flowing through the aqueduct on June 22, 1842, taking 22 hours for gravity to take the water the 41 miles to reach Manhattan. 

The Old Croton Aqueduct continued to provide water to New York City until 1965.  In 1968, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation purchased 26.2 miles of the original 41 mile aqueduct from New York City. Presently, Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park is a linear park which runs from Van Cortlandt Park at the Bronx County/City of Yonkers border to the Croton Dam in Cortlandt.

In 1992 the Old Croton Aqueduct was awarded National Historic Landmark Status. The scenic path over the underground aqueduct winds through urban centers and small communities. It passes near numerous historic sites, preserves, plus a museum highlighting the construction of the Aqueduct, and many homes.

The Aqueduct’s grassy and dirt path provides many recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts with the main activity being walking.  However parts of the trail are used by bikers and even horses.  Find more information on this historic park from the NY State Parks website.  The NY State Parks website also has a Park Trail Map.  The NY-NJ Trail Conference offers the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail Map for sale.

Here's some popular hikes located in the park according to the NY-NJ Trail Conference website:

  1. Old Croton Aqueduct from Ossining to Quaker Bridge (5.5 miles, easy to moderate)
  2. Old Croton Aqueduct from Tarrytown to Yonkers (9 miles, easy)
  3. Old Croton Aqueduct from Tarrytown to Ossining (9 miles, easy to moderate)

How do I get to Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park?

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