Icy trails at Marian Yarrow Sanctuary

click for larger view

click for larger view

Thank goodness for Yaktrax. They made this walk in Westchester possible.

It was in the 50’s on Saturday, and in the 30’s Sunday, then below freezing overnight and this morning, so the trails were very icy. With the Yaktrax strapped to my feet the ice was no problem at all. These things are amazing. I talk this product up so much I should get an endorsement. Right?

Anyhow, this sanctuary, owned by the Nature Conservancy, is in the same area as the Ramsey Hunt Sanctuary (which is owned by the Bedford Audubon Society), but is of a very different nature.

the kiosk

the information kiosk

The trails are very well marked – maybe overly marked – and there is a self-guided tour, though there was no information for this available at the kiosk. Throughout the trail-system are posts with numbers on them, which I assume correspond to some informational tidbit in the guide. It would be interesting to see what it describes.


There are also a lot of old and faded signs telling the names of the trails, not just their color, and one sign asks you, poetically, to respect nature. It’s a nice touch, but a bit overkill. I definitely prefer less blazes and signs. This is where this preserve differs from Ramsay Hunt. The terrain is also much more level.


The Yarrow Sanctuary is part of a larger group of sanctuaries that make up what’s called the Indian Brook Assemblage. It includes Mildred E. Grierson Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mount Holly Preserve. The Grierson Sanctuary is connected to the Yarrow Sanctuary to the north, and together they cover 96 acres, with approximately 2.5 miles of trails. Mount Holly Preserve is to the south about a quarter mile, with its own parking area.

I wanted to enter the Grierson Preserve, which has its entrance on Todd Rd., but couldn’t figure out where to park. There was one spot on the side of the road but it looked too muddy and I didn’t want to risk getting the Volvo stuck. An SUV it ain’t. So I drove back to the Yarrow Sanctuary entrance on Mount Holly Rd. There is a well-defined parking area with space for about three or four cars.


As I said before, the trails were very icy and would have been extremely dangerous if not for the Yaktrax.


A stream runs through the sanctuary, and eventually ends up in a marsh to the east. This marsh is also fed by the Indian Brook.


Way before the marsh the stream feeds into a little pond that has a loop trail around it. The pond right now is completely frozen over.


Something I’ve been thinking about, and that I’ve noticed when reading other blogs, is that photographs are a little bit more interesting when there are people in them. So, in an attempt to make this blog a bit more interesting, I did a self-timed photo of me on the trail. Hopefully I can get some other people to come with me on these walks so I can get more shots with people.


The red trail follows the stream and branches off the green trail. The terrain becomes a bit more varied here and you are eventually led to a little waterfall. A very little waterfall.


I decided to skip the orange trail that takes you through Grierson Sanctuary, as it is an out-and-back trail (not a loop) and it was getting a little late. I have to work, unfortunately. There is also another trail (white) in the Yarrow Sanctuary that takes you up over a small hill which I skipped as well.

All in all this is a very nice sanctuary, though not a very challenging hike. This would be a nice place to come with people who are a little less athletic who still enjoy the outdoors.

I’ll leave you with some additional photos.


the beginning of the red trail

the beginning of the red trail





an old foundation near the entrance to the sanctuary

an old foundation near the entrance to the sanctuary