Ice Pond Conservation Area
Town of Patterson – 104.0 Acres
The Ice Pond lies between two forested ridges which rise over 400 feet and contribute to the great diversity of wildlife by offering a wide range of habitats for birds, aquatic species, mammals, reptiles, insects, plants, and amphibians.
The New York Botanical Gardens has created a dataset specifically for the Ice Pond Conservation Area. You can find that page here.
Ice Harvesting was a winter activity conducted by local farmers on lakes throughout Putnam County for use in private homes and on dairy farms. The Beer’s Atlas map of 1867 shows an earlier ice-house at Ice Pond located between the shore of what was then called Croton Lake and the present Metro North tracks. A large commercial ice-house built by the Knickerbocker Ice Company replaced it around the turn of the century. The operation of commercial ice-houses stopped some time in the mid-twenties due to advances in refrigeration and the ice-house at Towner’s was dismantled by 1930.
Exploring The Preserve
The ice house was taken down by 1930, and the remaining structures burned down in a forest fire at a later date. The cement stairway from the tracks to the bunkhouse is still in place with the charred remains of cast iron stoves and bedsprings jumbled together in the overgrown foundation. Bricks, a cut stone foundation, a double vaulted cistern, and a scatter of broken pottery on the hillside mark the remains of the foreman’s house. All that is left to indicate the scale of this one thriving industry are the foundations of the rooms of the enormous ice-house that once dominated the shore, now barely visible beneath the trees and ferns of the forest.
About the Trail
The trail is approximately 1/4 mile long and consists of the old access road which leads down to the Pond and the previous owner’s fishing lodge. The trail descends gradually at first and then the pitch increases as you approach the pond. The lodge will be visible on your left and just beyond, railroad tracks and the pond. The railroad tracks are active, they are NOT preserve property. Please stay off the tracks. The train tracks are dangerous, and trespassers may be injured or prosecuted.
From Route 312, turn onto Ice Pond Road, which is next to the Metro North Railroad tracks. Preserve is located on right near top of hill.
Parking is limited and go slow once on Ice Pond, a mostly dirt road. Look for the large brown sign with the preserve name on it and parking is just off on the side of the road. Note: Historical brochure available at sign-in box, however, historical trail not completed at this time.
Hiking, mountain biking, fishing (from shore only) and bird watching opportunities exist on both shores. The eastern shoreline is accessible from both the PCLT’s Twin Hills Preserve and the Town of Patterson’s Clough Preserve.
In addition, a bike path is proposed for the Maybrook Line which runs along the Eastern edge of Ice Pond and the Muddy Brook drainage. The viewshed is spectacular, and is enhanced by the elevation of the tracks above the Pond and Muddy Brook.
Please sign in before beginning your hike. Help us protect and preserve the plant and animal life found on this property by not disturbing the area, staying on the paths, and by observing the trail regulations posted at the entrance.
Check back soon.