Rockwood Hall State Park: The Best Place to Climb Trees Along the Hudson

Rockwood Hall State Park: The Best Place to Climb Trees Along the Hudson

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Rockwood Hall is a gem of a park along the Hudson River in Sleepy Hollow.


It's a gorgeous 200- acre park in the eastern foothills of Westchester County, which is part of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Long ago, these grounds were the home of William Rockefeller. Although the mansion is no longer there, the exquisite landscaping and ornamental trees still remains and is free to be enjoyed by the public.

My boyfriend, 5-year-old daughter, her 4-year-old friend, and I decided to do some exploring and picked this park in hopes of enjoying some fall foliage. We caught the tail end of the leaf peeping season and spent a couple of hours climbing several of the best climbing trees I've ever seen. One particular tree looks like it's from a Dr. Seuss book, you can climb up and it appears you're sitting in a nest. We also loved navigating under the giant willow tree and exploring the winding branches. After deciding which ones to perch on we enjoyed mysterious settings from the cave like umbrella the tree sets.

Willow Tree at Rockwood Hall State Park

The kids climbing the willow tree at Rockwood Hall State Park.


In some areas of the park, you can see remaining foundations from former mansions. These framed areas are now filled with manicured grass, perfect for picnicking and relaxing, while providing panoramic views of the Hudson. Although you're not allowed to ride bikes through the grounds, most of the paths are paved, so you can navigate with a wheelchair or stroller. Equestrians are permitted (with a permit), although we didn't see any horses during out visit. Dogs are allowed and it just so happened several families were visiting the park with new puppies. They allowed our kids to play with them, so this was probably the highlight for the girls. Climbing the trees was definitely my favorite part, even at 43. The sunset was my boyfriend’s favorite as the light show changed every few seconds. The golden hue on the orange changing leaves was truly stunning.

Fall Foliage

Fall foliage at Rockwood Hall State Park


Our visit ended at the peak of the hill, however if you continue along the path you will encounter stone walls, more grassy fields, and wooded areas. If you explore further onto the paved Rockwood Road, you can cross a bridge over Rockwood Hall Brook, where you can see a ravine lined with rhododendron and five more bridges over the brook. If you make it all the way to the river, you'll find a bench where you can enjoy panoramic views facing Croton Point. Here, from a distance, you can also catch some trains make their way through the gorgeous Hudson Valley.

This was a lovely afternoon for our family. We’ll definitely be back, with our lazy pug the next time…probably a kite and picnic in tow.

Sunset over the Hudson River

View the sunset over the Hudson River at Rockwood Hall State Park.


Tips for Visiting Rockwood Hall State Park

  • Free parking just across from the park entrance
  • Additional parking in Hospital located next to parking lot
  • Dog friendly
  • No bathrooms or food options
  • No biking
  • Most paths are paved so stroller and wheelchair accessible although some are gravel and a little steep.
  • No admission fee


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