Hiking around Butler Reservoir at Apshawa Preserve

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Overlooking Butler Reservoir

Looking for a little early fall foliage around Butler Reservoir at Apshawa Preserve.

It had been over five years since we last hiked at Apshawa Preserve (“Butler Reservoir, Waterfalls, Ruins“) so it was time for a revisit.

Miles: 5.3

For complete hike info visit our main “Apshawa Preserve” page.

Last week we had hiked to Osio Rock, which is not far from here. We were looking to find a little fall color around the reservoir (trees around water often change first, along with trees at higher elevations) but it was too early. 

This fall season has been pretty dry so lately we’re seeing stressed leaves go right to brown, making for some dull sections among green.

And this was the first time we’ve run into no waterfall or water going over the dam.

The brown patches seen from above Butler Reservoir. Soon that green will be changing color and the brown will just blend right in.

Overlooking Butler Reservoir

It’s always interesting to see how trails change over time or season. Views become grown over and more limited, or trails become impassable as is the case with the YELLOW trail.

This was still closed like when we were here in 2014. Beavers got busy, the trail flooded, and got overgrown from not being used and is difficult or impossible to follow.

So now the route just goes by there and not around:

Apshawa Preserve near the yellow trail
Wide angle pano

We continued on RED around the reservoir, stopping at the rocky outcrops for short breaks along the way. More of the brown trees can be seen with an overhead shot.

Apshawa rock outcrop and lily pads
Overlooking Butler Reservoir - Apshawa Preserve

We passed a side trail to what I had marked as a limited view on the GPS, but this was totally grown over. The next stop was the actual viewpoint off of the GREEN trail. 

View on the green trail

We continued steeply downhill and don’t recall seeing a glimpse of the NYC skyline on the way down – either the leaves were obscuring it or it’s grown over.

Nearing Apshawa Brook we heard no sounds of water at all. The brook and falls were basically dry:

Apshawa Falls with no water

Just a few more minutes down the GREEN trail are the water tank ruins.

Water tanks
Open water tank
Looking inside a water tank

This one is really large, it helps to have a person in the photo for scale:

Water tank
Water tank

Not far from the tanks is a dam. This was also completely dry and we could walk on the rocks in the brook:

Apshawa Brook when it's dry

And even right up to the dam itself:

Apshawa Dam when it's dry
Dry dam

This is what the dam looks like when water is flowing:

IMG_0103_2

Standing above the dam. Note the lost little raft… there always tends to be some sort of boat here…

Above the dam

Canoe whoopsie, circa 2014:

Apshawa Dam and Canoe

Wildlife spotted: None. 

Random amusement: As we were nearing the end point of our hike we ran into a family with two energetic young girls who immediately peppered us with questions/excited statements:“DID YOU SEE ANY BEARS??!!!”

Me: “Nope, we hiked allll over the park but only saw some squirrels”.

WE SAW A FROG!!!!! I named him Freddy!!”

Me: “Oh cool. And Freddy is a really good name for a frog.” 

Etc…

Post hike: Venti iced vanilla latte, venti cold brew with sweet cream… and two chocolate chip cookies to make up for skipping our usual mid-hike energy bar. We’ll use any excuse to eat a cookie.