The John Muir trail, established back in 1997 through a joint effort of the Van Cortlandt Park Rangers and the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park interns, is currently the only east-west traversing trail in the Park connecting Woodlawn to Riverdale. A couple of short sections of the trail wind along and below the Henry Hudson Parkway and the Major Deegan but for the majority of the John Muir trail, it holds true to its namesake. The trail runs alongside a cascading stream and through Sugar Maple forests of the Croton Woods. Pink blazes on the trees mark the running of the trail.
In 2011, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park secured funding to hire the New York/ New Jersey Trail Conference to install the stone stairs you see on the trail as it runs beside the Henry Hudson Parkway. Last year, the FVCP Summer Teen Trail Interns worked on the drainage of the trail as it runs alongside the golf fence to halt erosion that had created gullies in the trail. They also annually keep the trail open and wide enough for trail users to comfortably walk the trail.
The Summer Trail Interns will continue to keep the trail open for all of the hikers as the trail would become impassable if not done. Future projects along this trail include restoring the stone stairway along the steep ascent beside the stream, and a couple of reroutes in the Northeast woods and the Northwest woods. In the Northeast woods, the plan for the John Muir Trail is to no longer lead all the way up to the Nursery but will instead turn into the woods and walk along the wetlands. In the Northwest woods, the trail is planned to cut through the golf course instead of its current path along the Henry Hudson Parkway. We hope to be up and running with these projects soon! If you would like to help out to improve the trails of Van Cortlandt Park, take part in Hike-a-Thon, Saturday April 25th. Learn more about the event and how to register at www.vancortlandt.org/hike-a-thon.