GRAHAM HILLS PARK

Route 117, Mt. Pleasant, Westchester, NY

(914)232-4905

Acres: 431


Directions:

By car:

This park is located between the Taconic Parkway on the west and the Saw Mill River Parkway on the east, the Saw Mill River on the south, and Route 117 on the north.

Take the Saw Mill River Parkway north past its intersection with the Taconic Parkway and get off at the second exit (exit 28). Turn left onto Bedford Road and follow it for .6 of a mile. Turn left into the parking lot.  The park is located off of Route 117, across from Pace University, Pleasantville campus.

Public transportation:

You could take the Harlem line train up to Pleasantville and then walk a mile or so to the park from the railroad station.


Background:

Graham Hills, a hamlet and at one time a station on the Putnam Railroad, takes its name from Dr. Isaac Gilbert Graham, a Revolutionary army surgeon, who settled there about 1785.

Date Acquired:1963


Recreational Activities:

Hiking/walking, nature study.


Trails:

I took the yellow circle trail south from the parking lot.  It soon hooked up with the blue circle trail.  This blue circle trail makes a virtual complete circle around the perimeter of the park, for the most part skirting around a small mountain.  It took me about 2 and a half hours to make it around the circuit, but, as a botanist, I stopped many times to identify plants.

Followed the blue and yellow trail over two or three bridges and over three or four stone walls to a point where the blue and yellow trail forks into a blue and yellow and a blue trail.  I went counterclockwise around the circle, but it probably is easier to go clockwise because you can go down the mountainside rather than have to climb up it near the end of the circuit.  

The blue trail paralles a huge gulley on the left, heading southwest toward the Taconic Parkway (at the point where you can see three signs for exits for Sprain Brook, Saw Mill, and Bronx River parkways.  On the way, th trail passes a red circle trail (I do not know where it goes).  

Heading east from the Taconic Parkway, the trail parallels the Saw Mill River (?) on the right.  Seen along the way are remnants of  buildings and some earth mounds.  

Also along the way, several small fields are passed.

The trail turns eastward as it approaches the Saw Mill River Parkway.  The blue trail then goes north and northwest up the small mountain and then down it somewhat to where the hiker joins the blue and yellow circle trail which in turn takes the hiker to the point where the blue trail forked off  from the blue and yellow trail.  Follow this north back to the parking lot.


GRAHAM HILLS MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS

Designated primarily for mountain biking, the trails total about five miles in distance and are geared toward experienced riders. The route winds through the many diverse habitats of this beautiful 431 acre park located in the Town of Mt. Pleasant. The trails are mostly single track and can be used in both directions.


PLANT LIST

Dr. Patrick Louis Cooney


Trees:
Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer nigrum (black maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor vitae)
Tilia americana (American linden)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stem dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch-hazel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (morrow's honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (northern bayberry)
Rhodotypos scandens (jet bead)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry raspberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Viburnum setigerum (tea viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asian bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax glauca (sawbrier greenbrier)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 9/29/98
Actaea alba (white baneberry)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp dogbane)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 9/29/98
Aster patens (clasping aster) 9/29/98
Aster umbellatus (tall flat-topped white aster)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Cirsium discolor (field thistle) 9/29/98
Coronilla varia (crown vetch)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Desmodium sp. (tick trefoil)
Epilobium sp. (willow herb)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Hackelia virginiana (Virginia stickseed)
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Iris sp. (iris)
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)
Linaria vulgaris (butter-and-eggs)
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco lobelia)
Lobelia nuttallii (Nutall's lobelia)
Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia) 9/29/98
Ludwigia palustris (common water purslane)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Myosotis sp. (forget-me-not)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 9/29/98
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (Virginia knotweed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce) 9/29/98
Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade) 10/03/98
Solidago bicolor (silverrod goldenrod) 9/29/98
Solidago caesia (blue-stemmed goldenrod) 9/29/98
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod) 9/29/98
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion)
Trifolium repens (white clover) 9/29/98
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Vicia cracca (cow vetch)

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora (sack sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sack sedge)

Grasses:
Elymus hystrix (bottle-brush grass)
Leersia virginica (white grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panic grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Setaria viridis (green foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purpletop or grease grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York beech fern)