Authur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary
The temperatures were supposed to reach 45 degrees today, and though the trails were still covered in snow, the family and I thought it would be a good day for a hike. Near us there is a great little area that serves as a much-needed relief from mundane life. The Authur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary is a 365 acre parcel of land that has several miles of easy to fairly easy trails. This not flat land though, there are several fairly steep hills off the main red trail. There are also marshes and a hawk watch that is active in the fall. The sanctuary is littered with huge boulders and the remains of stone walls, once used in agriculture before people moved west in search of more fertile land. The Butler Sanctuary is a little gem in the heart of suburbia.
There are several well-marked trails in the sanctuary. Some are more difficult than others, but anything challenging is short-lived. My 12-year-old has hiked all the trails, so they really aren’t all that difficult. None of the trails are very long, all but one less than 1.5 miles. You can combine trails though to make up a decent hike that can get your heart beating. Along the way, there are sign posts that provide an audio tour of the sanctuary. At the entrance is a shelter where they provide a map and sign in book. A short distance from the entrance, on the yellow trail, you hike up to where they hold the hawk watches in the fall. There you get your chance to overlook Westchester County and Connecticut to view hawks, eagles and osprey migrating. The yellow trail is the “longest” and most challenging, with a few fairly steep hills. The orange trail strolls by the larger marshland down in the northeast corner of the sanctuary. After a good rain, it can get pretty wet down there, lots of mud. The blue trail leads down the other side to Byram Lake and Reservoir. All of which is to say that this is not just old farmland.
We had a good time on our hike today. We only hiked about two and a half miles, but it was refreshing and recharged us. My family loves nature and we try to spend as much time there as we can. My son commented today that he wanted to go on a longer hike, like we do in the summer or fall, so we must be doing something right. The trails were a little slick, due to the snow, but we were not the only ones out. We passed three other families and their dogs out hiking in the sanctuary. It can get really busy in the summer, so it was nice to have it mostly to ourselves.
It’s great to have a place like this so close to home. That’s one of the things I love about this area. There are these little sanctuaries and preserves all over the place, and within an hour are places with much more challenging hikes. The Hudson Valley is beautiful. There are so many places to hike, bike, boat, etc., some of which end in spactuacular views. Keep an eye out for little treasures like the Butler Sanctuary in your neck of the woods. Also, remember to take your trash out with you, and clean up after your dog. Keep these places clean so you and your children can enjoy them for generations to come.