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Hiking Review - Cortlandt Nature & Fitness Trail

Another one my town's best kept secrets, this trail opened in June of 2018. A wooded half mile trail features 20 pieces of fitness equipment and during the time of Coronavirus I couldn't be happier to have found this outdoor gym (no membership required!) I am almost hesitant to share it so that it remains quiet...shhh.

[Scroll to the end of page to see the painting inspired by this location!]


Access

The Nature & Fitness Trail is quietly tucked away behind Cortlandt Manor's Charles J. Cook Pool, located at 293 Furnace Dock Road. Parking is located behind the pool near the mini golf course and the Nor-West administrative building.


Terrain

This trail is a half mile loop through hilly, wooded terrain. Twenty pieces of fitness equipment are placed along the path so visitors can do some resistance training along the way. I first visited the trail with my family and my kids, who are all much too small for any of the equipment, were beyond thrilled to climb on it and attempt to complete the exercises. Maybe they haven't seen a playground in a while ...? I also recall visiting a similar park during my childhood that featured antiquated versions of fitness equipment and it was always a very novel experience.


The forest is extremely quiet and serene in this area and when I am privileged enough come here alone, I enjoy watching the dappled sunlight on the rocks, trees and ground while I exercise in this natural environment. Best gym ever!


Of note, Cairns. Along this trail you can spot numerous man/woman-made rock formations, stacked neatly and unobtrusively along the path. From any one point on the trail you'll probably see 2-4 of these structures peeking out from behind a tree or on top of a rock. I aspire to identify the mystery cairn builder someday and catch him/her in the act of stacking. The formations are both really impressive and slightly creepy. Supposedly the art of stacking rocks to form cairns is a meditative exercise.

 

Artist Notes

I took some inspiration from the mysterious cairns for the below painting. It was not painted on site, but I took photos and then went home and painted right away so the feeling was fresh in my mind.


cairns, watercolor landscape
The Mysterious Cairns. Original Watercolor, 6x9"

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