How Do You Train?: Eugene and Agnes Meyer Preserve – Lower Perimeter Loop

The Eugene and Agnes Meyer nature preserve is a 247 acre preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy.  The complete perimeter trail can reach 5.5 miles if you take all of the trails.  This writeup focuses on the “Lower Meyer Loop” which is almost exactly 3 miles if you follow the full perimeter and don’t get lost in the yellow loop section! Check this article for the “Upper Meyer Loop” featuring the meadow along Sarles Street.

imageThe parking for the Lower Meyer Loop is on Oregon Rd in Armonk, NY.  There is room for 3-4 cars in the lower lot/shoulder area.  There is a wooden sign showing where the trailhead is and about 100 yards into the trail (just past the mountain bike barrier) there is a trail information sign.  There are seldom any maps at this location but you may get lucky.  Just in case click here for a scanned trail map.

After parking at the lower lot, go into the trail for about 1/5 mile before turning to the right up the cliff trail.  After veering off of the Meyer property onto Mt Kisco Watershed land for about 400 feet, the trail goes up a (usually) dry stream bed. The trail comes to a crossroad a bit further ahead.  Keep to the right hand trail to follow the counterclockwise perimeter loop further up towards the cliff overlook.  The very top of the overlook is a total of around 6/10ths of a mile (mostly uphill) from the parking lot.  The trail continues downhill then back uphill where it turns leftwards.  There is an older trail spur to the right marked blue but it dead ends.  There are also white connector trails that can shorten any run.

The trail continues back south and comes to an intersection about 1/5 of a mile later.  Take the right hand turn that veers west then northwest down to the stream bed and the ravine trail.  Another 1/5 mile south there is the Yellow trail intersection with a wooden bridge over the stream leading to a 1 mile loop.  The hill climb at the beginning of this loop is similar in elevation and steepness to “The Wall” quarry climb in the Leatherman’s Loop.  It is not sandy but it is steep and slippery.  The main difference is that since it is a loop you have to come back down it which can be tricky in slippery conditions!

The loop goes uphill past several vernal ponds and flattens out in a pine forest.  Look for the stone wall crossing and keep to the LEFT after the stone wall.  (If you go to the right you will come out on old Oregon Rd (the abandoned dirt road) that forms the full Meyer perimeter loop. If you are sick of the trail (!!) you can run down Oregon Rd to the parking area.)  The Yellow trail continues past several small ponds and ridgebacks.  Keep a sharp eye out for the turn at the end of the last ridgeback—the trail takes a near 180 degree turn and heads back up the hill to the north.  This section of the trail is pretty straigtfoward.  Keep an eye out for the trail turning downhill towards the ravine, it is easy to miss and I backtracked several times when I was first learning the trail.  The loop connects back to the ravine trail.

The ravine trail is a spectacular half mile trail that runs next to a stream which flows during every season.  The trail is very skinny and precarious at points, making you feel at times like a mountain goat running on the side of a steep slope.  In the fall with wet leaves it is wise to take some sections slowly unless you are climbing up the trail instead of bounding down it.  When running the perimeter loop, ignore the left hand white trails that connect back to the ridge trail and the cliff trail.  The ravine trail connects back to the entry trail and back to the parking lot.  Hope you enjoyed this run – it is a favorite of mine!  Click here to see the Google Map track of this run as noted by my Garmin 305 GPS.

Next “How Do You Train?” article will focus on the Upper Meyer Loop, which is accessible from Oregon Road in Armonk and Sarles Rd in Mt. Kisco.