Westchester County Highpoint Trip Report

USGS BM Bailey (980+ ft)

Date: May 22, 2007
Author: Andy Hatzos

On my trip to the northeast in May 2007, I stayed with my family in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Ridgefield is literally just a few miles from this high point, and the trip to and from the home I was staying at took just over an hour.

I began just north of Ridgefield, at the intersection of state routes 35 and 116. I took 116 to the north and then turned to the west on Barrack Hill Road. This road has a decent incline and is quite narrow and twisty. After a while, it connects with Sleepy Hollow Drive. Veering left at the final turn, it becomes Pine Lake Road and dead-ends right at the NY/CT state line. The paved road ends at a gate but even if the gate was open, I wouldn't trust driving onward with anything less than a tank. It's not in good shape at all. I parked at the dead-end and set out on foot.

The pathway twists about as it heads south. The county's highest point is fairly obvious on the west side of the road, as the road itself turns westward around the edge of the hill. It's a pretty easy bushwhack to the top but I also found a trail a little further down the main road that would make an easy hike even easier. There is a rock outcropping near the edge of the hill, which houses the Columbia University Earthquake Monitor (as mentioned by the 2006 Miller and Price trip report).

There is a lone orange witness post at the top of the hill, which is also located in a partial clearing. Through the clearing, the bright sun shone down right on the highest point, which was sort of neat. It took a while to find the benchmark but it was there, buried under a decent pile of leaves, soil, and small wolf spiders. The benchmark is labeled "Bailey" and dated 1862. The NGS website lists the site at 985 feet, which is consistent with the contours on the topo.

The total round trip on foot was barely over a mile and the elevation gain was barely over 100 feet. Small fry compared to the two-days-prior ascent of Frissell and Brace!

report with links to photos