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Hiking Kensico Dam, Valhalla, New York, USA

Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
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Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta aka The Adventure KidsTM are always ready for an adventure, so when we were at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla, New York for Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival and saw the majestically soaring stone wall of the dam rising behind us, we knew that we would want to climb to the top before the day was over, even if Debra was wearing a narrow sheath dress and heeled sandals and Edward was wearing dress pants and dress shoes!


Kensico Dam

Never ones to miss out on an adventure, if we can do it safely when we happen upon something we want to experience, we do it. We learned this several years ago, when we were in Colorado Springs for a friend’s wedding, and were driving to the wedding with the groom’s brother-in-law and his niece. When the brother-in-law learned that we had never visited the Garden of the Gods, which are magnificent red rock formations, and that we would be leaving the next day, he made a quick detour so that we would not miss this incredible experience. No matter that it was a black-tie wedding, the four of us carefully made our way out of the car to see the mind-blowing gorgeous formations, much to the astonishment of other more appropriately attired hikers. Although we had every intention to return to the Garden of the Gods someday, to date we have not; hence our mantra is carpe diem when the opportunity presents itself.

Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
Beautiful carving on Kensico Dam

Such was the case of why we hiked to the top of Kensico Dam after spending a gastronomic afternoon of exceptional wine, food, and spirits during Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival. As we knew that we might not return to the dam, we decided to experience it when the opportunity presented itself. Completed in 1917, the historic dam is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation and was acquired as parkland in 1963. The rough stone wall soars up 307 feet and measures 1,843 feet in length, where it protects the Kensico reservoir.

Edward F. Nesta climbing Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
Climbing to the top of Kensico Dam

As we saw families with young children making their way up to the top, we knew that we could do it, too. If you are facing the stone wall of the dam, there are two ways to hike to the top, with entrances on the left and right sides of the stone wall. As we were closer to the left side, we decided to enter from there. It was slow going as the steps on the left side were steep and Debra’s dress was narrow, but never one to turn down an adventure, we slowly climbed up the steps pausing along the way to admire the dappled light filtering through the trees as we made our way to the top.

Kensico Dam walking on top - photo by Luxury Experience
Enjoying the top of Kensico Dam

Once we reached the top left side of the dam, we were rewarded with stunning vistas of the reservoir and lush greenery along the shoreline, and two semi-circular columned structures engraved with the sayings, "He causeth his wine to blow and the waters to flow" and "He maketh grass to grow upon the mountains."

Kensico Dam - view from top - photo by Luxury Experience
The view from Kensico Dam

We walked along the long pathway across the top of the dam, admiring the views and enjoyed watching visitors’ rollerblading, walking, and running the length of the passageway before making our way down the right side of the entrance. Just before heading down, we stopped to read the other quotes, "He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes" and "He covereth the heaven with clouds: he prepareth rain for the earth." Going down the right side was much easier with a series of pathways instead of only narrow, steep stairs.

The Rising at Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
The Rising

After our hike, we visited The Rising, an elegant sculptural work designed by architect Frederic Schwartz, which is a September 11th Memorial for those who lost their lives from the Westchester communities. In addition to The Rising, there is also a Remembrance plaque honoring the 111 Westchester residents and 12 former residents who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Debar C. Argen at Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra relaxing at the base of Kensico Dam

Although we thoroughly enjoyed our hike to Kensico Dam, if we do return, next time we will be properly attired and wearing better footwear.

Debra C. Argen, Edward F. Nesta - Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta
The Adventure Kids

Until our next adventure…

Kensico Dam - photo by Luxury Experience
Kensico Dam

The park is open seven days per week from 8:00 am until 10:00 (in the summer). Park admission is free.

Kensico Dam Plaza - Valhalla, NY, USA

Kensico Dam
1 Bronx River Parkway
Valhalla, New York 10595
United States
Telephone: +1-914-231-4033
Website: https://www.visitwestchesterny.com/listing/kensico-dam-plaza/160/

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© July 2023. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com

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