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Steep Rock Preserve

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Ariel Image of the Clamshell Area at Steep Rock Preserve, April 1934

Ariel Image of the Clamshell Area at Steep Rock Preserve, April 1934

Google Earth image, February 2014

Google Earth image, February 2014

The 974-acre Steep Rock preserve offers hiking trails which follow the river banks and provide access into the hillsides above. Near its north end, there are vestiges of carriage roads, one of which leads from Tunnel Road to the site of the Holiday House (no longer standing), a hotel built in 1893 by philanthropist Edward I. Van Ingen as a retreat for young working women from New York City. The project took advantage of the Shepaug Railroad which, from 1872 to 1948, wound through the preservation alongside the river. One can still see the abutments of the small suspension bridge which enabled disembarking passengers to meet the Holiday House carriages waiting on the opposite bank. Farther downstream, trails traverse the slopes above the river and follow the double oxbows (where the river loops south, north, and then south again). Nearby is the railroad tunnel, a rough arch cut through the rock ledge which allowed just enough room for the locomotive and cars to pass through.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Steep Rock Preserve map

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