In 1998 and 2000, Donald Trump bought two parcels of land in southern New York State to build golf courses.  The properties contained protected wetlands, and the project was delayed for several years as he tried to get the required environmental impact waivers.  He halted his plans in 2006, instead donating the land to New York State on condition that it become a Park bearing his name.  (The Park has been controversial.  More history can be found on Wikipedia .)

The Park is not a contiguous piece of land, since the intended golf courses were several miles apart.  Both sections are reachable from the Taconic Parkway, where large signs announce them as attractions. After years of passing the signs, today we visited the “French Hill” section near exit 14. We knew that the Park is unmaintained and infrequently visited, despite its convenience to large populations.  That makes it a good place to check out during a pandemic.

I had read that the park is in complete disrepair, a slight exaggeration. It sits at the end of a dead end road with many potholes, unmarked until you arrive there. There is parking for about 20 cars; there were 3 spots in use on a warmish January weekend. Most of the other visitors were dog walkers. Social distancing was easy.

The ruin

We spent less than an hour and saw all of the trails in the section. It’s a nice enough wooded property, with wide trails and new blazes. It was muddy and there were trees down, but some of the deadwood had obviously been recently cleared. The ruins of an interesting stone building are right next to the parking lot.

A small and unimportant park. It’s just a 20 minute drive for us, but we’re unlikely to return.