QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: N/A
- Trail Mileage:
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: pedestrian bridge, causeway, York Harbor, sandy beach, seaside cliffs, historic homes
On my map, Steedman Woods is on the far left, which connects to the causeway and to Fisherman’s Walk, which will bring you close to the start of the Cliff Walk (shown in yellow on my map). The Cliff Walk was closed when I recently visited.
In this historical part of York, you can walk a bit more than 1.5 miles along the expansive York Harbor to the mouth of York River, on a popular and well-used trail. The trail sections — which come in a combination of gravel, pavement, and dirt, depending on where you are—skirt in front of old homes (and a couple of modern ones), as well as cross a short pedestrian bridge named for the slight jiggle it makes when you cross. (It’s called Wiggly Bridge.) The bridge connects a wide causeway to a wooded peninsula where you can explore the unmarked but easy-to-follow trails in the small patch of Steedman Woods. (There is no place to park over here.)
The best place to park if you are permit-less is closer to the Cliff Walk, along Route 1A near Hartley Mason Reserve. There are several two-hour parking spots, which I bet are hard to snag during the summer. Every other parking spot I saw close to the path requires a permit.
This trail system, while short, is diverse. If you start at Harley Reserve, you begin in a pleasant park with paved paths before heading down to the Cliff Walk, which continues out in the direction of the ocean. (When I visited in the fall of 2020, the narrow Cliff Walk was closed due to the pandemic. So I can’t describe it! But it looked enticing before it disappeared around a corner.)
If you head right, you head down to the sandy beach and small parking area (for permitted cars). From here, you can cross a grassy park headed toward the river. In a couple hundred feet, you’ll spot the opening to the gravel Fisherman’s Walk—a continuation of the seaside path. This section is flat and easy, and mostly wheelchair friendly, if I remember it correctly.
Once you get to the Route 103 bridge, you cross underneath and head up a dock to access the causeway (or you can go up and cross the street). The causeway and Wiggly Bridge were my favorite sections of the walk — the tidal mouth of York River is wide and beautiful. The woods section of this walk is not wheelchair friendly. (I’ve also read that the Cliff Walk is not appropriate for wheelchairs?)
Directions: If you’re walking, you can access the path in many places, from Route 103 at the end of the bridge, or from one the little lanes running from Route 1A (York Street). You can also pick it up at York Harbor Beach or Hartley Mason Reserve. For those with cars and no permit, there are several two-hour parking spots along Hartley Mason Reserve. If you have a permit, you can park at Harbor Beach or near the Wiggly Bridge on Route 103.