Graff Sanctuary

Graff Sanctuary sign on Furnace Dock Road, Town of Cortlandt, New York.
Graff Sanctuary sign on Furnace Dock Road, Town of Cortlandt, New York.

Graff Sanctuary is a 29-acre property protecting a woodland ridge overlooking the Hudson River in between Furnace Dock Road and Briggs Lane in the Town of Cortlandt.

Along the trails of Graff Sanctuary are many beautiful trees and several interesting rock formations including glacial erratics, large boulders different in composition from the surrounding bedrock left behind when glacial ice moved through the Hudson Valley.

The easiest parking and trail access is at the end of Briggs Lane where a private driveway cuts across SMRA land and is also initial access to the sanctuary trails. 

Park on Briggs Lane being careful not to block our neighbors’ driveways and then walk up the last driveway on Briggs Lane veering to left to follow trail along stone wall following the red trail.

click map to download
View of Hudson River from Graff Sanctuary
View of Hudson River from Graff Sanctuary

Please contact our office in advance if you want to bring a group of more than 6 people and/or three cars to any one of our sanctuaries. Parking is very limited and there are other groups regularly scheduled to meet at our sanctuaries.

With advance notice, we also may be able to provide your group with a guided walk.

Even if your group wishes to visit without an Audubon guide, please contact us in advance to let us know when you will be visiting and the estimated number of vehicles and visitors in your group. Thank you.

sanctuary history


The history of the stone structure (pictured above) at Graff Sanctuary is somewhat uncertain but it is believed to have been used for water storage as part of the Oscawana property on the other side of Furnace Dock Road.

Graff Sanctuary was donated by Howard Graff to the National Audubon Society in 1975 with Saw Mill River Audubon responsible for sanctuary management.

In 1991, ownership of Graff Sanctuary transferred to Saw Mill River Audubon.

All of our sanctuaries are open to visitors free of charge, seven days a week, sunrise to sunset. There are no restrooms or public facilities in our sanctuaries. We are grateful for the ongoing help of our sanctuary neighbors and Trail Walker volunteers to watch over our sanctuaries.
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
Great horned owls nest at Graff Sanctuary. Their deep hooting calls may be heard in the late afternoon or early morning. Great horned owls nest earlier in the year than any other New York bird. The parents will be incubating eggs by February. Like all predators, great horned owls help keep habitats healthy. Great horned owls keep rodent populations in balance.