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Fishkill Ridge Conservation Area from Pocket Road
A pleasant, yet sometimes steep trail along a pretty creek to multi-tiered waterfalls, leads to Fishkill Ridge as it offers multiple dramatic views of the Hudson Valley and beyond.
Moderate to Strenuous
Allowed on leash
Views, Waterfall, Birding
Buy Trail Map:
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Driving DirectionsI-87 to exit 17 for I-84 East. Cross the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. Take the exit toward New York 9D S/N Rd. Turn right onto New York 9D and continue for .7 mile. Turn left on Main Street, drive .9 mile, then turn right on East Main Street for .4 mile. Turn right on Pocket Road and follow to gravel pullout parking on either side at end of road.
There is room for about 6 cars, 3 per gravel pullout on either side, at the dead end of Pocket Road. Three white discs mark the beginning of the white-blazed Fishkill Ridge Trail just before the barrier with the conflicting NO TRESPASSING sign. According to the City of Beacon website, hikers are allowed to enter so go ahead and proceed beyond the barrier to start the hike. The water tower will be on your left. Continue on the paved road as it turns to gravel, crosses a power cut then skirts by a small reservoir on the left. Entering the woods, the trail becomes rockier and follows to the right of Dry Creek. This area is called Hemlock Gorge but there is an obvious absence of hemlocks. Some remnants litter the forest floor and there are a few very sickly upright specimens at the higher end of Dry Creek, probably in the last stages of succumbing to woolly adelgid infestation, a tragic killer of the once majestic hemlocks. As the trail ascends more steeply, you just might find yourself focusing your attention on the beautiful creek and waterfalls rather than the uphill climb.
As you will be following the white-blazed (round white disc) trail for its entire 4.5 miles, keep straight when a yellow-blazed trail comes in from the right at .45 mile. You won’t see the yellow discs at the intersection but you might spot one if you look up that trail.
At .65 mile the double white discs indicate a left turn sending you on a rock hop over the creek. Once on the other side, continue along the trail a short distance towards the now louder sounds of crashing water to find a beautiful multi-tiered waterfall. From the waterfall, continue uphill on the white-blazed trail then climb up and over a short, steep dirt mound at .85 mile to arrive at an intersection with a dirt road. Turn left on the dirt road, cross the bridge, then reenter the woods to the right to continue on the white-blazed trail. The trail switchbacks up to multiple views of the City of Beacon, the Hudson River, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, and the Shawangunks in front of the Catskills on the horizon. Pay close attention keeping with the white discs when other unmarked trails, as well as the red-blazed Overlook Trail, come and go along the way
A rock scramble at 1.5 miles brings you to the summit of Lambs Hill with a nice flat area for taking a break high up above the Hudson Valley. Descending on the other side of Lambs Hill, the white-blazed trail arrives at a woods road junction with the blue-blazed trail at what is affectionately known as “Dozer Junction” for the old, rusty bulldozer that sits off to the side. Continue on the white-blazed trail but remember this junction for your return route, which will be approaching this intersection from the blue-blazed trail to the right.
The trail now ascends to follow along the crest of Fishkill Ridge to Bald Hill, identified by benchmarks on the stone walking surface. Views along this route shift to the tree-covered hills to the east. At the end of the ridge, the trail makes a sharp right turn descending along an old woods road carved into the eastern side of Fishkill Ridge below the crest. This road offers a pleasant, easy stroll after working for the views of the first part of the hike. The white-blazed Fishkill Ridge Trail ends at 4.5 miles when it runs into the Wilkinson Memorial Trail. Turn right on this trail, which is blazed with yellow discs.
In about a quarter of a mile, after the yellow-blazed trail is interrupted by a brief rock scramble at Hell Hollow with a view of the sheer vertical cliff on the other side of the notch, pass an unmarked junction, then at the next intersection turn right and follow the blue discs back to the bulldozer at Dozer Junction. Turn left on the white-blazed Fishkill Ridge Trail to retrace back to where you parked. When you reach the dirt road, you may turn left on the dirt road, cross the bridge, then turn right into the woods to continue on the white-blazed trail descending sometimes steeply along Dry Creek, or turn right and stay on the dirt road to follow a smoother, more gradual descent back to your car on Pocket Road.
Click here for more pictures and a longer 9.4 mile version of this hike.
Turn by turn description[ 0.00] Cross metal barrier, a power cut, pass a small reservoir on the left then enter the woods meeting up with Dry Creek on the left[ 0.45] Keep straight when the yellow-blazed trail comes in from the right (no yellow blazes at intersection)[ 0.65] Veer left towards creek at fork and rock hop over creek to waterfalls short distance ahead[ 0.85] Go over small steep rise, turn left on dirt road, cross bridge, turn right into woods on white-blazed trail[ 0.90] Keep straight at intersection with unmarked woods road[ 1.00] Trail switchbacks up to views[ 1.15] Keep right on white when red comes in from left[ 1.40] Keep left on white at fork when unmarked goes right[ 1.50] Lambs Hill[ 1.80] Dozer Junction with bulldozer on right at intersection with blue trail[ 4.50] White trail ends; keep straight on the yellow trail that comes in from the left[ 4.65] Keep straight on yellow trail when unmarked trail goes right[ 4.70] Turn right on blue-blazed trail[ 5.00] Turn left on white-blazed trail at Dozer Junction[ 5.30] Lambs Hill[ 5.65] Keep left on white when red comes in from left[ 5.95] Left on dirt road, cross bridge, right on white-blazed trail (OR right on dirt road back to car)[ 6.15] Waterfalls, trail turns left to rock hop over Dry Creek[ 6.80] Arrive back at water tower and car.