Stissing Mountain Fire Tower

Park Overview:

A park with a geologically significant mountain, and a steep trail to a fire tower with long views.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:1.5 miles
Park Acreage:595 acres
Pine Plains/Dutchess/NY
Web Map:Trail map prepared by Dutchess County DPW
Buy Book:New York Walk Book

Park Description:

Stissing Mountain, at 1400 feet, soars above its neighbors.  It is composed of the same Precambian bedrock as the Hudson Highlands but is separated from them or any other Precambian outcrop by many miles. There are several theories regarding its existence here, and there is an exhibit devoted to the region's geology in the American Museum of Natural History.  The mountain's dominance of its surrounding landscape makes it a particularly enticing viewpoint, and its summit is capped by a historic 90-foot fire tower. The tower is owned by the Friends of Stissing Landmarks, a citizens group that formed to rescue it from demolition.

Hunting is allowed in season.

Thompson Pond Preserve, a nature preserve that encompasses a glacial bog-pond and maintained by The Nature Conservancy, is close by. 

Further away is Stissing Mountain Multiple Use Area, parkland managed by New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 3 (Forest Rangers, 845-256-3026).   Aside from a listing, its web site contains no information about the area; a trail map is provided by the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Health.

Trails Overview:

A short lollipop-loop unmarked trail of roughly 1.5 miles begins at a small parking area on Lake Road climbs the mountain to the fire tower at the summit.  Friends of Stissing Landmarks describes two parallel approaches to the tower, one steep and the other, on a deteriorating access road, a more gradual assent (making a loop hike possible)

The web map above shows the trail as out-and-back without displaying a loop. Note on the web trail map that the park boundaries closely hug the trail; lands outside this narrow corridor are privately held and landowners have expressed a strong desire to have their rights respected.

Click for a detailed description of a strenuous hike to the fire tower. 


Directions to fire tower parking area:  From the intersection of NY 82 and NY 199 in the center of Pine Plains, proceed south on NY 82 for 0.3 mile and turn right onto Lake Road (a fire house is located at this intersection).  In 1.4 miles, you will see a sign for the Thompson Pond Nature Preserve on the left, and in another 0.2 mile you will see another Thompson Pond sign on the left (at a curve in the road).  Continue ahead for another 0.1 mile (1.7 miles from NY 82) to a small parking turnout on the right, with a signpost for the "Lake Road Trailhead" at the parking area and a Thompson Pond Nature Preserve sign across the road, where the trail begins.

Contact Information: Friends of Stissing Landmarks
Region:Dutchess County

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Trails and markers info.

This is all slightly out dated. I just visited this lovely mountain the other day. There was a bit of trouble finding out where to start the hike.   Directions to parking area off lake rd: Take 199/church st.  take Lake Rd. The trail that is shortest to take, but is steep, is the 1st trail on the right. There is a gravel parking area across form it.   Trail Directions: Follow this trail up to the tower. This trail branches off in a few spots. ALWAYS stay to the left. As far as colored trails go, I didnt see anything to mark these trails. There also was no info saying it lead to the fire tower at the base of the trail.   recommendations: BUG SPRAY BUG SPRAY BUG SPRAY BUG SPRAY!!! I cant stress it enough. I hosed myself down with loads of it. Still the bugs were around.  LOTS of water, I was dripping sweat half way up. ( its a steep hike ) Good shoes with good grip, the trail is loaded with smaller rocks ( but bigger then gravel ) Lots of them are loose.   HAPPY HIKING!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the updates

Thanks for the updates, we’ll try to get someone to verify directions and trails in the area.

Blue Trail on Mountain Road Blocked?


The following report was submitted by a visitor to Stissing Mountain on April 3, 2010, but is unconfirmed. Additional reports on the status of access to these trails is welcome.

The information of Stissing Mountain seems to be out of date. The blue trail on Mountain Road is blocked by private property. I was there today, and I couldn't find the trail. A resident told me that the trail was not accessible from that area anymore.

The red trail on Hicks Hill Road goes around in a circle now more or less. It is accessible from the road in two spots. There is a cross country ski trail that follows the red trail. It is marked in yellow. The yellow markers go up the hill a little ( off of the red trail) to the east and then end in a coniferous forest.