The trails up Stissing Mountain from Lake Road are not blazed, but they are quite obvious and can be easily followed. From the trailhead on the west side of Lake Road, head into the woods on a steep, rocky footpath. In about 200 feet, you'll come to a fork in the trail, where you bear left. Then, in about five minutes, you'll reach an intersection with an old woods road. Turn left onto the woods road, which soon becomes quite steep and rocky.
In five minutes, you'll reach another fork in the trail, with a tree in the middle of the fork and many rocks piled in front of it. The right fork will be your return route, but for now, bear left and continue to follow the woods road up the mountain. Soon, the grade moderates a little and the trail becomes less rocky, but the steep climb soon resumes. Along the way, there are limited views through the trees to the left of the trail.
After about half an hour of steep climbing (from the last intersection), you'll pass stone steps to the right of the trail (the remains of a former ranger cabin) and reach the summit ridge. Just ahead is the fire tower. There are no views from the base of the tower, but you'll want to climb this 90-foot tower to get a spectacular view of the countryside. The three lakes you see below to the east are (from north to south) Twin Island Pond, Stissing Pond and Thompson Pond.
After resting from your steep 1,000-foot climb and taking in the panoramic views, descend the tower and head south (straight ahead) along the summit ridge. In about two minutes, bear right and descend a narrow footpath, then turn left at the next intersection and descend to a woods road. Turn right onto this rocky road, which descends steeply. After a while, the road bears right, passes rock ledges on the right, and continues to descend more gradually on a less rocky route. You'll come to a number of forks and intersections; in each case, bear right and stay on the woods road, continuing to descend gradually.
About half an hour after leaving the fire tower, you'll come to the fork you passed on the climb, with the tree in the middle and rocks piled up in front of it. Turn left here, now retracing your steps. At the next fork, bear right and descend the final pitch to Lake Road, where the hike began.
Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazinon 10/10/2013
This loop hike steeply climbs Stissing Mountain, with spectacular views from the fire tower on the summit ridge.
The trails up Stissing Mountain from Lake Road are not blazed, but they are quite obvious and can be easily followed. From the...
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
Take the Taconic State Parkway north to the exit for US 44 (Poughkeepsie, Millbrook) (this exit is about 52 miles north of the southern terminus of the Taconic State Parkway in Valhalla, N.Y.). At the bottom of the ramp, turn right onto US 44 East and continue for 0.7 mile to NY 82. Proceed north on NY 82 for about 15 miles to Pine Plains. About 0.2 mile after passing the small green sign marking the town line of Pine Plains, turn left at a firehouse onto Lake Road. In 1.4 miles, you’ll pass a sign on the left for the Thompson Pond Nature Preserve, and in another 0.2 mile, at a curve in the road, you’ll pass another sign for the preserve on the left. Continue ahead for 0.1 mile to a parking turnout on the right side of the road, with a signpost for the “Lake Road Trailhead” and a sign for the Thompson Pond Nature Preserve on the left side of the road.