Stissing Mountain 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. GPS Coordinates: 41.969891, -73.682195
A park with a geologically significant mountain, and a steep trail to a fire tower with long views.
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 (use Contact Information on this site) 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 on this site 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.
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). A trail map is provided by the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Health.