Stissing Mountain, Taconic Hike

Whether you’re a new hiker looking to challenge yourself with a starter mountain, an experienced hiker looking to take a quick jaunt up, or just plain fire tower crazy – Stissing Mountain [Route 82 and Lake Road, Pine Plains – take Lake road down two miles to park] should be your next hike. The trail is 1.9 miles with a 926 foot elevation gain. Short and sweaty with supreme sights at the top. The trailhead is located within Thompsons Pond Preserve. There isn’t a big hoopla inviting you to take the hike, so look for the entrance carefully because there are many other trails in the park with different objectives, and you want the fire tower. If you’re coming from Route 82 you’ll take Lake Road for 2 miles and park on the right. This is the sign (to the left of the trail) that is at the beginning of the hike.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_Okay, begin climbing. The first part is the steepest, push on. Just head up the whole way following the trail, forks lead to same point.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_1Only turn you need to worry about is when the trail dead ends, go left (and remember to turn right of course on your return). The hike shouldn’t take more than an hour, or depending on your experience level, you may finish it in a half an hour. You won’t see the tower until you’re almost upon it,

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_2then boom! There it is. BEFORE you head up, make note of which trail you came up, so you head down the right way. Okay, now climb up, up, to the top, which is supposedly 30 feet higher than your average fire tower. The panoramic views of this rural area with rolling hills in the Hudson Valley were outstanding on a early October day.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_4 stissing_mountain_fire_tower_5 stissing_mountain_fire_tower_8It sure was breezy up here, and left me extra cold on account of the good sweat I worked up. I did have just enough time to devour a post-apple picking cider donut from Golden Harvest Farms, the best around!

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_9And read one of my favorite poems of all time which happened to be penned up here by Tolkien (please excuse other graffiti).

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_10What a perfect time of year upstate, when the world doesn’t know if it’s summer or fall, so good to bring myself back to this moment on a winters day. I bet the view would look a lot different in January, but still gorgeous in the different hue. So head back down, remembering where you came up from. Passing by that old rock foundation I knew I was going the right way.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_11Back down that familiar path, still as steep, but more comfortable going down. Just be weary of all the rocks and roots. On the road back home we saw swans in Thompson’s Pond, which looked lovely.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_14Wish there was more daylight to have taken a loop around it, some other time. We saw a young buck slightly hidden in the darkening woods.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_13A red tail hawk posed on a power line.

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_17And as we got farther,

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_16and farther,

stissing_mountain_fire_tower_15that little fire tower on top of Stissing Mountain still waved to us in the distance. What a beautiful area, and an excellent hike!

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