Sunday, November 26, 2023

North Hook Mountain at Rockland Lake

Hook Mountain / Rockland Lake State Parks
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 1:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.5 Miles

Pros: Scenic area
Cons: Walk on road
Hike Type: Loop
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Google Maps of Parking:

Map of the Route

Parking Area at Rockland Lake Landing

Long Path

Small Cemetery at the Beginning of the Hike

Cliff at Hook Mountain

Looking Over the Hudson River

Long Path

Hudson River below the Cliffs

Ossining Across the Hudson River

Croton Point

Lighthouse in the Hudson River

Looking Down the Cliff

Golf Course Scenery

Sign at Rockland Lake Landing

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Beacon Mountain Fire Tower

Mount Beacon Park / Hudson Highlands State Park
Dutchess Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Casino Trail: Red blaze
Breakneck Ridge Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.4 Miles

Pros: Solid climb, great views
Cons: Graffiti and busy area
Hike Type: Lollipop Loop
Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Google Maps of Parking:

Mt. Beacon is the highest mountain in the Hudson Highlands. The most popular hike up Mt. Beacon is to the former Casino site with a sweeping view overlooking the city of Beacon. However, the more serene and dramatic hike is further along the trail to the top of the mountain and the fire tower. It was Thanksgiving and I was off, so I took the opportunity to do the full hike to the fire tower.

I parked at the Mt. Beacon Trailhead on Route 9D at Mount Beacon Park. (This parking area was recently rehabilitated.) I took the Casino Trail, a heavily used trail, up the mountain passed the former abandoned incline railway site. Many years ago, there was an active incline railway up the mountain to the former Casino site.

I took the steps portion of the trail, and continued the rigorous and unrelenting trail up the mountain. I then approached the abandoned pull station of the top railroad incline, where the major view is, and with the clear day and blue skies it was impressive. I then continued along the Casino Trail further up the mountain, along the side of the ridge, with the fire tower in view in the distance. I passed some views along the way and then at the Breakneck Ridge Trail, I took the trail further up the mountain towards the top. The top area is rocky with sparse tree cover, and has great views. It was really windy on the top and I was afraid to take the fire tower to the top, but in the end I was able to come to my grips and do the final climb to the top of the tower. I then climbed down the rocky trail on the north side of the mountain, which I took back to the Casino Trail and back down the mountain to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Information at the Start of the Hike

Beginning of the Trail

Ruins of the Start of the Incline Railroad

Steps Up the Steep Part

Water Tank Near the Steps

Top of the Incline Railroad Ruins

View of Beacon from the Top of the Incline Railroad

View of Beacon from the Casino Site Ruins

View of Denning Point

View of Beacon and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge

View of the Hudson River

View of the Fire Tower in the Distance

Abandoned Communications Tower

View Ascending Towards the Summit

Approaching the Fire Tower

View from the Top of Mt. Beacon

View from the Fire Tower

View of the Beacon Reservoir from the Fire Tower

View of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge from the Fire Tower

View of North Beacon Mountain from the Fire Tower

Fire Tower at the Summit

Abandoned Communications Tower on Beacon Mountain

Abandoned Building Interior at the Above Tower

Ruins at the Top of Incline Railroad

View of Beacon at the Top of the Casino Site Ruins

Late Season Fall Foliage