- Rainbow over the Hudson River along the White Trail at Staatsburg Historic Site. Photo Eric Ortner
Staatsburg State Historic Site
Old Post Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
Distance: 3-4 Mile Loop
Take a stroll through the grounds of the majestic former home of Ogden Mills. Park at the mansion and wander down a wonderful lawn following the blue trail as you head towards the Hudson River. Then take a right on the white trail as it follows the river downstream. Once you reach a paved road take a left and follow it a short distance until you reach the Blue trail. Turn left on the Blue Trail and follow it back North in a northerly direction past some historic structures until you reach the mansion again and find your way back to the parking lot.
- Ogden Mills Mansion at Staatsburg Historic Site
Ferncliff Forest Firetower
68 Mount Rutsen Road
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Distance: 2-3 Mile Loop
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail Map: http://ferncliffforest.org/trailmap/
As you leave the parking lot, follow the yellow trail. After a short distance, you will reach a pond with a few lean-tos located near it, which can be reserved for camping. Turn right on yellow and then follow the yellow trail as it begins to head up hill. The yellow trail will gradually become more steep as it winds its way up to the fire tower. Climb the stairs to the fire tower where you will gain some nice views of the Hudson River and the Catskills across from it. Continue south on the yellow a short distance until you reach the Blue trail. Turn left onto the blue trail and follow it back down past some marshy areas that lead you back to the pond. Then follow the Yellow trail back to the parking lot.
Red Hill Fire Tower
DEC Parking Area
Old Dinch Road
Distance: 2-3 Miles In and Out
Trail Map: https://www.nynjtc.org/sites/default/files/CatskillFireTowers-RedHill_Color-2014.pdf
This is arguably the easiest climb of all the Catskill Fire Towers. Follow the Yellow trail through a mixed deciduous forest. You will wind your way past some large rocks until you reach the caretakers cabin and fire tower. The fire tower offers unmatched views of the Catskills. After climbing the 60 feet to the top of the tower, turn around and head back the same way you came.
Overlook Mountain Ruins
353 Meads Mountain Road
Woodstock, NY 12498
Distance: 4 Miles In and Out
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Trail Map: https://www.nynjtc.org/sites/default/files/CatskillFireTowers-Overlook_Color-2014.pdf
Overlook Mountain is perhaps one of the most romantic hikes of the Hudson Valley. Follow the red trail up a well-graded and maintained service road. Eventually you will reach the remains of the Overlook Mountain house. Take a look around, but don’t dally too long. To complete the trip in under an hour you will need to run back down the road whence you arrived. If you can squeeze in more than hour, then continue up the road to the Overlook Fire Tower for sweeping views of the Hudson River, the Ashokan Reservoir, the Devil's Path, and the Catskills.
Mount Beacon Casino
Wolcott Ave (Rte 9D)
Beacon, NY 12508
Distance: 2-3 Miles In and Out
Trail Map: https://www.scenichudson.org/sites/default/files/Mt.Beacon.webmap.png
Follow the Red Trail from the Scenic Hudson Parking area. You will walk up past the entrance to the former incline railway and then up several flights of steel stairs. From here the trail makes six to seven switchbacks, steeply at times, until you reach the remains of the engine house for the inline railway. You’ll wrap around the old brick structure, until you see an opening on your right. This is the former location of the Beacon Casino, which was a dance hall before it burned down. This outpost offers sweeping views up and down the Hudson River. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Catskills. If you have more than 60 minutes continue up to the Beacon Fire Tower. If you’re in a rush, though, just follow the red trail back down to your car.
- Sunset View from Beacon Casino. Photo Eric Ortner
Spring Farm Parking Area Mohonk Preserve (fees apply)
Upper 27 Knolls Road
High Falls, NY
Distance: 3-4 Miles
Difficulty: Strenuous and Technical
Bonticou Crag is a Hudson Valley Gem. The highlight of this hike is a challenging rock scramble. The summit offers vistas of the Western Catskills and the Rondout Valley. Follow the Blue Table Rock Trail, to the Red Crag Trail. Then take the Red Crag Trail until you reach the junction of Cedar Drive Carriage road and Bonticou Carriage road. From here, follow Bonticou Carriage Road until you see the Yellow trail. Hang a left on the yellow trail and follow it up Bonticou Crag’s technical scramble. Take a minute and catch your breath because you will now need to head back down and run back to the car as fast as you can to complete the hike in 60 minutes.