Atop Stissing Mountain reveals stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Connecticut, Massachusetts is east with Vermont, then looking southwest Pennsylvania with New Jersey and Albany northward. Stissing Mountain is high point of the area at 1403 feet within Stissing Mountain State Park, south of Pine Plaines, NY.
Its vantage point made it a suitable position for fire spotting purposes so a fire tower was installed. The Civilian Conservation Corp (C.C.C.) erected an International Derrick model 1933, 79’6” fire tower in 1934. A ranger cabin was built 200’ north of the tower but burned in a fire in 1976. The tower was successfully used for fire spotting until 1973, and in 1986 it was determined obsolete by the state and scheduled for removal.
Local concerned citizens formed a committee (FOSL) in 1986 to take responsibility of the tower for public use. It was turned over to the group to fund and maintain in 1994. This allows free public access to the tower at your own risk.
The tower is reached by a trail off Lake Road on the east. The trail near Lake Thompson is the shortest, taking about an hour hike. An alternate route east of the mountain hiking off Hicks Hill Road is longer taking about 2-½ hours. Be sure to follow trail markers staying on the trails, since portions of trails pass over private property.
The mountain was clear-cut in the mid 1800’s for charcoal production and firewood until the early 1900’s. The soil and flora of the mountain is delicate and venerable to damage and erosion. Hikers should watch their footing from loose rocks, roots, slippery leaves and mud. The trails are closed to all vehicles.
Although the east trail is short, be sure to bring enough water, since there are no water sources on the mountain. Hikers are asked to sign in at the trailhead sign in box. Take all trash home with you as a responsible trail protector.
The preserve has National Natural Landmark designation. The mountains geologic composition is Precambrian gneiss bedrock the same as Hudson Highlands 50 miles to the south. Stissing Lake on the east side is a glacial lake about 35’ deep. With surrounding wetlands it is home and a layover for wildlife including eagles.
Pine Plains NY Is a town of 2,473 population. Moravian missionaries settled here around 1740. Its name was inspired by the geographic nature of the area with Stissing Mountain 2 miles south of Pine Plains NY.
Pine Plains NY is a 4 ½ hour drive of 280 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 toward Albany driving south on US 87. Before Kingston drive east route 199 over the Hudson River by the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. Continue on route 199 over the Taconic State Parkway to Pine Plains.
This has the potential of a memorable hike with a wonderful view at the top. Be sure to bring water and trail snacks with a camera to record the outing.