Hiking to the Fire Tower on Stissing Mountain, New York


My pal Rikka traveled the world for 15 months and when she returned, in December 2015, we did a hike she had been meaning to do for 28 years because it is more or less in her backyard. You may remember Rikka from that time we saw a bear together while hiking Giant Ledge! Like I mentioned in my last post, this winter was very mild in New York City so all of these photos feel surreal to me seeing as how we did this short hike the day after Christmas!

Stissing Mountain is a small mountain with geological significance in the area. So much significance that the mountain has it's own exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. "This area of New York State was selected as a basis for the hall because it has mountains, natural lakes, forests, a variety of rock formations and both wild and cultivated land." I guess this is true, but if you could do only one hike in the Hudson Valley, I would not recommend this to be the one because I'm all about the view and the view here, while nice, is not majestic like other upstate New York areas!

Hike length: 1.9 miles (roundtrip)
Hike time: 2 hours
Peak Elevation: 1,403ft (427m) and then add 90 feet (27m) if you climb the fire tower

The hike is pretty quick and moderate. It gets steep in some places, but since it is overall so short, that's not such a big deal (you like my professional assessment here?). At the top is a fire tower, which is only scary if you're scared of tall, rattling, old things! For those interested in further fire tower exploration, of the hikes I have done in the Catskill Mountains, there is a fire tower atop Outlook Mountain and Hunter Mountain. (The latter post is from before I decided to post separate blogs on hikes I do.) My favorite part of the hike, however, was Rikka running into a former classmate and them talking the whole way down about their tiny town and then running into more people they knew. It really is the definition of hiking in your own backyard!

We're going up there. Can you spot the fire tower?
Rikka at the start of the trail near Thompson Pond

"Take a photo of me with green stuff!"
Rikka's camera makes colors very vibrant =) Oo la la
Fire Tower!
I love this dork <3
At the top of Stissing Mountain, in the fire tower.
It was a grey day but you can make out the Catskill Mountains behind us a bit.
Thomas Pond to the east
Catskill Mountains
And of course as it goes in small towns,
while in the fire tower Rikka recognized a guy she went to high school with.
Happy to be hiking in DECEMBER in NEW YORK! What?!
They caught up on everything and everyone on the walk down,
 and then the guy ran into other people he knew!

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