South Beacon Mountain and Scofield Ridge, Dutchess County, New York

Suri and Greg joined Batya and me as we drove up to Beacon. It had been four years since I last enjoyed this same hike, but it was new to the three of them. The parking lot at Mount Beacon Park was full, but we parked on the street just outside the parking lot, next to a non-native Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana):

Callery pear

Callery pear

After stretching for a few minutes, we entered the woods, soon arriving at the foot of the staircase:

Stairs in Mount Beacon Park, Dutchess County, New York

Stairs in Mount Beacon Park

We climbed 800′ along the stairs and the steep switchbacks of the red-blazed Casino Trail, arriving at the ruins of the powerhouse of the incline, which is slowly disintegrating. Here is part of a brick from the local Denning’s Point Brick Works, from which the powerhouse was constructed.

Brick from Denning's Point Brick Works, Dutchess County, New York

Brick from Denning’s Point Brick Works

What’s left of the powerhouse:

Mount Beacon Incline Railway powerhouse, Dutchess County, New York

Mount Beacon Incline Railway powerhouse

The silenced massive gears of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway:

Mount Beacon Incline Railway powerhouse, Dutchess County, New York

Mount Beacon Incline Railway powerhouse

The large ledge adjacent to the powerhouse ruins provided a lovely view of the Hudson, the City of Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge:

Hudson River, City of Beacon, and Newburgh-Beacon Bridge Dutchess County, New York

Hudson River, City of Beacon, and Newburgh-Beacon Bridge

We continued our hike on the red trail. Here, the fire tower on South Beacon Mountain comes into view:

South Beacon Mountain fire tower, Dutchess County, New York

South Beacon Mountain fire tower

Someone went a little overboard on building cairns. I’m not even sure why one cairn would be needed here, as the trail was well-marked:

Cairns, South Beacon Mountain, Dutchess County, New York

Cairns

We detoured from the red trail to visit the fire tower, following an unblazed trail that runs along bare rock. The fire tower is looking good! The flag is a new addition that hadn’t been there at my last visit. Also, there were many plaques of dedication mounted to the stair treads:

South Beacon Mountain fire tower,Dutchess County, New York

South Beacon Mountain fire tower

A panorama of the Hudson Highlands, from the top of the fire tower:

Hudson Highlands from South Beacon Mountain fire tower, Dutchess County, New York

Hudson Highlands from South Beacon Mountain fire tower

A panorama of the Hudson River, from the top of the fire tower:

Hudson River panorama from South Beacon Mountain fire tower, Dutchess County, New York

Hudson River panorama from South Beacon Mountain fire tower

The hiking newlyweds:

Charlie and Batya, South Beacon Mountain fire tower, Dutchess County, New York

Charlie and Batya

The tower is 60′ tall. I forgot to take a shot from the top platform looking down, but this is from about 45′ from the ground:

Looking down from South Beacon Mountain fire tower, Dutchess County, New York

Looking down from South Beacon Mountain fire tower

We ate lunch at the base of the tower. I saw a number of blueberries there and elsewhere on the hike, and while most were too small, I ate a couple of larger ones, which were suitably sweet:

Low-bush blueberries, South Beacon Mountain, Dutchess County, New York

Low-bush blueberries

After lunch, we returned to the red trail, which soon ended at the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail. We turned left on that trail. Whereas the red trail had been a former woods road, the Wilkinson Memorial Trail was a foot path. In many cases it moved through wooded areas, though every once in a while we came to a clearing with a scenic view.

Hudson Highlands from Scofield Ridge, Putnam County, New York

Hudson Highlands from Scofield Ridge

The Beacon Reservoir:

Beacon Reservoir, Dutchess County, New York

Beacon Reservoir

I believe this is Glassbury Court at Cold Spring, a subdivision for seniors:

Glassbury Court at Cold Spring, Putnam County, New York

Glassbury Court at Cold Spring

The yellow trail ended, and we turned left onto the very short blue-blazed connector trail. This took us to Dozer Junction, where we took turns posing on the Caterpillar D2 tractor:

Batya at Dozer Junction, Scofield Ridge, Dutchess County, New York

Batya at Dozer Juction

Charlie at Dozer Junction, Scofield Ridge, Dutchess County, New York

Charlie at Dozer Junction

Dozer Junction was practically at the end of the short blue trail, and we turned left on the white-blazed Fishkill Ridge trail.

A pretty bed of haircap moss (Polytrichum):

Haircap moss

Haircap moss

Another scenic view of the Hudson River:

Hudson River from Fishkill Ridge, Dutchess County, New York

Hudson River

A tone-mapped image, showing Greg and Suri as they descend a trail, with the Hudson below:

Hudson River, Dutchess County, New York

Hudson River

Another view of the Hudson River, the City of Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge:

Hudson River, the City of Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Dutchess County, New York

Hudson River, the City of Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge

It was nice hiking among the trees:

Tree, Dutchess County, New York

Tree

Wildflower:

Wildflower, Dutchess County, New York

Wildflower

We saw a Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula), with a very vivid orange color. Unfortunately, he was very skittish, and other than this backlit silhouette which barely shows any color, I could not get a good photo of him.

Baltimore oriole

Baltimore oriole

The yellow trail led back to the red trail at the first switchback, and we walked down that and then descended the stairs to Mount Beacon Park and the car.

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