Hike Distance: 7.89 Miles
Trails: Casino (red), Breakneck Ridge (white), Wilkinson Memorial (yellow), Fishkill Ridge (White), Blue, Yellow
Mountains: North Mt. Beacon, South Mt. Beacon, Lambs Hill
Going to this trailhead reminded me of the numerous trips I used to take to visit my grandparents. Most of the landmarks are still there.
I knew this would be a bigger hike, just planning it out. The distance was in my wheelhouse, the three big climbs were what would make it more difficult. I got to the parking lot at 8:30 and there were plenty of spots to park, which is always a good sign. It was nice and sunny with temperatures in the middle 70s to start.
The plan was to climb North Mount Beacon, head over to South Mount Beacon, then walk Scofield Ridge to Lambs Hill and come back on the Fishkill Ridge trail. It all went to plan.
The Casino trail heads out of the parking lot. The trail is so named due to the old “casino” that used to be atop North Mt. Beacon. There used to be an incline railway at this location, that took passengers to the Casino – which had food and a dance hall. All structures are now gone, only a few landmarks exist. Before heading up the mountain, you pass the lower station from the incline railway.
After a short walk on a wide flat path, you come to the stairs, which get you a good way up the mountain – certainly not all of it.
After the stairs, the trail is wide and flat. And, with a number of switchbacks, gains a lot of elevation quickly.
I couldn’t believe what I saw (in spots,) some trees have already started changing colors. Mostly, I saw yellow on Birches and some Maples.
The picture below is not of a trail. It’s where people have started cutting the switchbacks. I don’t get it. The switchbacks make it easier to climb. The picture is looking down. What doesn’t come across is how steep it is. I’m not sure I understand why you would want to take that “shortcut.”
After a little more uphill, there is a spur trail off to the right, which has a nice view, and a path to the remains of the machine house for the incline railway.
The view is looking west.
Above this are the remains of the machinery and housing for the upper portion of the incline railway. An organization is looking to preserve what is left.
Following the Casino trail to the top of North Mount Beacon will lead you to where the Casino used to stand. Crossing that location is a big viewpoint looking west. It was clear enough to see the Shawangunks in the distance.
The hike to South Mount Beacon is not long, but does involve some uphill climbing. You will pass a small spur trail on your left that goes to the true summit of North Mount Beacon. On the way were more trees already changing color.
There is an unmarked turn that shaves some distance on the trip to the fire tower and top of South Mount Beacon. I, obviously, missed it; and walked until I took the newer White Trail (the back portion of the Breakneck Ridge trail) to the top. Climbing up behind the tower had a nice view looking south.
The top afforded 360 degrees worth of views, some of which are below.
The tower is always open, and I watched many people climb. I did not.
The next part of the trip was along Scofield Ridge, which had some nice views looking off the ridge.
One particular rock outcropping had a nice view looking east and included the Beacon Reservoir.
Walking the ridge is quite pleasant and mostly flat.
There was one nice scramble just before some viewpoints. This was pretty steep, but not long. My bigger concern on scrambling up was that there could be snakes sunning themselves on the rocks. Fortunately, none were to be seen. Though, while on top of South Mount Beacon I talked with one group that seen a black rat snake.
After the following viewpoint, the trail descends off the ridge, which felt good. Though, that meant there was a climb up Lambs Hill. This viewpoint was nice – and is just off the trail at a hairpin turn.
A quick jaunt on the Blue trail (not named on the NY NJ Trail Conferences maps) takes you through a nice forest.
I am so not ready for this:
The Blue trail ends at Dozer Junction. Yes, that’s how it is named on the map. The intersection is with the Fishkill Ridge trail. How a bulldozer ended up here, I’ll never know, and don’t really want to speculate.
The Fishkill Ridge trail climbs Lambs Hill, and at this point I was getting tired. There are two nice viewpoints at the top which I took advantage of to eat. From there it was time to lose elevation. And the trip down had some pretty tricky spots. After a stream crossing, I took the Yellow trail back to the parking lot. Unbelievably, I had to climb a bit to get back to the Casino trail that would lead to the car. I wasn’t really taking any more pictures.
Just as I was coming down the stairs and heading back to the car I started to hear rumbles of thunder. I grabbed some food from across the street of the parking lot and sat on benches under some trees to eat, and the rain started coming down good. People were flocking off the mountain, and I suspect some got really wet.
Spotted Lanternflies: 0