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Beacon, New York

Mount Beacon Fire Tower

Originally added by Lucas Gashi

The views at the top are spectacular.Fire tower

This hike begins with a steady, steep climb of 1,000 feet of elevation in the first mile, and the overall elevation gain exceeds 2,000 feet. It is not an easy hike, but the spectacular views that it affords are ample reward for the strenuous ascents. Much of the land traversed by the hike has been protected through the efforts of Scenic Hudson, which preserves open space in the Hudson River valley.From a kiosk at the parking area, follow a gravel road gently uphill to the base of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway, in operation from 1902 to 1975. Although it has been abandoned for nearly 40 years, much of the infrastructure remains.The shell of the brick building housing the machinery that powered the railway still stands, and the remains of the machinery may be seen inside.After exploring the remains of the machine house, follow a path to a concrete platform at the site of the former casino, which offers a spectacular view. To the north, you can see up the Hudson River as far as Poughkeepsie, where two bridges cross the river. The rugged Catskill Mountains may be seen to the northwest, with the long, level-topped Shawangunk ridge to the west. Another viewpoint, a short distance to the south, affords south-facing views. The imposing ridge on the east side of the river is Breakneck Ridge, with Storm King Mountain on the opposite bank and Schunemunk Mountain beyond. To the southeast, you can see the fire tower on South Beacon Mountain, which you’ll soon climb. You’ll want to spend some time here, resting from your arduous climb and taking in the view.Built in 1931, the Mount Beacon Fire Tower was used to spot fires for about 50 years. Subsequently, it fell into disrepair and was closed to the public. A volunteer group, the Mount Beacon Fire Tower Restoration Committee, raised funds to restore the tower, and it reopened in June 2013. The tower affords spectacular 360-degree views that are even broader than those from the site of the casino, and on a clear day, you can see as far as the Tappan Zee Bridge and New York City to the south!

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