Stissing Mountain Fire Tower (Classic Trail)

A short, sharp huffer-hike to a very tall fire tower with amazing views of the Catskills and Taconics.

Hike Length: 1.9 miles (3.06 km)

Total Ascent: 800ft (244m)

Intensity: Moderate Taconics Hike

Route Type: Lollipop

Includes: Blazed Trail

Parent Stissing

Similar Entries In: Taconics, The Moderate Hikes, The Most Popular Hikes, , , , , .

Stissing Mountain seen from a distance at sunset

Stissing Mountain seen from the Taconics

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 A steep lollipop route.

Stissing Mountain protrudes beautifully from the middle of the Hudson Valley flats. Situated smack between The Catskills to the west and the Taconics to the east, Stissing’s fire tower offers superb views of both ranges.

Also on view are two large ponds below, Stissing and Thompson. Thompson Pond is a glacial kettle pond, a National Natural Landmark that’s home to more than 387 species of plants, 162 species of bird, and 27 types of mammals.

This whole area is special. Visit any time of year.

Wildlife is abundant on the mountain, which hunters enjoy, and there’s rich mixed forest all over. You may notice some American Chestnut rootstock hanging on, until a cure is found for the dreaded blight.

This short classic route to Stissing Mountain’s fire tower is do-able in an hour, or maybe a little more.

The route shown here is designated “classic” because a new, very fun trail is currently being constructed up Stissing’s steep southeastern slope. See Stissing from Thompson Pond.

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Stissing Mountain Classic Hiking Trail

The Stissing Fire Tower loop trail includes…

  • Roadside parking
  • A steep work-out climb
  • Rich mixed forest
  • A very tall fire tower
  • Amazing views

Allow 60-75 minutes for this hike.

Stissing Mountain Hiking Trail Notes & Gallery

The short 30-40 minute hike to the fire tower is through forest that’s surprisingly rich in wildlife. You may see frogs, snakes, birds, gall wasp galls, even some coyote and bear sign.

wood frog sitting on a rock on Stissing Mountain
Wood Frog

Stissing Mountain Fire Tower

Most fire towers in the region are about 60 feet tall. Stissing Fire Tower is 50% taller. At a glorious 90 feet, you’ll definitely need a good head for heights. But the incredible 360° view from the cabin is worth the extra climb.

Stissing Fire Tower in spring
Stissing Fire Tower is a tall boy

Here’s a look inside the fire tower cabin…

cabin view from Stissing Mountain Fire Tower
Inside the Stissing Fire Tower cabin

The tower is not near the summit, which you can see further to the south…

cabin view from Stissing Mountain Fire Tower
View of Stissing’s summit

Stissing and Thompson ponds below…

cabin view from Stissing Mountain Fire Tower
View from Stissing

view from Stissing Mountain Fire Tower
Thompson Pond

To the north you can see Little Stissing too…

view from Stissing Mountain Fire Tower
View north from Stissing

Stissing Pond seen in spring with the Taconics in the background…

view from Stissing
Stissing Pond and Taconics

Catskills Views

I love these views of The Catskills from Stissing: Ashokan High Point (on the left), Table, Peekamoose, Balsam Cap, Friday, Slide, Cornell, Wittenberg.

view of The Catskills from Stissing
Southern, Central and Eastern Catskills

That’s already a lot of mountains. But it goes on…

Here’s Stoppel Point blocking a view of Thomas Cole, Black Dome and Blackhead mountains. Acra Point is to their right (and that’s Cairo Round Top low on the far right).

view of The Catskills from Stissing
Burroughs Range in back

Kaaterskill High Peak is also prominent…

view of The Catskills from Stissing
Kaaterskill High Peak

Descend the fire tower carefully and head back to your car.

Inside Stissing Fire Tower
Descend the tower carefully

But the hiking doesn’t have to stop there. If you have time, a very short drive or road-walk south brings you to the entrance of Thompson Pond Preserve for some easy, lovely pond and marsh walking.

Similar Hikes

For a more rugged route to the tower, see Stissing Mountain from Thompson Pond.

See my full list of fire tower hikes.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Stissing.

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Smallish roadside lot.

Google Maps Location: 41.970014, -73.682353

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Patchy down low but you’ll have service once you gain some elevation. My network is Verizon. YMMV.