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Showing posts from April, 2018

Dickinson Hill Fire Tower

While fire towers in New York State tend to be more associated with the Adirondacks and the Catskills, there are plenty of fire towers outside of the famed Adirondack and Catskill Parks worth visiting. One of these fire towers is the Dickinson Hill Fire Tower, located not far from NY Route 2 about halfway between the City of Troy and Petersburg Pass at the state border with Massachusetts. With its prime location on the Rensselaer Plateau, the fire tower is located just outside of Grafton Lakes State Park and can be accessed by driving to the fire tower or taking a hike from the park itself.

The Dickinson Hill Fire Tower stands at 60 feet tall at an elevation of 1756 feet above sea level. It was originally constructed in 1924 as a way to spot fires in the forests surrounding Troy's water supply and the fire tower remained in operation for the purpose of spotting wildfires until November 1972. After the fire tower ceased being used to spot fires, it was used as a communications tow…

Beaver Mill Falls

If every waterfall tells a story, then the Beaver Mill Falls in Valatie has quite a robust story to tell. This 25 foot tall waterfall on Kinderhook Creek just upstream from the downtown business district of Valatie once was home to a mill called the Beaver Cotton Mill, which was destroyed by fire during the great Blizzard of 1888. Harry Houdini filmed scenes from his last movie, entitled “Haldane of the Secret Service” in 1921 at the base of the waterfall.

Today, the Beaver Mill Falls has a much quieter existence. The top of the falls is dammed to form a pond upstream. There is a small parking lot with an overlook to the falls. More adventurous people may follow a short path down towards the bottom of the waterfall and see part of the footprint of the old mill.

Sources and Links:
Village of Valatie - Historic Valatie
Upstate Earth - Waterpower in Valatie
See / Swim - Beaver Cotton Mill
Dig The Falls - Map of Waterfall Locations in New York State
American Whitewater - Kinderhook Creek,…

Cathedral Rock Fire Tower

The fire tower at Cathedral Rock is located in the James F. Dubuar Memorial Forest, which is on the SUNY ESF Ranger School property in the picturesque Adirondack community of Wanakena. The fire tower was originally on nearby Tooley Pond Mountain, taken down in 1970 and reassembled at Cathedral Rock. From the parking lots of the Ranger School, you can follow the white blazed Latham Trail to the fire tower. The trail is about 1 mile long, with the trail pretty level for the first 0.8 miles, then it gets steep for the last 0.2 miles. There are some big cliffs along with a few switchbacks near the top of the hill, so like with many Adirondack hikes, you have varying levels of terrain to work with. There is only about a 200 foot increase in elevation from the trailhead to the 1725 foot summit at Cathedral Rock, making it one of the easier hikes in the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge. At the summit there is a small covered picnic area, which is also good if you get caught up in rain. The v…