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Pratt Rock

One of the more eclectic short hikes in the northern Catskills and really all of Upstate New York is Pratt Rock. It is said that Pratt Rock is New York's Mount Rushmore, due to the carvings on the side of a rock cliff. Nestled on a hillside just outside of Prattsville, New York, Pratt Rock is named after Zadock Pratt, who was a prominent businessman, tanner, U.S. Congressman from the mid-19th Century and one of the key founders of the United States Bureau of Statistics.

The legend behind Pratt Rock is that a young sculptor and stonecutter by the name of Andrew Pearse was walking to his home in Rensselaerville, New York, when he met Zadock Pratt on the road and asked Pratt if he could provide a meal and lodging for a night. Pratt believed in someone working for their keep and asked Pearse what he could do in return for being put up for the night. Pearse was asked by Pratt to carve a horse on a nearby rock. However, since the rock was not on Pratt's property, Pratt then sent Pe…
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Allegany State Park Stone Tower

Having never really explored the largest state park in Western New York before, Allegany State Park, I wanted to take in a few of the highlights of this park while I was near Salamanca. After downloading a handy dandy map (courtesy of, the first thing I was inclined to check out was a stone tower, figuring that I could get some decent views of the surrounding hills and countryside. Not too much information is available about this tower, except that it was built in October and November 1933 while the Civilian Conversation Corps (CCC) was working at Allegany State Park. Still, it is a neat little tower to check out, complete with a spiraling staircase and an observation deck that has a nice view at any time.

Sources and Links:
USA Today - The History of Stone Tower at Allegany State Park
Adirondacks High Peaks Forums - A Tale of Three Towers - Allegany State Park 

How to Get There:

Little Rock City

I've long been intrigued with the idea of a rock city, which is best described as a formation of large rocks with narrow pathways between the rocks. It is said that the formations resemble a city made of large buildings and narrow streets with a city street pattern to match, hence the name "rock city". Rock cities were not formed by glacial activity, but rather from the the separation of resistant and non-resistance rock layers through erosion. Rock cities are found in a few places such as the Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park in northeast Ohio, Hector Falls in northwestern Pennsylvania, Rock City Park in Olean, Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park and the subject of this blog post, Little Rock City.

Located in Rock City State Forest, a little off the beaten path, but between Ellicottville and Salamanca. The loop trails that lead you to Little Rock City are right near the end of a cul-de-sac where there are some primitive campsites with picnic table shelters. Since I was…

Carters Pond

Located in the Town of Greenwich, Carters Pond is part of the Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area operated by the New York State DEC. Outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are available at Carters Pond, but what attracted me to visiting Carters Pond was the chance to stretch my legs and take a short walk around their nature trail. The nature trail is a mile long loop going through woodlands and also through wetlands (on a boardwalk), and is a fully accessible loop for another half of its length.

Sources and Links:
Lakes To Locks Passage: Carter's Pond Wildlife Management Area
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation - Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area

How to Get There:

Chazy Lake

Sometimes while driving around the highways and byways of New York State, I come across beautiful scenery that just begs for me to stop and take in my surroundings. This is what happened one early summer evening as I was driving through the northeast edge of the Adirondacks past Chazy Lake on NY 374. Nestled between the towns of Lyon Mountain and Dannemora in New York's northeastern-most county, Chazy Lake is popular for boating, fishing and also boasts a small beach. Near the lake's western shore is the trailhead for Lyon Mountain, which has a fire tower at its summit that offers views of Montreal, Lake Champlain, Vermont and the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. Someday, I'll be back at Chazy Lake with my kayak or to hike up the mountain.

Sources and Links:
Town of Dannemora - Chazy Lake Beach
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation - Chazy Lake
Visit Malone, New York - Lyon Mountain - Purffect Hike
CNY Hiking - Lyon Mountain

How to Get There:

Bucktail Falls

One of the prettier waterfalls in Central New York, the 21 foot tall Bucktail Falls is located in Spafford, New York near Otisco Lake. Bucktail Falls is scenic, regardless of the season or the angle that you are looking at the waterfall from. While it is visible from the roadside, you can easily walk to the waterfall in just a minute or so. The area around the waterfall is on private land, but the owner has graciously allowed the public to visit the waterfall. Bucktail Falls got its name from local resident Captain Asahel Roundy, who commanded the 96th Militia of New York during the War of 1812. Roundy was a prominent member of the Bucktails, an important political faction in New York State at the time.

Some photos of the waterfall in early November and late July...

Sources and Links:
CNY Hiking - Bucktail Falls - Bucktail Falls

How to Get There:

Saugerties Lighthouse

When you think of lighthouses, first you may think of a lighthouse along the ocean or perhaps one of the Great Lakes. However, there are a number of lighthouses that are located up and down the Hudson River from New York City to the City of Hudson. With the Hudson River being a tidal estuary as far north as the Federal Dam just north of downtown Troy, ships can travel far north up the river and therefore would need lighthouses to guide the way.

One of these lighthouses is the Saugerties Lighthouse, located some 100 miles north of New York City and 42 miles south of Albany. Constructed in 1869 at the mouth of the Esopus Creek in order to aid navigation for boats along the Hudson River. With canals such as the Delaware and Hudson Canal terminating in Kingston and the famed Erie Canal once having ended in Albany, there was plenty of commercial traffic traveling the river. This was not the first lighthouse constructed at this site either. Previous lighthouses in Saugerties were construct…