As I sit here writing it’s November 28th. Several days past the Thanksgiving feast but still a couple of days before the beginning of December. And a day that, like the ghost of my California Christmases past, I’m sitting in shirtsleeves in 60º weather. This, of course, does not keep me from dreaming of what bright hope the ghost of Christmas future might bring—namely, two feet of fresh powder and a pair of snowshoe’s strapped to the bottom of my feet.
Last year I had hoped to write here about snowshoeing locally but unfortunately there wasn’t more than a day or two worth of snow to tromp around in. This year, instead of waiting and wishing, I’m sending this month’s column out as a bright (white!) hope for the future.
Stand in the middle of Beacon, point your finger in any direction and you’ll find that you’re anywhere from two to twenty minutes from great snowshoeing country. Mount Beacon, Stony Kill Farm, and Fahnestock Memorial State Park all provide snowshoeing opportunities for everyone from hikers with the most basic of skills to hardcore snowshoeing enthusiasts.
Fahnestock Memorial State Park
845-225-3998 (Ski Center)
845-265-3773 (Main Office)
Directions: Route 9D South to Route 301. East on 301 appx. 8 mi.
Weekdays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Weekends 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Equipment rentals available on a first come first served basis.
Fahnestock offers more than nine miles of groomed and mapped snowshoeing trails for all levels of experience. For those seeking a “wilder” experience, you also have access to the park’s many un-groomed wilderness trails.
Fahnestock also hosts a Winter Festival the first Sunday in February where you can demo gear and walk the trails in a new pair of snowshoes. So be sure to mark your calendar for February 4th, 2007.
Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center
Directions: Route 9D North. Entrance is 1/10 mile past light at Red Schoolhouse Road
Grounds open daily (including state holidays) from sunrise to sunset.
No rental equipment available.
Stony Kill offers approximately 9 miles of un-groomed trails, all of which are easy enough for beginners and the longest of which is 2.5 miles. Stony Kill typically has a snowshoeing day sometime during the winter, but you’ll need to call for times and details.
Mount Beacon Trails and Surrounds
Get a copy of NYNJ Trail maps for trailhead information, available at either of the shops mentioned below.
While not for the faint of heart (or the beginner) all the trails leading to the top of Mount Beacon offer the opportunity to enjoy trails that are almost untouched by human feet and winter views of the Hudson Valley that are absolutely breathtaking. But beware, these trails are un-groomed and unmonitored and depending on when you go, potentially icy. If you hike these trails be sure to bring a buddy along.
The easiest access to the top of the mountain is via Mount Beacon Monument Road—aka the Fire Road—which begins at the intersection of Mountain Lane/East Main Street and Mount Beacon Monument Road. But it’s possible to snowshoe on any of the trails maintained by Scenic Hudson and the NY/NJ Trail Association.
You need go no further than Beacon’s own Hudson Valley Pack and Paddle or Mountain Tops to rent or buy snowshoeing equipment.
Hudson Valley Pack and Paddle, 45 Beekman Street—845-831-1300—HVPackandpaddle.com
HVP&P sells and rents Tubbs Snowshoes. (www.tubbssnowshoes.com).
Rentals are $20 per day with discounts for multi-day rentals.
You can purchase snowshoes with prices beginning at $109 for adult snowshoes and $60 for children’s shoes.
Mountain Tops Outdoors, 143 Main Street—845-831-1997—mountaintopsonline.com
Mountain Tops sells Redfeather Snowshoes (www.redfeather.com).
You can purchase snowshoes with prices beginning at $90 for adult snowshoes and $50 for children’s shoes.
Mountain Tops does not currently offer snowshoe rentals.
Now, strap those shoes on and get yourself out there!