Barely 10 miles from the convergence of New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut is Thompson Pond, nestled along the eastern slopes of Stissing Mountain near Pine Plains, N.Y.
In summer, hikers can extend the 3-mile Thompson Pond loop by making the steep climb to Stissing’s fire tower. In winter, snowshoers tend to stick to the flat loop, which passes through the headwaters of Wappingers Creek. What can be a wet and muddy path in spring is frozen over and piled with snow through much of winter, making for a relatively easy snowshoe trek.
From the Stissing Mountain trailhead parking lot, take the Friends of Stissing Landmarks Trail and bear right at the first intersection to reach the Thompson Pond Trail. A counter-clockwise loop (following the yellow markers) around the pond will first take you under the eastern slopes of Stissing Mountain. Keep an eye out for an educational kiosk which details the area’s biological diversity.
Once the spring thaw begins, Thompson Pond becomes particularly popular with birders who consider it one of the best locales to spot water birds in the Hudson Valley. Additionally, golden eagles are known to nest nearby.
Distance: 3 miles
Info: AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Catskills & Hudson Valley (AMC Books)