If you live in the New York – New Jersey metropolitan area and enjoy hiking, make it a point to check out Mount Beacon. Located approximately one hour and fifteen minutes from Manhattan, Mount Beacon is nestled in the heart of the Hudson River Valley and offers excellent hiking.
Mount Beacon is approximately a 4.5 mile round-trip hike, and requires a rather steep uphill ascent. I went twice this fall – once solo, and once with Jolyn. The trail follows the route of an old incline railway – at the time, the world’s steepest funicular – that led up to a casino that stood on Mount Beacon.
In order to get to the trail, you can enter “Mount Beacon” into your Google Maps. However, this will locate you on the top of the mountain – a place where you are unable to bring your vehicle and park. In order to find the parking lot, enter the following address, from Bob’s Corner Store (640 Walcott Ave, Beacon NY) – right across the street from the trailhead.
From there, you can park your car and start hiking! You will begin with a series of metal stairs that continues on to a steep uphill ascent. Bring plenty of water and continue to persevere – it’s not easy, but with some breaks along the way, you should be able to make it up to the top. Here is a helpful GPS guide to the hike, as well as a step-by-step description of how to get where you need to be.
You can reach the old railway house and see the gears that used to pull the funicular up the hill in about 1.2 miles This is worth the trip alone – if you want to stop here, you can.
However, if your time and stamina still are not waning, I highly recommend pressing on. If you keep going, you can get to a fire tower that provides absolutely spectacular views of the area – on a clear day, you can see Manhattan!
After a long day of hiking, be sure to check out Denning’s Point Distillery in Beacon. Open for tastings from Fridays through Sundays, Denning’s Point offers a variety of locally-distilled whiskeys, gins, and vodkas. The tiny, DIY-friendly distillery offers tours of its facilities (which is basically a large garage) and explains the craft of distillery to any interested guests. Tastings are $5, but free when you buy a bottle. We especially enjoyed their Great 9 Gin and their Beacon Whiskey, picking up a bottle of each.