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Friday, August 9, 2013

Hike to the Dickinson Hill Fire Tower

We took the hike to the recently refurbished Dickinson Hill Fire Tower in Grafton a couple of days ago.  To get there, turn north onto North Long Pond Road between the Grafton General Store and the Grafton Center town square.  You will pass Mill Pond on your right and come to an intersection -- across which is Second Pond -- turn right here and continue north on North Long Pond Road.  As you proceed north, Long Pond will be off to your left.   Proceed, almost to the end of North Long Pond Road, until you see the sign on your right for the Fire Tower trail.  There's a gravel area you can pull off into.

Grafton Fire Tower Trail Sign
The sign says .7 miles.  I think it's tad longer, but not a real long hike.

Most of the trail looks like this... wide, stone trail/road.  Unlike our recent, virtually bug-free hike on the Taconic Crest Trail to the Snow Hole, you'll want insect repellent with you on this hike.  Not horrible, but the mosquitoes were around.

When you come to this thingamajig, keep going straight.  It's not clearly marked here, but taking a left would take you on to the Chet Bell Trail and not to the fire tower.

Stone wall - Grafton, NY
One of a number of stone walls on the way to the fire tower - - remnants of plots of land probably rented from the 9th patroon of Rensselaerswyck, Stephen Van Rensselaer III.  They must have farmed Rensselaer Greywacke here.

A sign here would have been nice.  We thought we made an error.  Fortunately, we guessed right continuing past the house and soon got to a sign on the right point to a trail into the woods and to the fire tower.

As you pass the white house, check out this huge, gorgeous tree in their yard.

Grafton Fire Tower
There's also a large radio tower installation across from the fire tower.  Right about now, you're probably expecting a beautiful panoramic photo take from atop the tower.  Not going to happen -- I fear heights.  Fortunately, someone who didn't have fear of heights, uploaded the following video to YouTube (click here).

I can attest that the Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park's Fire Tower Project was a success.  It is well-restored and a fun hike.  Click here for the trail map to this and all the Grafton Lakes State Park trails.

Click here for a fascinating article and video on Helen Ellett, who spent 18 years as the fire tower observer here.
Other Hikes
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails
Hopkins Forest
The Long Pond Environmental Education Center
Mattison Hollow
Merck Forest & Farmland CenterPark McCullough House and Trails
Robert Frost Stone House and Museum and Trail
RRR Brooks Trail
Snow Hole
SVC Hikes


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