In Rhinebeck NY there are serious pleasures to be had in the great outdoors... And they're FREE! Read this page to learn about 3 outdoor paradises around Rhinebeck New York.
Huff and puff your way up a snow sledder’s dream at Burger Hill Park, climb the 350 foot observation tower at Ferncliff Forest Preserve, and watch twilight blanket the sky at Poet’s Walk Park.
You can see from the parking lot off Route 9G in Rhinebeck NY
the next five minutes of your life - tracking up Burger Hill, waving to
the catskills, and learning a thing or two about birds.
The curvaceous dome rises 550 feet beyond the Hudson Valley.
We saw a man jogging and pumping dumbells on his way up, and even a singer with an acoustic guitar, marching up the hill.
Do whatever you want on your way to the top. 360 degree views of the mid Hudson Valley are waiting for you.
Breathe in the good air, step outside yourself, and take it all in.
The Catskills dominate the West. Looking east the Taconics and Berkshires are rumples in comparison. There's a little glimpse of the Hudson River sparkling in your South view.
The shapes and names of the Catskill peaks you’re looking at are engraved onto stone slabs for you to decipher. You can see the highest peak; Slide Mountain, at 4180 feet, and prominently Indian Head, Overlook, and High Peak to name a few.
As you move through the various paths of mowed grass around the contours of the 76 acre park, notice the patches of green tarps strewn about. The tarps are there to protect the native grasses from the spread of invasive weeds like Black Swallow-wort and Spotted Knapweed.
Come spring and summer the Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks, who make their nests in such open grassy fields, will be singing their flutish melodies. The mountains will be a thick bluish green, and picnics and hikes will be underway.
Autumn will explode the color spectrum across the Rhinebeck NY area. Keep your finger on the camera as you try to capture it's immense beauty.
Wintertime turns the hill into a barren white dome. The mountains across the smokey valley are now purple and white. Locals from Rhinebeck NY and visitors alike climb the hill and fly down on their sleds, snowboards, and skis.
Enjoy a pristine old growth forest open free to the public.
Brooke Astor donated the 200 acre site in Rhinbeck NY, back in 1963,
after being with the family for generations.
From the parking lot, take South Pond trail, stay to the right on North Pond Trail, then make a left on East Tower Trail. This is the shortest route to the Top of Mount Rutsen and the lookout tower.
Eleven marked trails lace their way for miles through the deep woods of mixed deciduous and hemlock trees - should you have more time to explore.
Passing the marshy South Pond we could smell the burnt out remnants of a campfire near the log shelters and see tangled clumps of fishing wire.
If you want to make this your next camp site, make sure you secure a permit before you pitch a tent.
On our journey to the observation tower we passed some families (one local and one visiting from Spain) and two boys carrying an abandoned hornets nest on a stick.
The going was slightly uphill, but easy hiking.
A couple of the little kids were lined up at the top of the hill, waiting to zoom down. Their father called down to them let's get those bikes in the back of the pick-up and get home.
And then the tower was visible. Eighty feet tall on top of Mt. Rutsen's three hundred foot elevation.
Several versions of it existed throughout the century, one even serving as a look out tower to protect President FDR, but this one here, built in 2007, is free to climb by just about any one.
Climb up the tower carefully. The stairs are narrow. You might have to pause for people coming down to pass.
When we got to the roofed platform at the top, the sun was just beginning to settle behind the mountatins.
And we watched as the shadows stretched further over the Mid Hudson Valley.
Enjoy this landscaped park near Rhinebeck NY and you'll be retracing the
steps of famous 19th century writers like Washington Irving.
Just make sure you wear some mud shoes if your expect it to be wet! And don't let the snow stop you either - Strap on those snowshoes or cross-country skis and get out there!
The two miles of trails make for an easy walk full of rewarding views and chance encounters with wildlife.
Enter the park and continue through the various meadows, or “outdoor rooms.” A thin barrier of trees separates one field from the next, and each are supposed to invoke different emotions.
We didn't experience any "foreboding" feelings as it suggested, but I was feeling pretty good about meeting my quota for the day.
We spotted deer grazing in the fields as soon as we entered. They were
already reared up, of course, with their ears honed in and twitching
Overlook Pavilion, an ornate gazebo with a nearby bench, should be your first stop. Watch shadows stripe the meadows and listen to the wind blow over the wild grass.
Follow the mowed path further into the grass field. Continue on until the ground falls away on each side exposing more views of the bridge and river. It stretches out like a long arm, taking you to best views at Flagpole lot.
Here you see that you can take the hill all the way down to the steel overpass, which crosses the train tracks, and perhaps to the water's edge... but a delicate two foot chain and signpost forbids it. You comply, totally satisfied with the view at hand.
Reds, purples and oranges of twilight consume the sky. A slice of winter moon, paired with a planet glows in the vast ocean of space above you.
In the shortest days of the year, it’s already dark by the time the park closes at 6pm.
November 1 to March 13 close at 6pm; March 14 to Memorial Day close at 7:30pm; Memorial Day to Labor Day close at 8:30pm; Labor Day to October 31 close at 7:30pm
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