Stissing Lake and Mountain
Lake Road, Pine Plains


Taconic State Parkway north; east on NY 199 a short distance to Dutchess County Route 53; turn right (south) and drive 2.8 miles; turn left onto Hicks Hill Road; drive 0.7 of a mile to a parking lot pull-off on the right.


The ridge rock is Precambrian gneiss. The mountain is the source of the Wappinger Creek. The Mountain overlooks a plain where there are three lakes and the Shekomeko Creek. 93

Mountain Brook flows through Stissing Mountain. The brook flows into Cold Spring Creek which in turn flows into Wappinger Creek.


The Pine Plains area was inhabited by Schaghticoke/Mahican Indians.

Palatine settlers settled in the area. The name of the town came from a pine grove in the hamlet that the Indians used as a burial site.

1706 -- for a century, town growth was limited by the borders drawn for the Little Nine Partners Patent.

c. 1742 -- Moravian missionaries work to convert Native Americans. Gottlob Buttner worked to convert northeastern Mahicans to Christianity and became a martyr after the activities of liquor-selling squatters worsened relations. He and Christian Henry Frausch, both from Bethlehem, began a mission in ‘Shekomeko Native American village.

c. 1775 -- now NYS Route 82 passes the home of Morris Graham, delegate to the Provincial Convention of 1775 and leader of a Revolutionary War regiment.

NY 199 that goes through Pine Plains follows roughly the old Salisbury Turnpike that linked Livingston mines in Connecticut with the Hudson River.

1782 -- Red Hook's "Captain" Cornelius Elmendorph opens his log house tavern, known as Stissing House that was recently restored. It is located at the corner of Church and Main Street.

1803 -- Friends, led by Charles Hoag, begin a Meeting in Bethel, the town's oldest settlement.

1823 -- Pine Grove separated from the town of North East. The villages were Mt. Ross, Pulvers Corners, Hoffmann's Corners, and Bethel. The area dominated by farming and mining industries with connections to rural Columbia County.

Post-Civil War -- coming of the railroads to the area.

1930's -- Stissing Mountain used as a lookout for spotting forest fires.

1939 -- WPA builds a spotting tower.

Townspeople saved the tower by convincing the Department of Environmental Conservation to give it to them. The Nature Conservancy granted funds to purchase an acre of land around it. The Nature Conservancy grants funds to purchase an acre of land around the tower.

Stissing Lake

At the turn of the century, Harry Jackson, a jeweler and sports equipment salesman, was a tourism booster. He photographed many local scenes for postcards. Jackson owned a cottage on Stissing Lake. Near it one could take a moonlight cruise via canoe.

Stissing Mountain exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. It was dedicated in 1951. The diorama attempted to deal with the totality of nature, including the effects of human settlement. Dr. Harvey Shapiro, head of the anthropology department did the mural. He was a summer resident of Pine Plains. 126

Ghee, Joyce C. And Joan Spence. 1998. Image of America: Harlem Valley Pathways: Through Pawling, Dover, Amenia, North East, and Pine Plains. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing.


Consider the area as a clock. The parking area is a 9 o'clock. Proceed in a counter clockwise direction. At 4 o'clock is the ravine. At about 2 o'clock the trail proceeds southwest to the 9 o'clock position and the parking lot. A long the way you pass a quarry.


Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya spp. (hickory)
Juglans nigra (walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Larix decidua (European larch) planted
Pinus resinosa (red pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine) groves
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Quercus spp. (oaks)

Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium sp. (club moss)

Stissing Mountain is 1,403feet high featuring a 90-foot high renovated fire tower with observation deck. Views extend as far as Hunter Mountain. Hike to tower is about one hour. Located in the Stissing Lake Recreation Park which includes lake for swimming and boating, basketball courts, playing fields, areas for roller blading, skate boarding and bike riding. A 450-acre forest is also open to the public with permits.

plants within 5 miles of the village of Pine Plains, Dutchess Co., NY

November 1874 Bulletin of the TBC

Stissing Mountain

Potentilla tridentata -- Stissing Mountain
Betula papyracea -- Stissing Mountain
Prunus pumila -- Stissing Mountain

Our hills, with the exception of the mountain, are mostly limestone -- the plain being a sandy loam. There are over a thousand acres of untilled marsh land in town, besides quite a number of large cold swamps.

five or six good sized ponds and three large creeks flowing through the township

20 different species of Solidago
33 species of ferns

Acer pensylvanicum -- common on Stissing Mountain
Acer spicatum -- common in ravines of Stissing Mt. and Mt. Ararat
Anemone cylindrica -- rare
Andromeda polifolia -- flourishes in the marshes
Arabis canadensis -- common on Stissing Mt and frequent on wooded hills
Arabis hirsutum --common on Stissing Mt and frequent on wooded hills
Arabis laevigata -- common on Stissing Mt and frequent on wooded hills
Betula pumila -- flourishes in the marshes
Blephilia hirsuta -- flourishes in the marshes
Caulophyllum thalictroides -- rather common; abundant along base of Mt Ararat
Circaea alpina -- abundant in one or two deep woods
Claytonia virginica -- not common; grows along Shekomeko Creek and Roelif Jansen's Kill
Clematis verticillaris (common in the ravines of Stissing Mt)
Coptis trifolia -- common
Coronilla varia -- well naturalized in one station, in fields
Corydalis aurea -- frequent on Stissing Mt
Crataegus tomentosa -- common
Dentaria diphylla
Dentaria laciniata
Dentaria maxima -- not common; rich soil in deep raves of mountain
Epilobium molle -- frequent in our boggy marshes
Epilobium palustre -- rare
Fumaria officinalis -- escaped from gardens
Geum rivale -- frequent in our deep swamps
Geum strictum -- very common everywhere about here
Hepatica acutiloba (rare -- sparingly on back slop of Stissing Mt)
Hypericum ellipticum in Wappinger's Marsh
Impatiens pallida -- very common along Shekomeko Creek and Roelif Jansen's Kill
Lepidium campestre -- rare
Lespedeza procumbens -- common on our hills and mountains
Ludwigia alternifolia -- rare
Malva moschata -- not rare in our fields; an escape
Melilotus alba -- becoming common
Melilotus officinalis -- not uncommon along roadsides
Menyanthes trifoliata -- flourishes in the marshes
Mitella diphylla -- common in all our woods
Myrica gale -- flourishes in the marshes
Nesaea verticilla -- rare
Podophyllum peltatum -- not rare
Potentilla arguta -- common on Stissing Mt.
Potentilla fruticosa -- very common in all our marshes; hundreds of acres densely covered w/ it
Potentilla tridentata -- abundant on summit of Stissing Mt.
Prunus cerasus -- thoroughly naturalized about here, in woods and on Stissing Mt
Prunus pumila --- frequent on Stissing Mt; abundant on summit
Ranunculus multifidus -- not common; in streams on Stissing Mt.
Rhamnus alnifolius -- deeps swamps on Stissing Mountain
Rhamnus catharticus -- along Hemlock banks of Mud Pond
Rhus copallina -- common on Stissing Mountain
Ribes cynosbati -- common on Stissing Mt. and in adjoining woods
Ribes floridum -- common
Ribes hirtellum -- common in our cold swamps
Ribes rubrum -- common along creeks and cold woods
Rosa blanda --rather rare
Rosa micrantha -- frequent
Rosa rubiginosa -- frequent
Rubus strigosus -- very common
Sarracenia purpurea -- quite common
Silene inflata -- becoming common along our two railroad lines
Silene noctiflora -- frequent along fences and roadsides
Solea concolor -- abundant on slope of Mt Ararat; with Caulophyllum thalictroides
Stellaria borealis -- frequent
Stellaria longifolia -- rare, Silvernail Marsh
Tephrosia virginica -- frequent on south part of Stissing Mt.
Tiarella cordifolia -- rare; cold mountain woods and along springy banks of a small stream
Waldsteinia fragarioides -- abundant in certain ravines on Stissing Mt.
Xanthoxylum americanum -- very common