Dutchess County, NY
From the intersection of NY 9D and NY 52 in Beacon, proceed
east/south on NY 9D.
Cross Fishkill Creek and immediately bear left onto Spring Valley Road.
Follow this into East Main Street, which will bear left and then right.
Keep on this uphill until it becomes Mountain Avenue.
At the fork with a yellow "No Outlet" sign, bear right on what appears to be an old driveway, which will lead you to the Beacon water supply tank.
Park in a pull-off outside the gate.
North and South Beacon Mountains, having the highest peaks between the Catskills and the Atlantic Ocean, offer great panoramic views. From South Beacon you can see south to New York City and north to Albany, east into Connecticut, again north to the Adirondacks, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and west to the Catskills.
At the xeric top of North Beacon:
Hell Hollow Road brings you to a view of Fishkill Wind Gap. The north-facing slope of the hill opposite the trail is covered with hemlock.
The Fishkill Wind Gap is where U.S. 9 is in the wide valley a river once flowed. The river eroded the valley cutting across the grain of the hills, forming a water gap. Most rivers and steams erode along the flanks of hills, with the grain. The Highland gorge of today's Hudson River is a water gap, cutting across the grain of the Appalachians. When a river abandons such a cross-grain valley through high hills, the water gap becomes a wind gap.
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Quercus ilicifolia (scrub oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Vaccinium pallidum (lowbush blueberry)