South Beacon Mountain Lookout

HARD 3 reviews

South Beacon Mountain Lookout is a 9.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Beacon, New York that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

9.2 miles
2,342 feet

dogs on leash


trail running







This is a loop involving the Breakneck Ridge Trail starting at Route 9D. It entails walking the entire length of the Breakneck Ridge Trail (going to the Beacon fire tower), and then taking a somewhat easier way back (limited to the use of blazed trails.) Start at the parking lot on Route 9D about 0.2 miles north of the start of the Breakneck Ridge Trail. You make essentially 4 longer climbs along the trail in order to get to the red-blazed Breakneck Bypass Trail. Instead of taking this option, however, keep on going on the Breakneck Ridge Trail, with a number of ups and downs along the way, passing a couple more trail intersections involving the blue-blazed Notch Trail which first joins from the right and later leaving to the left the Breakneck Ridge Trail. Shortly after the latter, you leave the woods road which the trail has been following, turning left to make a climb up to what is generally known as Sunset Point, where you pass a raised wooden platform to the left of the trail). In a bit you'll make a long, quite steep descent, At the bottom, you cross Squirrel Hollow Brook, and then turn right onto a woods road which is the path of the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Trail. After 0.1 mile, the Breakneck Ridge Trail turns left (leaving the woods road/Wilkinson Trail) to begin a quite steep and eventually rock-scramblingly steep ascent to reach the fire tower. This has a spectacular 360deg view, including the Catskill Mtns to the north and New York City to the south (assuming a day which has reasonably clean air). After enjoying this, retrace your steps about 20 yards, and take the Breakneck Ridge Trail as it starts down the north side of the mountain. When you reach the red-blazed Casino Trail, make a right turn. The Casino Trail officially ends (although the woods road it follows continues on) where the woods road you're on crosses the Wilkinson Trail. Turn right onto the Wilkinson Trail (yellow blazes) and follow it downhill, passing where the Breakneck Ridge Trail joins from the right and leaves to the left. Eventually, you'll reach an intersection where the Wilkinson Trail turns left to join the blue-blazed Notch Trail in ascending to the ridge. Stay straight on the Notch Trail, making sure to stay right at a Y-junction. After a slight climb, the Notch Trail descends moderately, eventually crossing Gordon's Brook, immediately after which the trail turns left. Continue on the Notch Trail, making sure to stay on the trail, despite numerous intersecting woods roads. You will eventually reach the end of the Notch Trail at NY Route 9D. Turn left and follow the road back to your starting point.

1 month ago

Great hike on a beautiful fall day. Start early to avoid the crowds. This one is some work, but the views are well worth it.

2 months ago

This is a loop for the entire length of the Breakneck Ridge Trail, as it goes from the trailhead on NY Route 9D all the way to the Beacon Fire Tower. The return section follows a number of other trails as a somewhat less exhausting way back to your starting point

Friday, November 27, 2015