Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park: Pelton Pond
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Cold Spring Turnpike, Kent, NY
Hours:Sunrise to sunset daily
Fee: $7 per vehicle (free with an Empire Passport); Winter Park admission: $9 for adults, $6 for children under age 17
Bathrooms: Pelton Pond; Canopus Beach
Water/Snacks: Water fountains and concessions at Canopus Beach

Pelton Pond offers a nature trail over rugged terrain, and is next door to swimming, camping, and paddling at Canopus Lake. The park is also a great place for skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding.

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park: Pelton Pond
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

With more than 50 miles of hiking trails (including 10 miles of the Appalachian Trail), 79 campsites, year-round fishing and birding, a beach at Canopus Lake in summer, and 15 miles of groomed cross-country trails and snowshoeing in winter, Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park offers outdoors activities for every season.

Many of the hiking trails are long and advanced, but Pelton Pond Nature Trail offers a beautiful setting and a good place for children to learn how to maneuver over tricky terrain. Much of the route is studded with rocks and exposed roots, and lined with thick, verdant moss.

Pelton Pond is just across NY 301 from Canopus Lake. From the parking lot, go left up a small hill to the restrooms. Just beyond the restrooms to the right, look for the wide, yellow-blaze trail and follow it until you come upon a narrow path that makes a sharp right. Take that right; the yellow blazes will appear again farther on. When you come to a T intersection in the path, follow the Pelton Pond sign. Heading clockwise, this will lead you around the southern rim of the long, slender pond, and put you on the western bank heading north.

When you cross a wooden footbridge, you are about halfway along this bank. Around the top (northern) rim of the pond, there is a concrete wall with a rusted pull-wheel structure. It is jarring amid the tranquility, and it reveals that the pond is a flooded iron mine. The iron industry thrived in this region until just after the American Revolution. Continue following the periodic yellow blazes along the eastern bank of the pond back to the parking lot. This is a much gentler walk along well-delineated dirt paths.

A few hundred yards up NY 301 is Canopus Beach, a wide, sandy expanse where you can rent rowboats in summer. Winter Park, situated northwest of the lake at an elevation of 1,100 feet, offers a range of groomed tracks and mapped woods trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. Equipment, including tubes and baby sleds, is available to rent at the lodge, which is also the perfect place to warm up with hot chocolate after a brisk day on the slopes. Remember: All-season fishing for bass, pickerel, perch, and brook or rainbow trout is available on Canopus and Stillwater lakes, and on Fahnestock’s four ponds (New York fishing license required).

Plan B:

Continue north to Taconic State Park to visit Rudd Pond (Trip 85) or Copake Falls Area and Bash Bish Falls (Trip 86).

Where to Eat Nearby:

Restaurants and stores selling food and beverages are along NY 301, Cold Spring Turnpike.


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