New York

Thompson Pond and Stissing Mountain

At the foot of Stissing Mountain lies the ancient Thompson Pond Basin, which formed nearly 15,000 years ago when a melting ice chunk created a depression, or kettle. Over time, the kettle divided into three interconnected water bodies, including Thompson Pond, which forms the headwaters of a major tributary of the Hudson River. The basin's pond, cattail marsh, swamp and upland forest support a wondrously diverse array of wildlife.

Why We Selected This Site

Thompson Pond was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1973. It is considered an excellent example of a calcareous (or limy) wetland that abounds with a variety of wildlife. The Nature Conservancy seeks to preserve its 387 plant species, 162 bird species and 27 mammal species.

What We Do Here

As development threatens to alter the bucolic character of the region, The Nature Conservancy is working to promote the continued protection of the area's open space and other local natural resources. Ecological researchers and natural history clubs are encouraged to utilize Thompson Pond Preserve for educational and research activities. 

The newly constructed bog bridge along the yellow trail at Thompson Pond (Dutchess County) makes it possible for visitors to complete the loop. Happy hiking!

The preserve is open dawn to dusk for passive recreational and educational uses, such as cross-country skiing, hiking and bird study. There are several trails around the pond. For stunning views of the area, take the steep trail leading to a historic fire tower on the top of Stissing Mountain.

Before you visit, please see our Visitation Guidelines and download a preserve map

More than 245 species of land plants and 142 wetland plant species have been identified at the preserve. Around the wetlands, you can find pipewort, round-leaved sundew, marsh St. Johnswort, a cattail community, and ferns and wildflowers that grow in calcareous and acidic soils. Woodlands feature oaks, sugar maples, ash, hemlock and hickory.

Migratory birds, including ducks and warblers, pass through here in great numbers, and this is one of the best spots in the region for observing water birds such as rails. Red-tailed hawks nest in the area and golden eagles soar over open fields and near the peak of Stissing Mountain.

This 530-acre preserve is located in Pine Plains in Dutchess County, New York.

  • Take the Taconic Parkway to the exit for Route 199.
  • Go east on Route 199 to Route 82;
  • Follow Route 82 south to Pine Plains.
  • Turn right onto Lake Road, and follow 1.6 miles to the parking area and preserve entrance on left.
  • The trailhead to reach the fire tower is 0.4 miles further on the left; park on the right.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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