Ferncliff Forest

Open year-round for walking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, skiing--and now--climbing the fire tower!

Ferncliff Forest’s 79-foot fire tower | Photo Courtesy of Ferncliff Forest

Visit Ferncliff Forest

Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve is a local gem and a wildlife haven within Duchess County. In addition, the forest is known as the second-best old growth forest in Hudson Valley and spans 200 acres.

Get a taste of history along the forest’s four miles of trails! Along the way, you will find remains of hand-dug wells, cisterns, root cellars, and decaying foundations. Activities include hiking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and picnics at no charge. To camp at Ferncliff Forest, fill out a camping permit through their website.

About the Fire Tower

Over the years, the forest has been home to several observation towers, each serving a specific purpose. The Astor Family built the first known tower. The Geodeidic Survey erected the second tower to aid in map-making. During World War II, the Army Corp of Engineers built the third tower to serve as a strategic watchtower, providing early warning of attacks, particularly on President Roosevelt’s home.

Lastly, Mike Vilegi, the General Contractor for the project, built the now-standing 79-foot replacement tower. An original International Derrick that traveled all the way from Orangeburg, South Carolina makes up the current tower. This observation tower is the first tower to be constructed in New York State in over half a century.

Both the forest and the observation tower stand today as a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy!


For more information about Ferncliff Forest click this link to be directed to their website.

Take Amtrak to Ferncliff Forest

Experience the wilderness of Ferncliff Forest via Amtrak to Rhinecliff-Kingston Station in Hudson Valley—Don’t forget to use the Amtrak See New York and Save 15% discount!

Rent a car with Enterprise! Pick up your reserved NYTRAIN Enterprise Rent-a-Car right at the Rhinecliff-Kingston Station. Click here to reserve your car or call the Rhinecliff-Kingston Station office today at: 845-336-4700.