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Thompson Pond Nature Preserve

Hudson Valley, New York

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Thompson Pond Nature Preserve

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  • Sign at the preserve entrance.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Gate at the trail-head.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • National Natural Landmark plaque.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • - Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Kiosk on the yellow trail.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Bird house on the pond.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Signs of beavers.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Looking across the pond to the East.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Some local flora.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • One of several stone memorial benches.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Continuing on the yellow trail.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Boardwalks around the southeastern bend.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Stissing Fire Tower to the West.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Looking northwest across the pond.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Farms around the Southeast corner.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Passing by some local bovine.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Headwaters of the Wappingers Creek.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Looking West across the pond.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Looking across the pond to the South.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
  • Road to the west completing the loop.- Thompson Pond Nature Preserve
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Lots of wildlife and trail variety.
Cons: 
Boardwalks may be submerged at times.
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Region:
Hudson Valley, NY
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
40.00 ft (12.19 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter
Total Distance: 
2.75 mi (4.43 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
460.00 ft (140.21 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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Thompson Pond is part of a 507-acre nature preserve that is protected and managed by The Nature Conservatory for its biological importance and scientific and educational use. A series of trails traverse this unique and highly environmentally diversified area that are relatively easy and family friendly. The yellow markers line a 2.75-mile path that circles the pond and offers exceptional opportunities to view wildlife and rare flora.

A sign and gate mark the trailhead off of Lake Road in Pine Plaines, New York. A short distance in there is a plaque embedded into a rock commemorating the pond’s designation as a National Natural Landmark in May of 1973.  Next, you’ll come to an information kiosk that shares some maps and local information about the area. The yellow trail will continue south and pass by several commemorative stone benches that offer serene lookout points across the water. As you approach the southern tip of the pond, the path will turn east and continue adjacent to a fence that borders recreational hunting grounds. A series of raised boardwalks will then take you over marsh lands and outflows; however, they can become submerged when the water table is high. Around the southeast bend you’ll pass a farm with some cows and cross over Wappingers Creek via a quaint walking bridge. Continue north and stay along the water’s edge until you intersect Lake Drive and can walk west to return to the parking area.

The pond is named after Amos Thompson, one of the earliest white settlers of Dutchess County in 1746. There are more than 387 species of plants in the preserve including pipewort, round-leaved sundew, St. Johnswort and cattails. The surrounding woods include oak, sugar maple, ash, hemlock, and hickory. Over 162 species of birds have been spotted here along with 27 types of mammals.  Golden Eagles, threatened by land degradation throughout North America, have lived in the area for many years and have a magnificent wingspan that can sometimes be over 7 feet!

The preserve is open from dawn until dusk, and dogs are not allowed. Picnicking, camping, and fires are prohibited as well as hunting, trapping, and fishing. This is a local favorite for snowshoeing in the winter months! Many adventurers like to combine this trip with Stissing Fire Tower, a 90-foot observation point visible on top of the mountain immediately to the west.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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(25 within a 30 mile radius)

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