Nuclear Lake


Location: Pawling
Distance: 4.45 miles
Skill Level: easy to moderate
Elevation Gain: 200′
Type of Hike: lollipop
Trail Condition: trail, rocky, gravel
Wow Factor: views of the lake
Note: gun range nearby, stay on the trail on the east side of the lake

How to get there: The parking area is located on the east side of 55 between 22 and 216. It’s across the street from Taghkanic CNC Services, 3144 NY-55, Pawling, NY.  Here is a street view.


Summary: From the parking area, head to the thin trail, following blue blazes.  Pass the power lines and blue dead ends on white.

Hang a left on white.  This is the Appalachian Trail.  You’ll follow white trail for a mile.  Pass the blue trail, walk over some bridges, climb through the rock squeeze.

Just over one mile, you’ll be dumped out on a woods road.

Make a right on yellow to head south.  There is a short path to the lake with a beautiful view and a wide flat spot that would be great for a break either now or after the loop or both.  We saw eagles circling and landing nearby the entire hike around the lake.

Follow the road south down around the bottom of the lake and past the chain link fence that doesn’t stop people from entering the razed site of nuclear testing (don’t worry, they cleaned it up!).

A little farther down the road, there is a turn into the woods and back on an actual trail.  Head left and keep following yellow.  It’ll loop back around to the opposite side of that flat track of land where the site was (you can’t just walk across because there is a wide stream with no bridge).

Walk north up the east side of the lake and yellow will dead end at the white AT trail after a mile.

Head left for a little over half a mile until you come to the junction with yellow.  Follow the white trail they way you came.

Make a right on the blue trail that takes you back to the car.


Facilities: none

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