Campsite name: Fahnestock State Park, New York (Clarence Fahnestock)
Camping type: Frontcountry camping
Campsite opening hours: The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk except for the areas listed below:
Campground - Opens mid-may
Group campground - Opens end of April
Canopus Lake Recreation Area - End of May
Boat rentals - End of May
Hunting Season - Spring Turkey hunting opens May
Fees: $15 to 24 per night
A vehicle entry fee is only collected to enter the facility. To enter Canopus Lake Recreation Area it is $9 per car. Boat rentals are $10 per hour or $25 per day. Permits to use your own personal watercraft are $10 per week or $30 for a season permit.
Facilities: Fahnestock State Park is a great place for the outdoor enthusiasts. With over 14,000 acres available, this park contains hiking trails, beautiful campgrounds, boating, hunting, fishing, biking, and birding opportunities.
The stunning campground has 80 sites and each includes a picnic table, charcoal grill and fire ring. The campsites are formed along the natural rock ridges which allow campers privacy. There is a separate area for RV camping. There are unfortunately no hookups or dump stations available. However, restrooms and showers are centrally located to all RV and camping sites.
The state park is also home to the Taconic Outdoor Education Centre. This center provides excellent environmental programming. This facility operates a variety of year-round day or overnight programs. They welcome college groups, school groups, scout troops, youth groups and more to their facility. The centre offers a special event called Maple Sunday in March which is a popular tradition for visitors to see the sugaring operation and taste test the syrup.
During the winter months, the Fahnestock Winter Park operates. This winter paradise contains 20 kilometers of machine-groomed trails for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Trails are groomed for both Skate and Classic Skiing. Rental equipment is available for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding tubes and tow-behind skier baby polks. Equipment is available for all ages and ability levels. The park offers a winter concession stand with hot food and drinks. Seating is available both indoors and outside around the firepit. For a detailed winter trail map and information about winter wildlife.
Dogs are allowed at the Fahnestock State Park. However, a maximum of two pets are allowed at each campsite. Pets are to be supervised and on a leash at all times. The leash must not be longer than 6 feet long. They are not allowed in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools or at the beach. A rabies tag must be displayed at all times.
Camping Month: May through to October typically.
Gear: Depending if you are staying overnight in a tent or RV this will change the gear that you need to bring with you during your stay.
Food: All of the food required for your stay will need to be bought with you. There is however a small concession stand available at the campground.
There is a pavilion available for hire in Fahnestock State Park. The day price is $75 and it can accommodate up to 50 people.
Lookout Spot: Canopus Lake is the crown jewel of the park. With a sandy beach, picnic areas and lots of opportunities to boat, fish and swim. This lake is a must-visit when you enter the park. This lake attracts animals from the local region who are looking for a drink. Beaver activity is obvious on the shoreline and there is a large dam near the CCC dam.
Activities: Fishing is popular at both lakes and four ponds. However, fishing by boat is only permitted at Stillwater and Canopus Lakes. All-season fishing is ideal for those anglers looking for bass, pickerel, perch, brook and rainbow trout. All freshwater fishing requires a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. These can be picked up from sporting goods stores and town halls.
Near or within Fahnestock State Park there are multiple popular tourist destinations and attractions. These include:
- Paddle the Hudson river via kayak, canoe or paddle board with rentals and guided tours available through Hudson River Expeditions
- Hike a portion of the world-famous Appalachian Trail as it runs through the Fahnestock State Park
- Hike the #1 rated trail in America, the Breakneck Ridge Trail in Hudson Highlands State Park
Highlight: The Fahnestock State Park represents one of the largest areas of forest in the lower Hudson Valley. This is a significant stopover for breeding birds from diverse species. Birds found during migration or breeding include the Broad-winged Hawk, Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Worm-eating Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager. Species-at-risk at Fahnestock includes the State Threatened Least Bittern and Special Concern Sharp-shinned, Cooper's and Red-shouldered Hawks and Eastern Whip-poor-will.
Download the Fahnestock Bird/Hudson River Checklist and go birding with all of the helpful information to help you on your search.
On weekends park staff lead hikes and activities. The campgrounds nature center houses environmental displays. Our favourite hikes include the following:
- Bull Hill: This trail is a 5.4 mile loop located near Cold Spring, New York. It has great views and will get your heart raising. This unfortunately isnt stroller friendly but older children who are comfortable hiking this distance will love it.
- Appalachian Trail via Iron Mine Loop: The terrain varies on this 5.4 mile loop hike. This contains rock scrambles, water crossings, pine forests, swamps and more.
- Pelton Pond: This is an easy, short hike with a fantastic picnic spot. Strollers are not advised on this trail as it is very rocky. This is an out and back trail, however the stairs will make your calves burn on the uphill. Unfortunately there is no spectaular view on this hike but it is a great workout.
When hiking in Fahnestock State Park is important to wear sturdy and comfortable footwear because the majority of trails are very rocky. Remember to always pack, water, snacks, first aid kit and your cell phone. Hiking poles can be very useful as the trails are steep and rocky. Hiking poles take the strain off your knees and can assist with uneven terrain.