Putnam County Highpoint Trip Report

four areas on Scofield Ridge (1,540+ ft)

Date: November 22, 2006
Author: Chris Gilsdorf

Coming from the Westchester County HP, we negotiated the mess of traffic at the I-84 exit at NY 9 and easily found the trailhead per previous reports. The gate near the end of Reservoir Road had several prohibitive signs but, once the yellow trail was picked up, signs were only seen for a short distance on the right side of the trail.

After skirting the pond (which offers a nice view of Scofield Ridge and the impending climb), the trail climbs slightly and cuts over to the base of the valley leading to the notch between the ridge and Lambs Hill to the northeast. It climbs steeply for a few hundred feet, then suddenly crosses the stream, makes a long switchback northeast, and returns to pass through the notch along an old woods road. Shortly beyond, it leaves the road and gains the ridge.

To follow Dan Case's example, I'll refer to the points by A, B, C and D, with A as the negligible southernmost contour and D as the elongated contour that crosses Duchess County. I bushwhacked most of the length of D, hitting the numerous rocks along the northwest edge of the contour amidst sometimes heavy brush. Area C was considerably easier, though I briefly got off the trail and had to bushwhack again to the top (follow the trail, it leads right to the summit). From C, the A/B hill could be seen, along with the semi-bare summit of South Beacon.

Area B was also mostly bare, on trail, and offered great views. By following the trail slightly further, past a junction with a blue trail, I found what I suspect to be A, a small protrusion of rock that probably need not be visited. I returned to the blue trail and took it to the saddle with South Beacon. From here I bushwhacked most of the way to the summit, picking up the white trail at the end. Views were incredible and included Newburgh, the surrounding Hudson Highlands, and the distant Catskills.

I took a different approach back, mostly bushwhacking, to bypass B and return to C. We headed down, making it back to the car just as dusk set in.

Basically, my belief is that B or C is the highest of the bumps and your visit will probably confirm that. On a clear day when the leaves are down, a map should be sufficient for finding your way around. I would like to add that South Beacon is definitely worth a visit if you have the time and to pay attention descending from D to the notch -- we became momentarily confused at the lookout area Mike Schwartz mentions.

Round trip: 3 hours, 15 minutes.