Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Mount Peter Hawk Watch Trailway

hiking bird viewing area parking icon key

Mount Peter Hawk Watch is located in the southern corner of Orange County.

The Mount Peter Hawk Watch Trailway is a small 5-acre parcel on Mount Peter, a high point along the Bellvale Mountain Ridge. Mount Peter Hawk Watch is unique because of its small size, providing access for a scenic overlook, raptor viewing and birdwatching. This is one of several famous hawk watches in the northeast and is the third oldest in the country. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking are available nearby since a short spur trail (750 feet) on the Mount Peter Hawk Watch connects to a beautiful section of the nearby Appalachian Trail. The lookout platform is 150 feet from the parking area. Please stay on trails which allow for public access through nearby private lands. Please do not trespass on nearby private land.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

There are 2 very short trails, totaling 294 feet, which lead from the parking area to the observation deck.

Wildlife

Two people standing on the viewing platform at Hawk Watch Trailway

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Mount Peter Hawk Watch Trailway is one of several famous hawk watches in the northeast and is the third oldest in the country. This scenic overlook provides an expansive view of the Warwick Valley through which record numbers of migrating raptors pass during fall migration. It is part of a network of hawk watches stretching from Florida to Canada. Broad-Wings, Sharp-Shins, Red-Shoulders, Goshawks, Kestrels and Golden and Bald Eagles are among the more than 16 hawk species sighted.

Directions

The Mount Peter Hawk Watch is just off Route 17A between Greenwood Lake and Warwick. Take the NY State Thruway (87) to the Harriman Exit, go through the tolls, take Route 17 South to 17A west for 9.4 miles and turn right onto Kain Road, the parking area will be on your right.

  • Mount Peter Hawk Watch parking area (41.24453°N, 74.28822°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Mount Peter Hawk Watch Trailway must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Due to its small size and proximity to trails and homes, camping, hunting and trapping are not permitted on this property

How We Manage Mount Peter Hawk Watch Trailway

DEC is developing a unit management plan (UMP) which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

The property is named after the Mount Peter House, opened by Michael Batz in 1890. The 'Peter' was derived from Peter Conklin, the former landowner. In time, the mountain itself came to be known as Mount Peter. The Valley View Inn occupied part of the property until it was destroyed by fire in 1986.

The Mount Peter Hawk Watch, begun in 1957, is one of the oldest hawk watches in the country. Records of migrating raptor species and their populations passing through the area have been kept for over 50 years. Long term trends, monitored along with sightings from other hawk watches from Florida to Canada, show not only the vitality of the hawk species, but also the overall health of the environment. Since 1971, the area has been run by various bird clubs and nature associations, including for 35 years by the Highlands Audubon Society. The property was acquired by the DEC in May, 1990 with funding from the 1986 Environmental Quality Bond Act (Trailways Category).

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us r3admin@dec.ny.gov.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities:

  • Gas, dining, lodging, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Greenwood Lake, Warwick, Florida, Goshen and Howell.

Orange County Tourism website (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.