Firetower Notes

field trips 1997 - 2003

Mt. Adams

('01) Armed with a 1973 trail description and verbal directions from a couple of people I set out. I found the cabin soon after Lake Jimmy but did not find the trail, so bushwacked up. Found the trail 50' from the tower and I was truely bushed! Anyway, incredible view from the tower of the "backside" of Marcy, Colden, Algonquin to the NE, Redfield and Allen E, the Hudson valley S, and Duck Hole with Ampersand beyond to the NW. Top platform of the tower missing so had lunch on steps just below. Several rolls of screening for the stairs are scattered around the base. Took the trail down (much easier) and found my mistake. Go about 100 yards past the cabin to the top of a rise and you will see flagging on the L. The trail goes through logged areas for several tenths of a mile then cuts into the woods the rest of the way.
There are several Private Land signs along the trail, but they are the same as the one you see when the trail first crosses the Hudson. I've heard this tower is on the list to be removed which I think is......terrible!

('03) The lower part of the trail has gotten overgrown with raspberries and birch saplings, but the worst growth has been cleared to expose the cairns. Lots of orange flagging seen all the way to the top. On a windy day the roof of the cab was rattling so loudly it sounded like it would blow off.

Ampersand Mtn.

('00) The bare summit and proxmity to the high peaks and Saranac Lakes make this one of the best for views. There are at least 11 other firetower mountains visible - CW from north: Debar, Loon Lake, Lyon, Whiteface, Hurricane, Adams, Blue, Owls Head, Mt Morris, Mt Arab, and St. Regis. The trail was recently rebuilt at the top with boulder steps for quite a ways - what a bunch of work that must have been! Thank you, whoever you are. Note - the parking lot on Rte 3 is barely adequate for a weekend crowd and there's not much shoulder to park on so get there early.

Mt Arab

('99) The 'Friends of Mt Arab' are really making progress. The tower is safely restored, the cabin is getting rebuilt, and the trail is slightly rerouted. They now have a web site.

Azure Mtn.

('02) In November of 2001 Azure Mountains Friends was formed and in the summer of 2002 this fire tower was totally restored. It is an amazing transformation.

('99) A steady uphill 1 mi. hike brings you up to a wonderful view of the St Regis river basin. Abandoned, short firetower is in very bad shape. The mostly bare summit gives good views except to the north. Interesting erratic boulders.

Belfry Mtn.

('00) Freshly painted, new steps and a new floor in the cab. Besides me, birdwatchers and radio amateurs using the site. It's so nice seeing a firetower being used and cared for.

('98) A real easy hike via a short dirt road to a firetower in good condition with great views. The tower has many antennas and hopefully they can keep it open to the public. Crews were fixing vandalism while we were there. Birders come here to look for hawks and we saw one (hawk).

Black Mtn.

('99) Excellent view of Lake George and the surrounding mountains. The firetower is fenced off and covered with antennas.

Blue Mtn.

('01) At the start of our hike the summit was clouded over, then half way up it started to rain. The theory that a locked tower cab might still provide some shelter from the rain was proved false - when a breeze is blowing, everything gets wet. Our summit stay was abruptly terminated when a lighting flash (2 miles away, but still....) sent us scurring downward. An hour later back at the car, the summit was clear!

Boreas Mtn.

('03) We spent a weekend at the Elk Lake Lodge to have access to the private trail up this mountain. The trail no longer goes from the road near Clear Pond, but starts at the lodge and follows an old road south 2.4 miles to Foote Camp where it crosses the stream coming off Boreas, then joins the old trail (another road, really) and starts to gently climb. After 1.1 miles a clearing is reached (old cabin site) and the road changes to a trail for the last 1000' up. Beautiful view to the east of Elk Lake, Clear Pond, Nippletop, Dix, Hough, and McComb. Limited view through some trees of Marcy and the Great Range. From the logbook at the lodge, not too many people do this hike. When you want to treat yourself, Elk Lake Lodge, North Hudson NY 12855 (518)532-7616 phone or 532-9262 fax.

Buck Mtn.

('01)This and Salmon Lake Mt. were put up by Whitney Industries in the 30's and operated by them, collaborating with the state tower system. It is still on private land. (from Bill Starr)
Buck tower is visible from the Little Tupper Lake area and reportably also Rte. 30. Salmon Lake Mtn. tower is visible from Rock pond.

Cat Mtn.

('00) We were lucky enough to get a boat ride to Janack's Landing, thus saving 4 miles off the hike from Wanakena. This is in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, so the trails are getting minimal maintenance. The old fire road is being allowed to get overgrown. Despite this, there is a radio repeater on top of Cat Mtn for the ranger's radios. This is justified because Cat Mtn and High Falls have rather high traffic.

View from Cat without the tower is 180 degrees, only to the east, and looks down onto Cat Mtn Pond, the Oswagatchie River valley and High Falls area. Only a little corner of Cranberry Lake is visible to the N.

Catamount Mtn.

('00) The land is posted by William Lynch, Syracuse NY, but he is often at the home just past the gate at the end of Carry Falls Rd. If so, you'll probably be given permission and shown the trail. It is a steady uphill path, going for only one half mile. At the top is a large exposed boulder, but where the tower stood is all overgrown with trees. Some trees have been cut to give a view to the north.

Cathead Mtn.

('00) The Cathead Mtn, trail is closed due to a logging dispute between the hunting club that owns the land and the state DEC.

('97)Wide and well worn trail. Besides the funny antenna on top of the tower, the summit also has a windmill and a helicopter pad. We just missed the helicopter when we were there! Work crews are installing solar panels on the tower - apparently the windmill is high maintenance and not reliable. Met one of the members of the hunting club that owns the land at the bottom of the trail for the first 1/3 mile and the top for the last .2 mile. The middle part of the trail is state land and the club leases the mountain top to NY State for the antennas which are used by the State Police.

Crane Mtn.

('97) Great (though steep) hike up then loop trip down to Crane Mtn. Pond and then pond with outlet flowing into a cave. No tower, but still great views. Upon returning to car, we read in the guidebook about the north ledges. Next time!

Cathedral Rock

('00) Ok, this is not an original firetower mountain, but the new home of the Tooley Pond Mtn. tower removed 30 years ago and slowly rebuilt on the Wanakena Ranger School campus, finally dedicated this August. The red and white tower cab is just visible from route 3 - it is about a 1/2 mile E of the highway (Rte 3 goes almost N-S here) and accessable by foot on the interior campus roads. Unfortunately there are no signs to direct you but you can ask at the ranger school for directions and walk in from there or try this: drive the 'Forest Tour' road off rte. 3 about 2 mi. E. of the Wanakena Rd. (provided the gate is open) and proceed a little less than 2 mi. to a double gate and park. Walk in past the gate and soon the road forks, keep R. After about 1/2 mi. find and take a trail R. with red markers. Go into the woods about 100' to a cliff wall and go L.(leave the red marked trail which goes R.). The trail goes up (at one point you have the choice of stairs with loose steps or a slippery ledge), to a rock outcrop, then past a leanto, then straight to the tower.

The tower is in excellent shape, the cab was open when we were there, there is a new map table inside with a map for the new location. Parts of Cranberry lake are visible, Cat Mtn., Arab Mtn, and Tooley Pond Mt. (8 mi. directly north). There is also a rotating mirror on top of the cab, a replica of what was used for surveying purposes long ago, however its bearings were loose and it was making quite a racket in the mild breeze - it sounded like it won't last long without some fix. And I wonder what brave person put it there and gets to retrieve it.

Dairy Hill

('97) This is not much of a hike, but the road to the gate is little more than a farm path so it was an adventure. Drive through Norway and out Dairy Hill Rd - Observatory Rd is a right just before coming to a radio antenna. Approach from south is not possible. It looks like all the land is posted, but really the road past the gate is state land. The tower road is very overgrown and has fallen trees. Nice clearing where the tower stood but no views. But back at Dairy Hill Rd. is a great view to the N and E of the West Canada and East Canada drainage basins and distant mountains. The owner of the surrounding land said the tower was removed three years ago and was still being used 6 or 7 years ago.

Debar Mtn.

('01) A well used 3.7 mi trail with an interesting profile: first 1.5 miles flat then gently uphill to the leanto at 2.9 miles. The you start to climb with 800' ascent in the last half mile! There's only a view to the east from the summit area, but if you fight your way through the spruce trees 300' to the SE (decending about 50') there's a good ledge to get a much more interesting view to the west.

Mt. Electra

('01) This was one of the private towers like Buck Mtn. and Salmon Lake Mtn. only established by the Webb Family and part of Nehasane Park. It is now state land but was removed in Sept. 1989. (from Bill Starr)

Fort Noble Mtn.

('98) This fairly short hike hike is interesting due the challenge of following the long abandoned trail and a tricky stream crossing near the beginning. Access is on Rte. 8 about two miles east of the new Nobleboro bridge across West Canada Creek, just east of the county line. There's a good place to park and the beginning of the trail is easy to follow down to the river, about .3 mile. There are cables on the old bridge supports, but you'll probably have to ford the stream. In the spring or after a recent rain, you probably won't be able to cross. After climbing the bank the trail is much less distinct but there are orange flags just often enough to guide you. The trail runs level for several hundred yards, passes a shack at which point you want to head to the left, crossing a wet area and refind the trail. Soon you start to climb steeply, then moderately, then steeply, then you cross a rise and go down and level a bit straight into a 25 foot cliff. Up a crack in the cliff (!) you circle around, go up some old stone steps and follow a fern meadow to the top. The tower is gone (reportedly 20 years ago), so there's no views, but it's a satisfying hike nonetheless.

Gomer Hill

('01) In early April we skiied on a foot of wet snow up the power line cut to the tower. We missed the access road on the other side of the hill probably because the snow bank cut by the plow was still 10' high. They *do* get a lot of snow (and snowmobiles) around here, The tower, fenced and antenna-ed, sits next to a pine grove on the clearing containing many other strange antennas.

Goodnow Mtn.

('98) Another privately maintained tower and trail, this time by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse. Largest trailhead sign I've seen! Excellent tower with a map table in the tower cabin, and of course wonderful view of the high peaks. The ranger's cabin is a little museum (although locked). Good brochure, and they encourage winter use - I'll be back.

Hadley Hill

('98) This tower is maintained by a committee of individuals, community groups and businesses and they've set an impressive model to follow. The tower is in great shape and very safe. A caretaker is present on the mountain top 4 days a week during the summer. They've published a comprehensive trail brochure including a wonderful polar projection map. Wonderful views, even without the tower. Excellent trail - you walk on bedrock most the way.

Hamilton Mtn.

('97) The land is heavily posted along the road and there's a big Private sign just before the trail gate. Although most of the old trail is on state land, the first half mile is not, so this one might be difficult to get up.

Hurricane Mtn.

('98) Just east of the high peaks, you get great views of Giant Mt. and the John's Brook and East Ausable valleys from the large bare summit. The weathered firetower is still there with the bottom steps removed, but it is not needed for the views. The trail from 9N has an interesting variety - pine forest, beaver meadow, the usual steep sections. I could complain about the excess of rocks near the top, but I guess these mountains are allowed to do that!

Kane Mtn.

('97) Nice short, effective hike. We took the south trail leaving from the E end of Old Schoolhouse Rd, not marked but easy to see. The tower and ranger cabin are in great shape and the top of the tower is open and has a new floor. There's a trail register by the tower and there are wonderful views (from the tower only).

Kempshall Mtn.

('03) We canoed from the beach at the bridge in Long Lake on a windless fall morning, mist still heavy on the lake. The official boat launch is up the east shore a bit, but our sand was preferable to the concrete there. It's 5 miles north to the landing for the trail which is at a campsite about 1/2 mile past 2 leantos and it is also the point where a stream coming off Kempshall meets the lake. From the campsite, find a trail heading inland a very short distance to intersect the Northville-Lake Placid trail, and the Kempshall Mt. trail continues straight, clearly marked "Closed", but at the same time looking well used. It is, all the way to the top, easy to follow and in great shape for an abandoned trail. Half way up, the trail steepens a bit but never gets really steep. There is some blowdown and ice damage, but the detours are usually well worn. The summit has the clearing for the long gone tower, no views, and some relics in the woods (cans, wine bottles). There is reportedly a view of the lake near the top by going off the trail a little, but we didn't find it. Our canoe ride back also had windless conditions (lucky us) and we beached at sunset. A beautiful day.

Loon Lake Mtn.

('01) Although the tower is on state land, access is through International Paper land leased to the Tower Mtn. Club, Loon Lake. I asked around and found someone who gave permission and directions. The tower is in very worn but climbable shape and gives excellent views to Canada, Lyon Mtn., Whiteface, High Peaks, Saranac Lake area and Debar Mtn.,just 5 miles away and 30' shorter.
It looks possible to come in from the Meacham Lake Campgroud trail that starts up Debar but then goes to Debar Meadows. Perhaps in winter on a snowmobile, then snowshoe up.

Makomis Mtn.

('00) I received an email that this hike not worth the trouble - indistict trail, too many blowdowns, no view at the top. I thought it would be worth giving it a quick checkout and very glad I did - this is a great little hike.

First, the summit area is on private land and you must ask permission at the Underwood Club, on Rte. 9 just N of Northway exit 30. Second, bring a map and compass. The trail is very indistinct and I got very lost but eventually did make it.

The trail starts on Co. Rd 6, just S of Exit 30, .3 mi from Rte 9, behind a large right pointing arrow on the N side of the road. Park on the shoulder. Hike in a bit, there is a notice about the private land at the summit, then you pass under the Northway via two unique hiker-sized culverts. Jog 50' to the R and enter the woods. The trail winds through the woods but in general you will be going magnetic N. There are ocassional red blazes on the trees, and often the trail is obvious, but also often your scouting abilities will be tested. You'll be passing by some wonderful large old white pines and some rock outcrops covered with moss. At one point the trail turns sharp L and heads down a bit before climbing again (this is where I got lost). The blowdowns do force you to imagine where the trail originally went and head around to it. The last quarter of the trail gets steeper and then at the property line (numerous Posted signs) levels out. The first of a few old red DEC markers take you to the summit. You pass the front steps & foundation of the old cabin, the tower area with the tower anchors, and come to ------ one of the best views of all the tower mountains! By some clearing of trees you get a 180 degree looking down on the Rte. 9 valley, across to the Dix range, and to the N a full view of Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge. Breathtaking.

When the tower was removed in the 1970's it was taken to the Clinton Co. fairgrounds in Plattsburg and is possibly still there.

Meenahga Mtn.

('01) I have seen this one from Loon Lake Mtn, 5 miles to the north, and it is way below on a little bump of a hill. It was established as a demonstration tower by the Florida School and has always been on private land (from Bill Starr). The private road that takes you to the land has No Trespassing - Keep Out signs on it, so I have not bothered the owner.

Mt Morris

('00) I climbed this about 20 years ago after asking permission at the ski lodge. As I remember it was mostly up the ski trails then a bit in the woods. Unfortunatly the Big Tupper operation has been closed down and is for sale, the gate is posted and the property is off-limits until this resolves. The tower is definitely still there and visible from the village water tower or beach area. From the Plattsburg Press-Republican, read all about it:
http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/1999/08_1999/082419991.htm
http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/2000/09_2000/091420007.htm

Owl's Head

('97) The tower is still there and only the first set of stairs is removed, so it's not too difficult to get up. 360 degree view from the tower, 180 from the ledges.

Palmer Mtn.

('00) I had very little information about this tower and was totally suprised to see it clearly standing on the hill just outside Au Sable Forks. The informal word in town was that it's OK to walk up to the tower, but I still havn't confirmed its ownership. From the Stewart's in town, go N to the 4-way intersection and go L toward Silver Lake, soon come to a fork and go R, and shortly find Tower Rd on your L, marked Dead End. Go up Tower Rd. ~1 mile to where it turns sharply L. The gated dirt road on the R goes up to the tower, maybe 300 yds. A very strange tower. Like Belfry, covered with antennas, but this one has the lower 20' or so enclosed with siding so you can't get to the stairs except through the very well locked door. A fairly well used hiking trail follows the powerline down to the S, however be very careful exploring around - I was told there are old iron mine shafts covered with underbrush and you could fall down hundreds of feet.

Penn Mtn.

('98) Actually not in the Adirondacks but just outside, this one you can drive right up to, but the tower area has been recently graded so there no evidence of a tower or anything. There are some great views of the Black River and West Canada Creek valleys and the mountains beyond, including Fort Noble Mountain (!) from the road up the mountain. Access is by East Stuben Rd. off NY Rte. 12, about 3 miles south of Alder Creek. This turns into Penn Mtn. Rd. and climbs the hill (look behind for your only views). At the tee, turn right, then take the next right up to the old tower clearing. In mid July '98 the last part was closed due to mud, but it looked like they were going to work on it. Proceed accordingly.
While you're in the area, check out the Von Stuben Memorial (about 3 miles to the south) for some history from before there were firetowers. About 1 mile to the east of that on Starr Rd. is a parking area for a great lookout to the east and south including Delta Lake and Oneida Lake, 30 miles away.

Pillsbury Mtn.

('98) We parked at the gravel pit, but could have easily driven another 1.2 miles to the new parking area making a much shorter hike. A good steep climb followed by a long level section on the ridge finally gets you to the tower, very weathered and somewhat dangerous, but giving excellent views. The ranger cabin is also in very poor condition including having half its kitchen cabinets eaten by porcupines.

Poke-O-Moonshine Mtn.

('00) A pamphlet is out from the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine soliciting donations for the tower renovation.

('98) The most notable thing about this hike is the incredible damage to the trees from the Jan '98 ice storm. Most birch trees lost their tops, some split to their base. However, due to the added sunlight, asters were growing everywhere. The trail has been cleared (with the help of prison crews) which was quite a job. It'll be interesting to see how the forest changes over the next few years. The firetower sports new steps, so we can hope other repairs will be made to make it really safe. There's a lean-to below the summit near where the ranger's cabin used to be (hmmm, firetowering under starlight). And if you can tolerate camping next to highways, the campground provides free firewood, has free showers, and rock climbers to talk to.

Prospect Mtn.

('00) You hike this one from Lake George Village, W off route 9 onto Montcalm St., 5 blocks to Cooper St., R one block to West St., L one block to Smith St., then L again. It is a pretty steep trail and I was short on time so instead I paid the $5 and drove the Memorial Highway this time. There's an enormous parking area at the top and a shuttle bus to take you to the summit, but here I opted to walk the 200 yards or so. The stairs come out near the old firetower site - you can see the anchor bolts cut level with the rock. Without the tower, the view is not 360 - it is cutoff to the W and N. But certainly there's a great view of Lake George lake and village.There's also some interesting historical signs about the old hotel and railroad that used to be there. The last car is admitted at 5pm and all cars are off the mountain by 6pm. The road is open Memorial Day to Columbus Day, but you can hike up anytime and stay as long as you like.

Rondaxe Mtn.

('00) I've climbed this many times from the official DEC parking lot on Rondaxe Rd., but finally tried the old trail straight up from Rte 28. Its about the same length and actually has a little more vertical rise. There are several informal parking areas across from the antique store,1/3rd mi W of Rondaxe Rd. (do not park in the stores lot). There are no signs or markers, but the start of the trail should be easy to find. About 1/3rd the way up we got lost a little and ended out on a dirt road and no trail in sight. If that happens, go L on the road and you'll soon see where the trail crosses. Now the trail goes level for a bit then starts climbing steeply, soon on open rock. Follow a line of iron eyelets that used to hold a cable and you lead up to a ledge with great view. Here's where the old trail joins the new official one. Make note of the surrounding so you know where to come back down.

Snowy Mtn.

('02) The tower was restored in July '01 so now has new steps and cab floor and cab roof. It's so nice to walk on solid steps! Before, the views on Snowy were from various ledges around the summit. Now you can take it all in from the tower.

St. Regis Mtn.

('00) The first two thirds of the trail was relocated in '99 and now starts from the new parking area on Keese Mills Rd, 2.6 mi from Paul Smith's - you can't miss it. From the parking lot you walk the gravel road, crossing the St. Regis river, and find the trail and trail register at .1 mi. The new trail climbs to a ridge with a beautiful hemlock grove, decends slightly, starts following an old road, passes a survey marker at 1.8mi (townline between Brighton and Santa Clara) and joins with the old trail at 2.2mi. Just past this is the ranger's cabin site (to the L), now an official marked camping area. The trail now gets steeper and steeper, but is in good shape, ending in a spiral to the N, then W, then S to the summit.

The tower has it's bottom two tiers of steps removed but is not needed for the wonderful views.

Spruce Mtn.

('00) Although only 1.3 mi and generally not very steep, this will be a challenging hike the first time you hike it because of the lack of markers, confusing intersecting logging roads and ATV trails. Compass recommended. The reward is a firetower in fair shape with a great view. The summit is only one mile inside the Park SW boundry line and the trailhead almost on the line. The trail starts out on state land but soon enters private land owned by International Paper and posted by two hunting clubs. According to the ADK Southern guide (which has an accurate and detailed trail description), it's OK to hike on the posted land but not recommended during hunting season.

To get to the trailhead, turn W onto Wells Rd. off of 9N about 2 mi south of Cornith, at the tee turn R (Spruce Mtn Rd.) to the end where there is a large turnaround. The trail starts here. You can also hike up the gated road just before the turnaround but it is takes the long way the mountain. The trail (which is also almost a road most of the way) heads up and soon, just before a clearing, turns sharply left. From here you will generally be heading magnetic north until the last couple hundred yards when you go NW. There are maybe 5 old red DEC markers, mostly toward the top and on the downward side of trees.More helpful are ocassional cairns (as long as no runs over them with a ATV). About 2/3 the way up, the road takes some gentle bends but the trail takes a shortcut by going straight - the cairns are more numerous here. I got lost several times, saved by going back and looking for the faint signs of the correct trail.

Although the ADK guide does not recommend climbing the tower, I thought it was in better shape than several I've seen. Only the bottom 6 steps are missing. The cab was open but the floor seemed questionable so I stayed on the highest steps. If you don't want to climb the tower, there are some ledges just N of the summit. Murky visibility the day I was there, but the Hudson valley and many large mountains to the north stood out. It would be great if some group adopted this tower.

Swede Mtn.

('01) It's been reported from someone who's hiked it that the tower and cabin are still there, although not at all visible from the highway. Still, the land is posted by the (barely readble) Swede Land Club, Ticonderoga.

Tomany Mtn.

'(97) The abandoned trail starts across the road from a parking area 1/2 mile south of the Avery Inn. It's impossible to see the trail from the road, so just climb the embankment and enter the woods. You should find the old utility poles with trail markers on them. The owners of the Inn said the tower was removed 12 years ago and the state stopped maintaining the trail. However enough people use it so that it's not too hard to follow. There are also orange ribbons just a few years old marking the trail where the old markers are lacking. The trail parallels a brook and after 1/2 mile crosses it and heads SW over a hill. It soon climbs steeply up a small valley with nice ledges. Upon reaching the col between two peaks with a view to the SW, the trail turns R (West) and soon reaches the summit. The cabin and tower are gone, but one long piece of silver angle iron leans against a tree.

Tooley Pond Mtn.

('00) This was on private land until last year whan the state aquired land and easements in the new Tooley Pond Tract. They have put in several parking lots along Tooley Rd. with information kiosks and a pamphlet with map of the area. Close to Tooley Pond there are two red marked trails labled simply 'Trail' and either of these take you to the top of Tooley Pond Mtn.. The more northern trailhead (about 1/2 mi. up the road from the pond) is shorter and more direct. It's about a 20 min. walk and at the top you find the ranger cabin in very bad shape, the tower foundation and 1st step, three survey markers, and (surprise!) a great view to the east due to trees being cleared some time ago. Could not spot the tower at Wanakena directly south, but perhaps when the leaves are off the trees.
(May '01) The cabin has been burned down. It was somewhat dangerous, so perhaps this was on purpose.

Vanderwhacker Mtn.

('01) Although 2.7 miles long, the trail goes easily - the steepest part is in the middle. The tower is in good shape and has a group adopting it so should only get better. The 2.5 mile long dirt road to the parking lot is a little rough for a low clearance car. There are some primitive sites to camp on the state land along the road.

West Mtn.

('01) This is normally a 5 mi. hike each way but we made it a 3 mi. canoe / 2 mi.hike from Raquette L. village. There's a short-cut .3 mi. portage across the neck Indian Pt., freshly marked but still hard to spot from the water, going either way. Canoeing took an hour and a half each way including the confusion at the portages. We did not find any DEC sign or trail markers at the beach at Sucker Brook Bay, instead hiked a road through private property and golf course (nobody home playing that day despite the good weather) till we found what the ADK guidebook describes as a "confusing intersection of trails". Indeed, we got lost on an unmarked trail that was not on our map, but backtracking did find the unmistakable highway sign sized arrow and multiple trail markers on a tree all 3 of us had walked past! Of course we were coming down the trail the back way, but we were still astonished. The map shows a triangle of trails, but in reality the northern leg is unmarked, very indistinct and should be avoided at least the 1st time you go. We met two people on the trail who had bicycled from the Brown's Tract Campsite to the "confusing intersection", and in fact a map given out at the campsite marks it as a bike path. So this is another way to quickly get to the base of the mountain. It was amusing to notice the assortment of markers on the trail: mostly blue but also red, orange and even a few yellow ones. Yes, there is still a view (about 120 degrees) at the summit, but it would be lost if not for the obvious tree trimming that has been done. West Mtn. can also be hiked from Big Moose Lake via Pigeon Lake, 9 mi. to the summit. A friend did this a week before I went, having a car at Raquette Lake. Trail was very well marked to Pigeon, then hardly to the summit. Then 5 mi. to the car - a long day.

White Hill

('02) On private property and the owner wishes you to stay clear.

Whiteface Mtn.

('01) I was thrilled to drive up Whiteface and so stopped at every pulloff to catch the view and read the blurb (and let my 4 cylinder car rest). So I'm glad they built the road (back in the 30's) and as the elevator operator pointed out, it would be impossible enviromentally today.
Whiteface is New York's fifth tallest mountain and the only firetower mountain over 4000'. You park and hike the last 250' up (or take the elevator accessable through a 426' tunnel). Whitface's distinctive cone shape is seen from many distant peaks - now you're looking back at those peaks. Car and driver is $8.00, with $4.00 for each additional passenger. Open May to Oct., xxx to 6pm. Or hike up anytime (or ski in winter).

Woodhull Mtn.

('00) A bike-hike. From the State Land parking lot in McKeever we biked about 5 mi. on a relativly flat old dirt road, past the turnoff to Remsen Falls, to a clearing with a bridge. Hiding our bikes and crossing the bridge, we found the trail which proceeds about 2.5 mi to the summit. Although the trail could use some maintenance, its hard to get lost - someone has put fluorescent orange painted can lids about every 25 feet (the big ones from 5 pound coffee cans really grab ya). We never saw the other intersecting hunter trails that sometimes confuse people. The trail is never steep but climbs slowly to the firetower. Excellent views from the firetower of Woodhull Lake, the Moose River South Branch valley, and distant mountains beyond the Moose River plains (Wakeley Mtn.?). The tower is used as a solar powered repeater for the ranger's radios, so presumably will be maintained. The steps are in good shape and the stairs have the unusual construction suppot by an inner tower shaft. The trees are catching up with this short tower.

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Bob's Firetower Page

by Bob Berch 11-1-2003