I decided on doing this hike the day after Thanksgiving because I wanted to start getting some more experience with winter hiking or at least hiking in winter conditions. The Catskills seemed like a better place to do that than the Adirondacks. Well I finally got to use my snowshoes that I got over a year ago so that was nice. Balsam Lake Mountain was probably the perfect trek for just that. At the start of the hike I was able to walk in the prints that were already left but then the snow drifts got deep in some parts so I was glad I was well equipped. I probably could have done without the snowshoes but there was enough snow that it was good for a first time, I think. Plus it wasn't too steep at any point. The top of the fire tower was locked off but there were still some great views from just below it. I chose to do the loop but might have opted not to if I realized that part of it is more uphill. All in all I had a great time with BLM. Only bad news is that I lost the basket off one of my trekking poles in the snow. If anybody can keep an eye out between where the loop starts and the fire tower (when there's less snow) I'd appreciate it. Not worried about getting it back but I don't like leaving things behind. Thank you!
Did the hike this past weekend with my 10 year old son. The start of the hike is long and gradual, pretty easy. At the top there is a series of steeper switch backs, but not too tough. There is no view at the top but great views from the FireTower. We did not do the loop on the way down. Fun hike, with lunch took total of 3 hours.
Krazy G. on Balsam Lake Mountain Trail
Beautiful mountain views in every direction from the tower. The trail up was a gradual increase until the split. it was easy on the feet too.
The trail was not too strenuous, but it was rocky in places. I hiked the trail after it had rained a couple days earlier, so some spots were muddy and puddles. The trail was pretty much covered by trees, so there wasn't any good views as you hiked up the trail. Once you reached the the fire tower there's still no good views unless you climb the fire tower. When I went the ranger station and the tower was locked, but I was still able to climb the tower and take pictures. The view from the tower was worth the hike.