Hiked this mountain last Sunday with a group of friends. Steep in some places but doable in 2hrs RT. Fire tower is 60ft tall and the views are well worth the climb! I have a fear of heights to boot so have someone block your view as you ascend and descend the tower!
Here's my take.... Be sure to park at proper trail head down Green Lake Rd. There is a parking lot that can just barely be seen from the road, but there is a sign on left side of road "Kane Mtn", just go slow and you'll see it. If it's busy (leaf peeping season), you'll have to park out on Green Lake Rd., as we had to do.
While facing the sign-in kiosk, to the right is the yellow trail which is signed and properly marked. To the left is the red trail, which was not signed (at the trail head at least, read on), and not properly marked as I suspect people have been taking the markers as souvenirs. If you see the "Dogs Must Be Leashed" sign, that is the start of the red trail.
We took the yellow trail up, and in my opinion, it is actually steeper/harder than the red trail, as about 2/3rd's of the way the trail climbs straight up the hill before leveling off the last .1 to .2 miles across the ridge to the fire tower. About 1/3rd in there is a section that looks like it could get quite muddy and was, slightly, the day we hiked (Mid-Oct), although there are some reasonable "workarounds" to either side of the trail during this section. Just before the top there are twin massive rock formations that looked to guard the summit from any threat from the west. Pretty cool!
At the top there is a neat little "Observer's Cabin" and the fire tower which is pretty tall! There are great views from the tower, otherwise, there's but only a couple of small clearings to catch small glimpses of the surroundings near the top. There's also only a couple of rock outcroppings to catch lunch on, and the aforementioned cabins' porch, which were all occupied while we were there. When coming back down, pay attention to which trail you want to take, yellow is signed (right next to the tower), red is also signed (exact opposite side of tower about 20 feet away). Careful, because another unmarked trail, to the right of the cabin as you are looking downhill, brings you to Schoolhouse Rd. (as mentioned by another hiker we talked to), which would be a bit of a walk down pavement to get back to parking lot and may trespass on private property as other reviewers have said.
We took the red trail down, and in my opinion, this trail was easier because it was 1) shorter and 2) less steep as the elevation changed across (traversed) the hill instead of straight up/down like the yellow trail. There wasn't really any muddy appearing sections on this trail either. Neither trail "rock climbed" and are appropriate for even the smallest hiker.
So if you want some exercise, do the yellow up and red down. If you're looking for a "bang for the buck" hike with some really sweet views on a clear day, take red trail up and back. Decent hikers can "summit" in about 35 mins. on red trail, and about an hour or so on the yellow trail. Family with kids add easily 10 mins. to either option. We had our 10 year old daughter in tow and we managed 1 hour 10 mins up and 40 mins down.
We're definitely keeping this on our "mountain list" as it is a pretty reasonable risk vs. reward hike. Not much risk, and quite a bit of a reward. Pirate approved....ARRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!
EDIT - After seeing pictures on other websites, it appears that there should be a sign at the trail head for the red trail, unfortunately it is missing as of this writing.
Initially finding the trail head, I ended up on Schoolhouse Road, would not recommend since it is private and residential looking. However once I was back on the right track and found the real trail head, hiked the Yellow Trail there and back. Lots of trail markers and wasn't very crowded. The top of the mtn was spacious and it was cool to check out the old cabin. The view from the fire tower was amazing! It was a clear day and could see for miles. Would definitely do again!
Clear, cool and sunny. It rained last night, so a few muddy spots on the trails. We hiked up the orange trail to the fire tower then down the yellow trail. Orange trail is shorter. Amazing views of lakes and mountains! We entered the trail from Green Lake Rd. It is disappointing how people feel the need to vandalize the cabin and graffiti the inside of the fire tower. Would love to do this hike again later in the fall when the leaves have changed.
Nice hike. A bit steep in some places, but not too bad. My hiking companion and I took the yellow trail to the right up. The sign said it was, I think 1.2 miles to the summit, but my app calculated it at over 2 miles. On the way back down we took the other, shorter trail, listed at .6 miles, but is closer to 1. More of a loop, IMO, than an O&B.
Two trails to choose from. To the right of the sign in is the yellow trail. I took this first and thought it was wrong and backtracked and took the trail to the left of the sign in which was the red trail markers. Rocky and rooty path. Not to difficult. Great view from fire tower. Observer cabin at summit as well. Nice hike.
This was a very nice hike. Some spots were really wet & muddy and you had to maneuver around, a tree had even fallen across the entire trail. Did both the Stewart & Indian Lake trail first then half the Kane Mountain trail & last the red trail to fire tower. Beautiful view at the finish.
Nice, open trail. One steep section that we took too fast. Took the Yellow 1.2 mi route. Largest fire tower we've seen so far, but it was also in the best shape we've seen. It was a very large space for the summit, didn't exactly feel like a summit, but more of a clearing in the woods. Great 180 degree views from the tower.
Side note: There isn't a sign at the Schoolhouse Rd trailhead. Had to go to the Green Lake trailhead.
Great little hike that provides a gorgeous view at the top of the fire tower. Really nice bang for your buck! Go on a nice day for optimal viewing, but be prepared to see a lot of other hikers along the way. The trail base is at a well populated campsite.
Doug L. on Kane Mountain Trail
Take Green Lake Road to trailhead. Trailhead parking on left. Parking lot not visible from road. We chose the "red" trail .6 mi to fire tower. Other choice was the "yellow" trail 1.2 mi. to fire tower. Kid and dog friendly.