Explore Fire Tower Challenge - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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winter was in full swing, the road is not being plowed so be prepared for extra mileage. god bless the the ten people who broke the way Saturday. the old trail was not broken out and i like the switch backs on the new trail. toward the top if you leave the trail 3 feet deep. took us 5 hours up 2 hours and 10 minutes down. we met the group that maintained the trail thanks for your service. excellent day you know that you earned this one.

This was TOUGH! (Rating is accurate). My heart beat 100 miles a minute as it was all uphill! But I made it, glad I did. Had a great time with niece, nephews and neighbor! Glad I can say been there done that!

Hiked on November 3rd. Absolutely beautiful trail. A couple tricky mini scrambles, that would've been less tricky if they we're as wet and slippery. Views are amazing, as expected. A bit of snow closer to the top.

Great hike on a gorgeous day after leaves have almost entirely fallen. We went up on the new trail & down on the old one. Surprised that the snow increased from a dusting at the trailhead to as much as 3" midway up, but it was sunny & calm. Made for great photos at the snow-frosted summit overlooking the brown trees & blue lakes in the surrounding plains. The fire tower had 2" wind-blown frost crystals on the edges, but was not slippery. Does anyone have a reference for the old ski trails?

Hiked on 10/24. Great hike, it was raining and then snowing so absolutely no view but great nonetheless. Took us 5 hours. Spikes needed near and on the summit.

hiking
26 days ago

Great hike and great view but giving 4 stars because I don't think it was all that dog friendly towards the end. My dog and I hike a fair amount and run trails all summer too, so we are not inexperience.

It was much too cold to cross Lake Jimmy on the submerged planks so we took the nice little side trail around it. The first 40min or so were quite easy although a bit muddy. Snow appeared after that and then about 50min into the hike it got hard. Maybe the last half mile or so was scrambling up fairly steep rocks and my dog had a hard time figuring out where to go. We did make it up and I'd say it was worth it, but I'm not sure if I would do it again. You can see some pictures on insta if you are curious https://www.instagram.com/p/BpVsOZvg6L0/?taken-by=ihavesmallhands

Beautiful 360 view at the top. Extremely windy but so worth it. It took me around 4 hours to complete.

This is a moderate trail. Well maintained. It is quite windy on the summit. That's why it is named as Hurricane Mountain.

Hiked on Oct 15th, 2018. It was raining but the trail wasn't too muddy or slippery. Some rocky sections. We went up the East Trail and down the North Trail. The Fire Tower is open but due to the clouds we didn't have a view. The ranger cabin is in bad shape. Overall a very nice hike which we will revisit so we can see the wonderful views.

hiking
1 month ago

Great view from the fire tower!

old trail a 5 maybe new one a 3 light snow on top

Hiked on 10/14/18. Beautiful hike to see 360 degree views of fabulous fall foliage, Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. The trail is a bit muddy in spots, but not bad. Watch out for the ice and water on the some of the rocks just before heading to the summit. The top of the fire tower can be windy and cold, so make sure to bring a hat and gloves. It took us about 2 hours each way with a nice break at the top for lunch in a sheltered spot away from the wind.

Breathtaking views at the summit and several points on the way up as well. The trail is clearly marked and well traveled. Steady uphill climb with some rocky parts to keep it interesting. I went to see the fall foliage and was not disappointed in the slightest!

I actually came away from this hike fairly disappointed. The trails were much easier than I was expecting, at best I’d say they were on the strenuous side of easy. The summit was nice, but very crowded for an early morning. Views from the top of the tower were great and it was nice to see inside a ranger cabin for a change, even if it is covered in graffiti. I HATE that I’m this disappointed.

Easy to moderate hike with only some steepness near the top. We had to take a couple breaks to catch our breath but overall fairly easy. To get any good views you need to be able to climb the fire tower. My husband is afraid of heights so I took pictures for him.

Hiked on 10/13. Was a little muddy in parts but was one of the prettiest hikes I’ve done. It was snowing towards the top and most trees were covered by the time we reached the top. Before the fire tower were two spot with incredible views! It was a little cloudy but visibility was still good. the fire tower was covered in ice and a little slippery but still had great views. Hiked with 3 other friends and it was one of our favorites! 1.25 hours up, about 40 minutes spent on top, and about 1.25 hours down with a lunch pit stop. All in all a beautiful sight for a shorter trail

Great hike, good feel for Adirondack hiking. A little heads up, sign distance on 9N is off—that’s distance to false summit. From that opening to tower is another half mile going down and then scrambling rocks to tower.
If taking new hikers don’t let them get fooled when they reach the top, top is not the destination.

hiking
1 month ago

This was our 3rd fire tower, and by far the easiest. 80% of the trail on the way up is downhill.

It was fun for my fire year old to see the road from the firetower, then try to find the firetower form the road on our way home.

We also did the hike on national mushroom day, so that was the main focus of the hike (seeing who could find the most mushrooms. And there were a ton of different cool ones to see).

If you are starting your child (or yourself) out hiking, this is a fantastic place to start.

hiking
1 month ago

This was the 1st Fire Tower of the Fire Tower Challenge for my boy and I. He had just turned 5 when we did it, and he had no trouble.

Fairly short and has a fantastic view. I think i was lucky that this was the first mountain that we did, because he loved it, and it made him want to come back for more.

https://danielmurphy2007.wixsite.com/dan-dexadk

Nice hike to the top, Did it in about a hour!! Beautiful views love fall!!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice, quick hike. Took less than a 1/2 hour for us to get to the top. Fire tower view was great. Bring a picnic lunch, as there is a nice area to eat at the top. We are working on the fire tower challenge.

hiking
1 month ago

Short, easy hike to a fire tower. Goes uphill the entire way but it's not that far anyway so shouldn't be too much trouble for most people/animals (no scrambling).

We went on a Saturday around dusk hoping to catch the sunset, and expected it to be very crowded since it's only a short distance from Tupper Lake. Instead we had the place completely to ourselves, and got a stunning view of the sunset from the tower. I don't know if we just got lucky or if earlier rain had scared people off, but it was lovely. At the summit you won't get much of a view if you're not in the fire tower; there's one other small opening with a view close by, but otherwise the summit is surrounded by trees. So if it's super crowded in the parking lot, it might be rough going at the summit.

There was a cabin at the top that was locked, I don't know if that is open to public during the day.

Overall good effort-to-view hike assuming you're close by and it's not crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

As previously stated the drive to the trail-head is basically a two-lane dirt road to a single-lane dirt road. There are some spots in the single-lane road to pull over to let oncoming traffic by. Drive slowly (10-15 mph) as there are ruts. I like to fly down dirt roads so at times it felt my vehicle would shake apart! :)

The trail-head itself serves not only Pillsbury Mountain but also Pillsbury Lake, Cedar Lake, and West Canada Lake via the French Louis Trail. It can accommodate about 15 vehicles so get there early if you want a spot. Otherwise you may have to park a little further out at the Sled Harbor clearing. This will add 1.8 miles to your hike.

I am not sure if this is legal or not but I did see some campers along the way in our of the way spots. The trail-head itself contained a couple sleeping in their sleeping bags in the (open) bed of their pickup truck!

The hike itself is mostly uphill with lots of free flowing water so bring your water-proof foot gear. Can get slippery at times when the water flows over the rocks. The transition from deciduous to pine was quite dramatic a very cool. There was a spot about 0.5 hours in that looked like a micro-burst had touched down where some trees had been felled and moss was growing from the branches.

There is nothing much to see on the way to the fire tower but the view at the top is spectacular. The cab to the fire tower is closed but the stairs are not so enjoy the view especially the Columbus Day weekend which appears to be peak foliage in the ADK. Another perk of this hike is the absence of highways and roads which means no road-noise as you hike. This is one of the most peaceful hikes I have done.

Amazing hike and one of the BEST views we have ever had!!! As usual, AllTrails had the hike a bit shorter than both our Apple watch and AllTrails Pro clocked us at (6.8 miles). We felt that this hike should have been rated Moderate Vs the Herd rating given - aside from some light scrambling near the top, this was a solid moderate hike.. Do it, you’ll be (very) glad you did!!

Really enjoyed this hike trail was peaceful and in very good condition. Great fall foliage and weather were a bonus.

First of all, the drive in was an adventure unto itself. Hard-pack dirt on Jessop River Road (we came from the southern/Speculator end). Old Military Road is crusher-run (small stone) and is pretty much the width of a single pickup truck, don't expect to be able to turn your vehicle around until you get to the parking area; the ability to pull to the side for an oncoming vehicle is also very limited. We were the third car at the trailhead; when we returned from the summit there must have been 15 vehicles.

The hike itself is wonderful, in fact its our favourite of the firetowers so far! Currently (10/05/2018) the trail is saturated, there's flowing water in a lot of places, and more so at higher elevations. LOTS of mud to sink into, so bring extra socks if your boots aren't as waterproof as you'd like! Very manageable though with careful foot placement. The switch from deciduous forest to coniferous is fairly dramatic, the change in smell is amazing; we were VERY sad to leave the scent of the pines during the descent.

As others have mentioned, the firetower is in a little disrepair and the cab is locked. Views from higher up are stunning; you definitely earn this view. We clocked in at 3.8 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

very nice, did with the family and it took me a while as I'm new at hiking. We did the trail with 6 kids, 2 dogs and 4 adults!

A perfect day for a hike. Overcast, 54 degrees, and fog at the summit.
The trail was very wet and slippery after a couple of days of rain, but who cares.
The summit with the tower was very busy. About 20 people including a group of 10 climbing the tower. One hiker, a DEC employee, complained it was too busy and that daily access should be limited like they do in Maine. I drove 3 ½ hours for this hike and I would have been extremely disappointed to have been turned away if the trail was "too busy."
I enjoy the fire towers all across the state and do not want to be restricted from them. I encourage anyone who wishes to hike our beautiful forests to do so.

I had the good Fortune to go up to the top on a sunny mild day September 22., via the northern route. Beautiful 360° views from the top. The trail had a gradual incline, each miles increases grade, the last mile was moderate with occasional steep spots and short scrambles near the top. Watch your head at the top of the fire tower stairs- looking at your feet might buy you a headache on an overhanging board. The woods were sun dappled with frequent patches of birch and deep green mosses covering large areas. AllTrails had distance listed as 5.5 miles round trip, I clocked 6.3 miles.? I highly recommend this hike for one of the shorter approaches to big views. Enjoy !

Easy and beautiful hike!
Took us around 3 hours with long stops.
Amazing summit view and all along the way, highly recommend!

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