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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The hike was nice and easygoing as we just needed microspikes for this hike. There was a little ice in places but very doable. You could see the snowmobilers riding across the lake.

Beautiful monastery at the base of the trail you can tour and cool abandoned hotel towards the top of the trail with beautiful views at the fire tower! Steep wide trail.

Best hike in a while. Not too challenging but the views are well worth the trip.

great views and intresting history.

If you are climbing this in the winter you will not be able to park at the trailhead. Plan on parking .5 miles before the trailhead at the snowplow turnaround. Microspikes were helpful in some sections of the trail, and useless in others. Overall a good hike. Beware of ice on the tower if you decide to climb it. The summit is very well maintained!!

My wife and I Hiked on this trail on 1/3/19, it was her first winter mountain climb. It had all the makings of a great adventure! I loved the water crossings, lots of blowdown and it definitely felt like a slog near the top, although we only made it to 3444’ and decided to turn around after the post-holing became too much and we started to lose day light.
If you plan to hike this in winter make sure you have at minimum micro spike and trekking poles to deal with all the ice/ water crossings
I’m originally from about an hr from this trailhead and I will absolutely be back to bag this one!!!

Am awesome hike today .

hiking
11 days ago

Easy Hike. Did this hike about 13 years ago in the summer time. We were in the area for a blue grass festival. The views were amazing, and the weather was awesome. We even saw a baby cub about 50 yards away on the trail.

Hiked 8/19/18. Enjoyable hike with a few neat things to see along the way...an old state police radio repeating station...the foundation and steps still obvious, an old 1900's horse barn with some beautiful pale/pink birch trees nearby, and an old creepy (filled) stone well. My favorite spot was a small slab stone clearing to the right of the trail, nearing the summit, where, in warmer weather, its buzzing with beautiful dragonfies. You can sit on the stone and they just zig and zag over your heads! Ive never seen so mamy in one place.

Hiked 8/19/18. Blue is my favorite firetower hike so far! It was crazy steep and very rocky the majority of the way. Once you near the top, the entire environment is well worth it! I loved how green, and mossy and fresh it became , after a good deal of hiking over steep sheets of flat stone. The variety of mushrooms was phenominal and beautiful. The views, in places along the way were amazing! At times, when we thought we had finally made it, the trail would bend and just kept going. Other hikers along the way shared the same sentiments. Still A hike I wouldnt mind doing again.

On 8/18 We hiked up the North trail which was rather muddy and returned via the East Trail. Lots of cool boulders and rock formations along the way. Little dissapointed in the condition of the cabin and the amount of trash we found right at the tower steps. Minimal views, other than from the tower. Otherwise, nice wide open spaces to rest and eat. The East trail was a quick return to the parking area.

hiking
12 days ago

What an awesome hike, not too easy, not too hard. We wore crampons due to slightly icy conditions, but probably could have done without. Views from the tower were awesome. Did not realize it was an interpretive hike so we were curious about the signs. Now we know. Might do again next fall to take in the foliage.

hiking
13 days ago

We hiked to the Tremper fire tower but from the Willow trailhead. There isn't an Altrails map for that route but I have suggested one. There is now good parking off the road at Willow (near the end of Jessup Road). There is no trail register yet. Great hike, steep in places but wonderful views most of the way. Our recorded mileage was 7.4 miles.

We hiked to Balsam Lake Fire Tower for the ADK/Catskills fire tower challenge. This is the only map available for the northern approach. It was a great trail. Lots of parking and clearly marked trail. I have suggested a trail edit by having just the trail to Balsam Lake for those only wanting to hike to the fire tower.

Consistent incline. Good wide dirt trail. Hotel ruins are cool to see. Fire tower at top offers nice view as does another spot 50 yards away. Rattlesnake signs posted near top of trail. Ranger was knowledgeable and helpful.

Great hike, the ruins are wonderful. No views due to the weather.

Although the car park is of good size get there EARLY because its a popular trail. It was almost full when we got there about 9.30am.

The trail is a well defined single-track road which can only be considered "moderate" because of the sustained incline. I can see how some consider it boring. My only thought on the way up was how beautiful it must be in the spring when the abundant rhododendrons are in bloom.

Currently there is a deceptive light covering of snow on the trail. What it hides is the numerous thick sheets of ice which only become more frequent the higher you get. WEAR YOUR SPIKES, your body will thank you for it. I had many conversations with people who were asking me about my micro-spikes; hopefully taking the time to direct them to REI / EMS will inspire a couple of them.

The hotel ruins looked fantastic in the low cloud cover. Hauntingly so.

The firetower looked great against the pure white surrounding cloud cover. It was very blustery as weather started to move in but we found shelter behind the ranger hut to make lunch and coffee. Only saw two other people at the summit even though we saw many more on the trail.

CAUTION: BE AWARE, coming down the trail in winter was the slipperiest trails I’ve ever done. Fell down a total of 20 times. WEAR ICE SPIKES, or shoes with very good traction. Overall the view was amazing and the ruins were incredible, with an interesting story behind it. Would recommend for summertime!

The trail was gorgeous!, definitely a good workout and micro spikes a must. Stunning views from the fire tower

Nice easy to moderately easy hike with a nice tower at the top. We took the south trail up and north trail down and it was icy and snow covered on 12/30. Micro spikes needed for trip down, lots of running water on lower section of north trail as well. We were up and down in less than 2 hours, with a good 20 minutes at the top for photos.

Great hike that was super challenging for me. It’s a steady climb to the top, with lots of mud and some icy patches. Snow flurries accompanied me the entire way. Definitely would have benefited me to have some trekking poles on the way down. The view is amazing. I felt like I was kissing the clouds. The hotel ruins are both creepy and intriguing! Definitely an awesome hike.

Easy hike for very nice views. Rain makes it a little more annoying though! Never rush your descent in the rain. Some nice bald face rock towards the top, fun to walk along the ridge. Great for new hikers!

hiking
22 days ago

Great view from the top, from both the lookout and the tower and the ruins were interesting to explore. The hike is consistently uphill on a fire road, and as its a road not the most exciting hike. Quite icy in patches!

snowshoeing
26 days ago

12/19/18, clear blue skies, no wind and 18 degrees at 10:30 am. The parking lot was full, but nobody on the fire tower trail. There was about 2” of fresh snow so the going was easy. About 1/4 mile before I got to the tower I lost the markers (lots of snow on the trees) so I bushwhacked it to the top.
Absolutely beautiful and peaceful. This is Fire Tower #20 for me. Nine more to go.

We hiked 12/17. Lots of snow on the trail but spikes made it doable. Definitely would rate a bit more than moderate. Took us 3.5 hours from car to summit and back. Definitely a steep summit but worth it. Super cloudy and snowy today so no view for us but it was a very rewarding hike. Marked well the entire way.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

was an amazing hike with awesome views and short enough for a quick afternoon

hiking
1 month ago

Unable to reach by car after Dec 1. Snowmobile access only.

hiking
1 month ago

Another incredible firetower. This is the tallest in the Adirondacks at 3,899' (only 101' from being a High Peak). I chose to hike it in tough snowy conditions to give its name some respect (and so glad I did)!! The first 2.5mi are a walk in the woods; easy. The last mile, and especially the last 0.5mi, were grueling in the heavy snow. Some steep sections to finish strong.

If you're hiking Snowy in the winter under harsh conditions, be prepared for deep snow. Coming down can be extra difficult when your weight punches thru the top layer. You'll be knee deep many times, just be careful. Snowshoes can be used, but they can be a burden on steep sections. I wore mini spikes & did fine. Enjoy!

Unable to reach by car after Dec 1. Snowmobile access only. Nearest parking is 4mi from trailhead.

I'll continue the theme of 'spectacular' and 'stunning'! Today the trees were heavy snow covered and the firetower ice blasted. Come with some spikes, and be prepared for the firetower wind. Find yourself a clear morning and enjoy!

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