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.

2 months ago

Leisure hike and good place to camp around alder lake.

Just finished a trip from the Catskills and a hike up to the top of this mountain. Really fun, a few steep climbs, nothing a beginner couldn’t handle. A little challenging but worth it in the end. The view from the Fire tower was amazing! And your above 3500’.

on Alder Lake

5 months ago

I’ll preface that we did this with a 3 year old (not as serious hikers).

We did this trail on a sunny, but cool day. The old mansion foundation was fun. About 2/3rd of the trail was wide, clear and easy to walk along with a toddler. Lots of nice little bridges, springs, and wildlife. Good shade. The last 3rd was muddy, but fun with frogs hopping and signs of beavers. Had a quick wade in the pond to cool off. (There was a clean but no-frills portajohn near the parking lot, too.)

Fire tower was cool when I went to the top and the tv thing was awesome I loved it

Beautiful views from fire tower and small pocket view at the top of Graham mountain which is private property you have to call be for you go. Overall left turn is very steep but worth it

We hiked the 6 mile route to the fire tower and back. Would suggest taking the second path up to the fire tower (parked at the Dry Brook parking area) as that was a little steeper than the first path to the fire tower and the first path would be easier to come down on. Amazing views and the fresh pine/fir smell wish I could bottle it!

A fair simple hike. We walked to Balsam Lake to the fire tower then to Graham which has a nice opening for lunch. You can probably see a lot from the tops of both but it was cloudy when we went.

Nice hike with great weather her and clear views. The hike up to Graham was pretty straightforward as there was pretty much a herd path and we rehiked BLM.

Sunday January 21, 2017: Parked at Mill Brook Rd at around noon, a very pleasant and steady uphill climb in snowy, sunny and warm conditions. I would say the last .75 miles is where your gain most of the elevation, and, the balsam forest on top is very nice in a few inches of new snow. This is a good and relaxing walk up to the fire tower. Was back at the Parking lot at 4 pm, I walked down with a fellow hiker.

Note that the entrance on Beaver Kill Rd may be somewhat difficult to access in some cars. It turns into a seasonal road and the snow maintenance is spotty. But the drive down that road is beautiful on its own.
Anyway, I just did this hike with 2-3 inches of snow on the ground. It's a little steep in some places but very manageable. The trail is beautiful overall, there's a spring and a lean-to toward the top of the mountain, and the fire tower view is spectacular. Also, the dense pine forest at the top of the mountain is straight out of a fairytale, something that needs to be seen in the snow.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The peak was not as high as I would have liked. Nice and clean!

Friday, October 13, 2017

I hiked around lake out to ridge overlook for 9.5 miles round trip, 1300 elevation gain. Easy hike and less rocky than many trails in area. Watch out for hunters in fall.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Fantastic hike especially this time of year

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Nice hike. Some spots were pretty challenging closer to the top but overall a great family hike! The view from the tower was awesome as some of the fall foliage was starting to pop out! Volunteer was very friendly and informative as well!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

great trail. moderate. not much to see on the trail but view from tower is impressive, worth the 3 mi there and 3 mi back. make sure you navigate to dry brook trailhead to park your car for the 6 mile loop hike to the fire tower. it is on mill brook road.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

the trail on the east side is really obscured by countless fake trails, none are hard but many go through campsites.

Came in from balsam side easy blue to red 1/2 mile up and then level off not bad to tower ok views left car at 3 up and back 415 there is definitely better hikes but doing the fire tower challenge

Not a bad hike. Trails were muddy in spots but overall well maintained. Hike is mostly forested so the only views were from the fire tower and a brief spot towards the lean to. Took around 3 hours round trip moved a little slower because I was playing with some maps and a new compass.

Beautiful forest setting but if you're looking for views there are none here. Unless of course you climb the fire tower which I didn't due to my fear of heights! I would use gaiters if you plan on hiking, trail is very overgrown.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Did this hike on Sunday, July 2, 2017. Arrived at the DEC parking lot at 9am, 4 other cars in the lot.

Took the trail from the DEC parking lot at the end of Beaverkill Road. Made the left turn up the Red blazed steeper trail at the first junction that goes past the lean-to and the natural spring. I'm a beginner hiker (38 years old, decent shape) and found it strenuous but very doable. Just past the spring it evens out into a serene forest until you emerge to the tower (there's a volunteer up there who will take you to the very top and give you some background). Used the much more gradual (and longer) blue blazed trail to return to the parking lot.

All told, including checking out the lean-to, a couple breath-catching breaks, and a good 20 minutes in the firetower, the hike took about 2.5 hours. Bugs weren't an issue and only encountered three other souls on the trail. The view from the firetower was incredible. And for what its worth, I drank half a gallon of water from the spring and was totally fine, in case you were wondering if it was drinkable.

Wear mud boots. For more challenging hike, take blue trail down past first tower trail,then back up red loop, bring bug spray!

Great hike. A must visit!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Great trail
Fire tower was the goal and the view from there is fantastic
I would do this again for sure
The most difficult part was getting there the GPS sent us in a very indirect way and then just stopped navigating about a mile down Dry Bridge Rd

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Super easy trail, well marked and well maintained as of spring 17'. Very relaxing

did this hike in february, great views all the way up, beautiful. it would have been nice to have snowshoes, but wasn't necessary. beautiful views from fire tower.

Monday, November 28, 2016

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!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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.

Friday, November 11, 2016

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.

Did this hike from beaverkill road, such an awesome hike! Really easy slope for the first mile and then gets a lot steeper for the end of the hike. Beautiful views from the fire tower!

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