Alder Lake to Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower

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Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest

Alder Lake to Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is a 12.6 mile out and back trail located near Livingston Manor, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and backpacking.

Length12.6 miElevation gain2,841 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingHikingNature tripsForestLakeViewsWildlife
Waypoints (0)
Weather
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Reviews (41)
Photos (533)
Recordings (40)
Completed (75)
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Orange_ l
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Hiking
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Jesse Price
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Hiking

Snowshoes required

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Ryan Plut
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Hiking
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Manasa Chetan
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HikingIcySnow

NewYear hike! A looong hike with 2 peaks to climb up and down.. Very tiring but it was all worth! Awesome 360degree view from the tower.. It was very icy at the start and at the end of the hike( to climb the firetower ) Microspikes def recommended! Clocked 14miles and it took about 6 hours 30min (along with break)

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Timothy Newell
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Hiking
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Nick D
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Hiking

went up to Millbrook Ridge and back on 12/11. Nice walk around Alder Lake. Fair warning that trail markings were scarce after the lean-to.

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Shawn Connolly
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Hiking
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Wayne Bianchetta
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Running
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Matty Lonergan
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Hiking
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Ken Carlson
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Hiking
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Jeff W
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Hiking
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Janet Bennetti
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HikingGreat!Snow
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Badari Ambatti
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Hiking

Amazing

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Robert Saenz
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HikingGreat!Rocky

We did this along with the short Alder Lake trail. Great hike and good times, but trails were not always clearly visible.

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T T
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BackpackingGreat!

Mid August, I only hiked out to the leanto at Beaver Meadow. Watched the beavers for a while, didn’t see anyone else. Lots of campers arriving early at Alder Lake Saturday morning

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Autumn Johnson
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HikingGreat!

Would definitely rate this as a moderate Catskills hike. Gradual incline for the first few miles followed by a pretty steep downhill and then the final mile is slightly steeper. No scrambling & the path is pretty worn in- would be great for trail runners Alder lake is a beautiful spot to camp & the top of the mountain is a nice place to relax and catch some sun. We did this trail in just over 6 hours (w/ a break at the top)- totally doable day trek if you’re a moderately experienced hiker

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Bill Dempski
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Hiking
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MC MC
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Backpacking

Started mid-afternoon at Big Pond trailhead heading to Alder Lake. This is a fun trail with steady elevation gain. About two miles in we hit two large sections of the trail, each completely overgrown with wild raspberry patches. We were wildly(ha!) unprepared for bushwhacking, but pushed through with minor scrapes, light scratches, and thorns for the road! There was also a lot of evidence of bear activity. No personal sightings, but a few other hikers we crossed paths with mentioned that they had seen a few on the trail. The trail along the lake was equivalent to a nice walk in the woods, offering scenic views of the lush mountains. We settled that evening at a primitive campsite located about 200 feet uphill from the Beaver Meadow lean-to. The site is hidden just off-trail, behind large boulders. There's a nice ad-hoc fire pit featuring enough space for a two-person tent. The boulders provide nice concealment from the trail. We started day two mid-morning, traveled along Millbrook Ridge, and finished up at the Balsam Lake Mountain Trailhead on Beaverkill Road. This trail was tough but rewarding. There were a lot of downed trees on trail, some of which still had the trail markers nailed to them. The yellow trail markers (Mill Brook Ridge Trail) were already hard to spot, coupling this with a lot of debris, and trail erosion could throw less experienced hikers off-trail. However, at the junction of Balsam Lake Mountain Trail, we took a right (south) and began following the red markers (Balsam Lake Mountain trail/Fire Tower) which were plentiful and easy to spot. Besides this, the elevation gain was tough, steep, and steady. This trail is fun, the terrain changed rapidly, the views are stunning (Beecher Lake Overlook was amazing), which makes the steep ascend totally worth it!

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John Mashmann Jr.
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HikingBlowdownMuddyRocky
First to Review

The alder lake section is an easy hike the whole family can do. It’s basically flat dirt paths with a nice view of the lake. The second part of my hike took me to the beaver meadow lean to on mill brook trail this was a tough hike . There is a section that is uphill and most of it is very rocky almost the whole trail was mud and puddles. A good section of the trail is not marked so if you are not using a gps Be very careful there was a few spots where I had to stop and get my bearings. The lean to was in a beautiful location overlooking a beaver pond although I didn’t see any beavers. The lean-to is in bad shape with a few holes in the roof and there is no outhouse just a metal bucket with a seat. I would recommend this hike as I did enjoy every bit of it and plan on going back.

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John Campbell
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Hiking
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Kelsey Fenimore
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Hiking
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Roberta Mulder
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Hiking
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Cindy Kirtland
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Hiking
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Jim Steeves
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Hiking
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Tara Tornello
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Hiking
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