Bald Mountain (Rondaxe Fire Tower) is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Old Forge, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
1.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
416 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

blowdown

muddy

rocky

The total distance to hike to the summit of Bald Mountain is just under a mile and the ascent is about 500 feet to reach the 2350 foot summit. The start of the hike is a deceptively easy walk in the woods, but fairly soon you come to the steepest section where you climb a widely eroded trail up onto the top of the descending ridge. Soon after you begin to top out you come to the first of several intermediate view points. After that the trail follows the spine of the ridge with a few minor ups and downs. This ridge top trail is over bed rock much of the way, and portions of that bed rock are relatively pointed little ridgettes with less that a foot wide path on the top. For those who find this psychologically uncomfortable, there are herd paths down in the woods by which you can skirt the most challenging sections. The Rondaxe Fire Tower, located on the summit, has been restored so that you can climb up for the best views. The summit area is open, quite long and can easily accommodate a large number of hikers. Don't expect to be alone during this nearly two mile round trip hike, as it is a very popular hike. There are fantastic views from the fire tower, but also from the many view points along the trail. You don't need to climb the fire tower to enjoy the views.

hiking
1 month ago

We did this hike in possibly the worst weather conditions. Pouring rain so bad the trail became a stream. At the top it was mixed rain and sleet. On a nice day I would rate this trail moderately easy, under the conditions I did it in , it was all but easy.
I would do this again when conditions are favorable.

1 month ago

An easy hike I’ve been doing since I was little with my family. Beautiful views and the tower is pretty cool!

1 month ago

Beautiful hike with great views!! Heavily trafficked, but still worth doing!

1 month ago

Way way too busy. Can’t enjoy the hike or the summit. Another victim of its own success. Parking lots and sides of road over run with cars. Inconsiderate people plying music and partying in summit. Not fun at all.

1 month ago

Great hike, excellent views the whole way

2 months ago

Great hike. Great view.

2 months ago

The view on this is amazing especially in the fall

2 months ago

The view on this is amazing especially in the fall

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome views took about 25-30 min to get up to the tower.

hiking
2 months ago

This was my first hike to a peak and fire tower, and my second hike overall (the first one was more of a trudge through the woods). Although not a high peak, the view was great and gave me a sense of accomplishment and the desire to do more. I went with my husband, who is an experienced hiker and it was very helpful to have his guidance and a hand to hold on some of the narrower rocks. I was worried about the rock scrambles because I had never done any before, but they were actually really fun. I would encourage any newbie like me to try this hike and if you have someone who is experienced to take with you, so much the better.

hiking
2 months ago

Definitely not an "easy" climb. About halfway up you hit rock and boulders. the trail from here is almost entirely on the rock - some of it quite steep. Some parts aren't marked well so stay with the boulders, you can see the path worn onto the rock.
Just past the fire tower is a balancing boulder. Pretty cool

2 months ago

Probably the best bang for your buck in the entire ADK. A very quick, fun hike (rock scrambles in places, many overlooks) that leads to a gorgeous open summit with views of the Fulton chain lakes and environs. Beautiful firetower. Really, a do not miss for anyone of almost any ability.

hiking
2 months ago

Dropped off one star due to amount of people on this trail. Went with my gf, 10yr old daughter, crazy akita and our maltese mix, started at 9am so had relative solitude on way up but had to stop literally every few seconds on way down to let people by who were going up. We have experience in the high peaks and the cats so the degree of difficulty on this one was relatively easy for us but it would be understandable how it could be considered hard for a new-ish hiker due to the steepness of some of the scrambles. The length of time total for the roundtrip for us was just over an hour. The disappointment with amount of people clogging the trail did nothing to take away from how fun this trail was for us with the scrambles and how quick it was to get up to such a great view. The tower is in relatively great shape other than people having defaced the cabin table-map. I hope to get back to this one for either a sunrise or sunset hike.

2 months ago

Great views-big crowds-go early. Trail could be better marked to avoid trail widening and herd paths which are both prevalent.

3 months ago

It was mine and my wife’s first ADK summit! We took her parents and two of their friends (one which had double knee surgery three months ago) It was a challenging but still easy enough! Rocks can be slippery and the roots too. Watch your footing! There were multiple stops along the way which showed great views! The summit was really great over looking first, second and third lake! Fire tower was a nice addition to views! Watch your head going up onto the platform! I would recommend this for all ages and fur friends!

3 months ago

This hike was better than I expected. I've avoided this for some time due to its popularity, but it wasn't as crowded as I expected. The view from the summit was nice, but we didn't climb the tower. It was great seeing all of the young children on perhaps their first ADK hike.

hiking
3 months ago

We walked this trail with our dog and two kids ages 3 and 7. It took us about about an hour and a half total. The kids loved climbing the tower and views along the way. It was a great time and the perfect hike to start them out on.

3 months ago

Great trail for dogs. About 20 minutes from trail head to fire tower. Not that challenging.

hiking
3 months ago

Go in the morning to avoid late walkers. Hiking poles will benefit but not essential. Great views.

hiking
3 months ago

Love this hike. Dislike the crowds.

hiking
4 months ago

This hike is not long or difficult but is a little challenging. Some definite climbing on rock and do not ever try hike without proper footwear especially if it’s wet. The trail can be a little confusing at times and you will really need to look for the markers. Some stepper rock climbs in the middle of the trail. The really nice thing about the hike is the sneak peak views you get of the lakes while climbing to the top. Of course the best view is saved for last and the tower is open.

4 months ago

Great hike for all ages and pups as well! Very easy and short hike. Great for beginners.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike for the family. For us, it was easy- not something I’d remark as moderate- as we do a great deal of hikes. We checked in early to beat the rush. It’s a popular hike, especially during peak season. Our son loved it. Had no issues making our way to the fire tower and back in a reasonable amount of time. Going up we passed no one, however coming down we passed so many! If you want to beat the crowd, definitely get there early.

4 months ago

Nice easy trail for family

hiking
4 months ago

Nice easy hike with wonderful views from the summit and tower.

4 months ago

Awesome hike! I suggest you go early bald mountain is very popular! Beautiful view from the fire tower

hiking
4 months ago

This place was busy but...The kids had a blast on this trail. Awesome views. Check out my full write up with pictures and other things to look out for.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/rondaxtower/

hiking
4 months ago

Easy hike if you are en experienced hiker. We saw a lot of people at this heavily hiked mountain who were not experienced, and thought it was hard. So if you are out of shape or not experienced, dont expect this to be a flat, simple walk. It has a couple of steep spots and is rocky, and spectacular views at the top and at several rock outcroppings before the summit.

4 months ago

Very very easy hike ! Great views and the tower is in pretty good shape.
Perfect for families and beginners
Lots of rocks and somewhat steep areas but more fun than difficult
Black flies were terrible so come prepared !

steeper than expected ..but so glad I did it .. gorgeous view!

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