Balsam Lake Mountain and Graham Mountain

HARD 60 reviews

Balsam Lake Mountain and Graham Mountain is a 10.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Livingston Manor, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
10.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2375 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Directions from Hardenburgh, NY: Travel Route 54 to Turnwood and continue east about 4 miles to the end of Beaver Kill Road. The road's pavement changes to gravel/dirt mix. Park at the DEC parking area and begin on the blue-blazed Dry Brook Ridge Trail to the junction with the red-blazed Balsam Lake Mt. Trail.

hiking
15 days ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

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!

hiking
9 months ago

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.

10 months ago

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

hiking
10 months ago

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.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

hiking
11 months ago

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.

hiking
11 months ago

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

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Great hike. A must visit!!

hiking
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

hiking
Sunday, February 26, 2017

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.

snowshoeing
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!

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

hiking
Monday, April 25, 2016

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!

hiking
Sunday, April 03, 2016

Hiked in from millbrook, snowed most of the hike. The fire tower was cool, checked out the lean to as well. Will repeat with nicer weather and stay the night.

hiking
Saturday, August 22, 2015

The trail was not too strenuous, but it was rocky in places. I hiked the trail after it had rained a couple days earlier, so some spots were muddy and puddles. The trail was pretty much covered by trees, so there wasn't any good views as you hiked up the trail. Once you reached the the fire tower there's still no good views unless you climb the fire tower. When I went the ranger station and the tower was locked, but I was still able to climb the tower and take pictures. The view from the tower was worth the hike.

hiking
Saturday, August 02, 2014

Hiked with my wife and 10 other members of the Catskill 3500 Foot Club. Visited the top of Balsam Lake Mountain (and the fire tower) and then hiked over to Graham as well. Neither of these two mountains are difficult hikes. The grade of the trail to Balsam is gentle enough for the whole family. The distance listed in the overview description is for one way. The trail to Graham is on private property and to be respectful it is best to ask permission before using this "unmaintained trail". While the slope isn't difficult to Graham I would not recommend if as a family hike because of it's overgrown nature. It is however one of the Catskill peaks over 3500 feet and if you are trying to hike all of them, then you need this one too. I gave this hike four stars because of the fire tower (only one of five in the Catskills). You can't get better views anywhere else!

hiking
Sunday, June 08, 2014

This was a great, moderately, steep, somewhat rocky trail. Incredible 360* view from the firetower. Great hike from the firetower to a lean to for overnight camping & balsam lake. Can't wait to go back in the late Fall when the leaves are gone. Was only able tooccasionally catch a slight glimpse of the view on the way up the trail to the fire tower. On a hot day..the trail was cool & shady

hiking
Saturday, June 07, 2014

This was a great day hike. On a clear day the view from the fire tower is beautiful.

hiking
Sunday, October 20, 2013

The view was killer the hick was kind of steep though. As long as the wind isn't crazy go up to the top of the tower! Best view once at the top

hiking
Saturday, October 19, 2013

Best 360-degree view I have ever seen in my life!

hiking
Monday, May 20, 2013

Pretty painless to get up to the fire tower. Unfortunately, the tower was being worked on and I wasn't allowed up. Wouldn't have minded much, but the trail from Millbrook is pretty uneventful without a view to pay it off. Would have been nice if the volunteers had left a note in the lot. The glimpses you get through the trees reveal just enough to deduct the 360 up there must be awesome.

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

6 months ago

Load More