Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest Trail

MODERATE 140 reviews

Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest Trail is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Livingston Manor, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,181 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

NOTE: As of January 2020, the fire tower is closed for the season.

hiking
flooded
muddy
8 days ago

Nice trail. Unseasonably mild temps today 55 in parking lot 47 up top. Trail is flooded up top. We took alternate route down and had what looked like a river running down the trail in spots. Cabin of fire tower closed for the season but spectacular views from upper staircases

hiking
scramble
snow
1 month ago

Great trail. Not busy. Snow covered and definitely drops in temp as you hike up. The view from the fire tower is legit.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
1 month ago

Great trail. Snow was knee deep in places. Spikes helped. Snow shoes and trekkers would have been better. Fortunately a couple of sisters broke trail ahead of me. Up and down the steep face. I imagine without the snow and up the right hand face, this would be a pleasant hike in the woods for just about any skill level. But man, that conifer forest along the summit ridge drenched in snow was magical. Firetower at sunset. Descent lit by a rosy moon turned that whole mountain purple. Don't regret a minute of it.

Snowshoes required, 4’ of snow currently.

Great hike. Not much snow. Took steeper trail up and down, not too bad. Very windy at the top.

hiking
rocky
snow
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Great hike for two seniors who are in shape. (69 and 72). We went up the right side and down the left side. That was a good choice. The right side is a mile longer so it’s less steep. Very enjoyable trail we would go back.

hiking
rocky
snow
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

This hike is moderately difficult if attempted via the red markers that branch from the main trail. It is a great hike through Balsam trees with fantastic views from the top.

hiking
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

Nice hike, beautiful view. Started snowing a little when I was up there.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike it’s just the road to the hike is annoying. It took us 4 hours to get to the trailhead

hiking
3 months ago

This is a fantastic hike! I completed this with my 5 and 11 year old without any difficulty. We chose to do the loop going up the Steep side first. If I were you are doing this with less experienced hikers or with little ones it's still doable this way. However you could go the Long Way both up and down with very little difficulty whatsoever. If the Firetower is open the view at the top is absolutely breathtaking. Today the cabin and the tower were open and the volunteers were super friendly. My only issue with this Trail is getting there. We drove miles through the woods on dirt roads and I was kind of confused as to where the GPS was taking us. All of a sudden we were at the Balsam Lake trailhead and it was super easy from there.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

The final 12 mile drive is a single lane gravel and dirt road with no shoulder. Finding the trail is easy - take the gravel road past another trail lot to the end of the road and you are at the Balsam lot. Trail is marked well - follow the red trail markers all the way up. Pitch is very stair-like. Not a technical climb just a steady ascent. Just prior to the 3,500 elevation sign is the camp area and lean to. There is only enough room here for 3 parties. On a busy weekend it is possible there will be no place left to camp. Forest changes to alpine trees above 3,500 feet, which I enjoyed. There is a tapped water spring here, which the volunteers say is potable water. I would still filter it just in case. Diarrhea on a trail like this (or any trail for that matter) would be horrible. On top, tower view is partially obstructed by every window being screwed closed. You can take photos one flight of stairs below the top. Volunteers are friendly. There is a picnic table, a privy, and a cabin up top. Pack for the unexpected. Weather changes quick up here. Was forecast to be 58 and sunny when I camped. Turned into 38 and steady rain. I set my tent up inside the lean to. Heading down watch your footing. I took a terrible fall on wet leaves and rocks.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views from Fire Tower. The balsam trees smell heavenly at the top. The trail is mostly moderate except the shorter, steeper trail is difficult, but worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Challenge worthy - the payoff is the view from the Tower. When you get to the top - the trees just smell fantastic- you are amazed by it.

Super cool trail, I love all the greenery. The trail gets pretty steep if you stay to the left at the fork - very tough but worth it. There’s an old fire tower at the top too that you’re able to climb, so you can see the views from the top of the mountain. Just wish there were more lookout points along the trail itself. Overall, I would definitely hike this trail again.

hiking
4 months ago

We enjoyed this trail - hiked up the red trail and continued the loop as depicted on the blue trail. We hiked early to beat the rain, but unfortunately there were no views to be had because of the clouds. Oh well.. enjoyed it anyway. Not another hiker out there this morning. Nice blackberries ripening in first quarter mile too.

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

Great hike! The trail up to the tower is steep and rocky and goes on forever, but, the views from the top of the tower were worth the work!

hiking
5 months ago

It was a bit rocky in spots and steep in one but that is to be expected on a mountain trail. The smell of the balsam trees near the top make it worth the trip. So far our favorite NY trail.

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

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