Pillsbury Mountain

HARD 56 reviews
#39 of 174 trails in

Pillsbury Mountain is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Pleasant, New York that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.1 miles
1,469 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash










Pillsbury Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the southern Adirondacks at 3,597 feet in elevation! The views are only accessible on the fire tower. Note: some may need to park at Sled Harbor Clearing and walk an additional 1.5 miles to the trailhead.

22 days ago

Great hike with just a couple trees over the trail, some mud but not bad.It was pretty foggy so the views weren’t much. The trail was quiet which was ok. Looks like they are getting ready to start some work up top either at the cabin or the tower.It was a nice and cool hike to the top in the clouds. Definitely recommend this hike.
No sign of Sasquatch either.

28 days ago

Hiked this trail as the first stage of a 6 day backpacking trip in the Adirondacks. The trail itself wasn't particularly interesting but the view at the top is great as long as you climb the fire tower. It was raining when we did the hike so it was slow moving due to the slippery rocks and roots. My inReach clocked it in at 2.2 miles each way, so a bit further than the trail maps and signs state. Other hikers had similar distances logged. As others have mentioned, the access road is an adventure in itself so you may need to hike extra to get to the trailhead if your vehicle struggles with the rough road.

1 month ago

Wet and muddy. Steep climb

1 month ago

The entrance to the trailhead is crazy. We came in a jeep so it was a lot of fun, but I don't know how some of the smaller cars made it, there are some pretty big pot holes and none of it is paved. This hike was a lot harder than I had expected. I had read the reviews, but still figured it wouldn't be too bad since it was such a short hike. The trail was is good condition, but the tower needed some work. Toward the top of the tower it was completely open no chicken wire, etc around the stairs. The tower was locked but you can still climb up for great views. The bottom of the tower is all rock so it's a nice spot to sit and eat lunch before your way down. It had just rained all week before we went so it was a little slippery but overall a fun hike!

2 months ago

Amazing views from the firetower!

2 months ago

Views were amazing but the tower needs some TLC.
No chicken wire on the top few platforms and sadly the tower is locked.
Trail was in great shape overall with minimal wet spots but the bugs were pretty bad so come prepared.
The trail is accessible by any car for sure as long as you take it easy in the last 500 ft. There was a tiny 2 door civic back there !
As stated it’s steep the ENTIRE hike. No switchbacks or flats.

2 months ago

This is from the prospective of an out of shape (266 pound 5’7”) man. As everyone stated the 3 mile road to the trail is narrow and should not be attempted by low riders. Now for the trail, in my case I found it very challenging, it was just uphill so it took me longer than your average hiker to do. It some parts where muddy and as for wild life nothing really stood out on the trail. For photos well the top of the tower has a great few and some interesting tree roots with the sun lighting look awesome but you more focused on the elevation of the hike. I have to say I did enjoy it. The tower needs lots of work some sections had no wire and the tower was locked when I went up.

3 months ago

Straight climb to the top after the first quarter mile...virtually no straight sections. Very muddy and wet the day I went so I took it slow. Views are awesome, but you'll see nothing if you don't climb the tower. They airlifted construction materials to the summit; the tower needs better wiring/protection...kinda sketchy. Don't know if I'd want to climb it if it were windy. No wind the day I went. I saw no one on trail at all on a Wednesday. Trail is super well marked and easy to follow, but the road in sucks and is really long. Drive a car/truck with good clearance and bring a bug net or wear some good bug dope.

3 months ago

Ascending for the entire trail. Small cars and off-road incapable cars beware the road to get to the trailhead is narrow and extremely rugged in spots. View was great! Cabin has unfortunately been completely defiled but cool to see it nonetheless. Top of the fire tower is currently closed and is missing many sections of metal fencing on the stairs.

10 months ago

This hike definitely wasn't as hard as I anticipated. It was enjoyable and fun. Doing it with fresh snow on the ground, I'm sure was easier in some ways as didn't have all the rocks and roots to contend with.
It was slippery with the snow and ice, as also had black ice didn't see until I was on my butt. Crampons would of worked better than Stabilicers for sure.
No problem getting to trail head with Subaru Car.
One more hike Vanderwhacker to finish the Indian Lake 4321 Challenge, my reasoning for doing Pillsbury again, as last time was 23 years ago.

10 months ago

Much nicer than I expected andas far as hard as a rating I would say moderate it was no more difficult than owls Head or Goodnow fire tower trails
It was muddy but a beautiful day
Sadly the tower is in disrepair but you must climb to see the view
I would do it again

11 months ago

We hiked from the trailhead labelled "Jessup River Wild Forest." Not sure if this was the Sled Harbor Clearing - or if we passed that earlier. The hike was 1.5 miles and a nice combination of climbing rocky sections and flatter forested sections. It was moderately difficult - my teenage son completed it in an hour but it took me 1 hour 15 minutes to reach the summit. The views from the firetower were beautiful - but someone had torn the mesh off several levels (pretty high up) so it was a bit treacherous to climb up to the top. We spend 40 minutes relaxing on the summit - some beautiful hemlocks and deciduous trees with bright orange/red berries - mountain laurel? The drive was tough in my Mazda 3 but we did it. about 6 - 8 miles - we took different routes in and out. And on the way our, we saw a jack rabbit, which led us on a chase down the road. And then, a black panther. I don't expect anyone to really believe we saw it - crossing the dirt road - but it had a long black tail and looked like a big black cat. 40# plus. Wow!!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Cool hike, dont really know why its labeled hard. I def broke a sweat and the ascent is pretty constant. All in all very doable. People on here didnt lie about the roads though. They do in fact suck and Im glad this trip is behind me. I was genuinely worried about effing my car up but in the end made it without bumping into any oncoming traffic. I drive an 07 Impala and didnt bottom out once but def had to take it very slow. Was probably on the dirt roads for close to an hour. The Perkins Tract is most certainly a maze back there. Somewhat dissappointed this trip report turned into a road conditions report. Geodetic stamp on top of Pillsbury not to be missed. At 3597ft this little mountain is certainly right up there. Firetower itself is pretty haggard and sketchy. Chicken wire everywhere including the ground to where it has fallen. Walked up about halfway and called it, lol. Under two hours back safely at car and Im a slow hiker.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Harder than I was led to believe from locals. They rated moderately difficult. It was hard! But the view from the Fire Tower was worth the sweat. The entrance sign said 1.2 mi. Don't believe it! Closer to 1.5-2 mi each way.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Harder than I was led to believe from locals. They rated moderately difficult. It was hard! But the view from the Fire Tower was worth the sweat. The entrance sign said 1.2 mi. Don't believe it! Closer to 1.5-2 mi each way.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Great hike mostly up whole time but not crazy great view from tower
Another tower down 2 hours round trip

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Getting to the trailhead is difficult with a small car, but the hike was great! I was expecting a difficult climb, but it was a very enjoyable, easy hike. Views from the fire tower were great, although it is in rough shape. A very nice day hike!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wasn't expecting a strenuous hike but worth it

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I recommend wearing a waterproof hiking boot. Also try to go on a Sunny day because you can climb up the fire tower and see everything.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I climbed this after finishing the West Canada Lakes loop hike with time to spare. The comments about the access road are legit - I was sketched out on a few spots even in my AWD Mazda. The climb is short and steep, and many sections are exactly as described in the other reviews - rocky, slippery, and muddy. I imagine it isn't too bad if you go when it is dry. The trail itself is very easy to follow. The view at the top by itself is ho-hum, but if you climb the fire tower there, it is absolutely stunning.

Friday, June 02, 2017

It was ABSOLUTELY worth trekking through mud and up steep rocks! The trail begins with a short bridge over a stream(great for photos). It gradually becomes steeper and eventually you are hiking through water and up steep rockslides. So, expect to get your shoes wet. But, the fire tower at the top is worth it all, especially with the view it gives you.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

This is a short but intense climb. Wear hiking boots--sneakers will not cut it. The trail is rocky and steep in places. I went after a few days of rain so the trail was also very wet. Some spots had deep mud, and areas of exposed rock were very slippery. The bugs were thick, especially during the first half of the climb, but they subside somewhat as you gain elevation. The fire tower is a must--the cab is closed but you get amazing panoramic views from halfway up. I'd suggest waiting for a spell of dry weather if you want to try this trail.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The trail is steep but short. You can't see anything unless you have the guts to climb up the thrillingly high tower. The fire tower is higher than the others I have been before.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The drive into the trailhead is almost a difficult as the hike itself! Really nice hike, at least in good weather. The tower would be better if one could get the whole way up. That being said, what you can access gives some nice views. As stated in other reviews, the wind does whip around a bit on the tower.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This trail is not accessible with high snow. Perkins tract clearing becomes a snow mobile trail and that is still a half hour from the trailhead. Patiently waiting till spring for this hike. I have a 4x4 truck and there was absolutely no way I would make it to the trail head without getting stuck.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It was the one of the hardest three-mile hikes we've ever done. It was a lot of fun though. Chloe (my 4yo pit/lab mix) did awesome. Great exercise hike :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The only thing missing was the fire tower. It's there but as stated by some others it is in need of refurbishment. There was a good 40-50 mph wind at the top and I climbed up about two thirds of the tower way and took some pictures. I don't scare easily but the missing wire and the wind combined to keep me from going all the way to the cab. Either way the views are amazing.

I read on some other sites that the three unpaved roads to the trailhead keep some people from doing this hike. One of the websites said the third road was the worst. Some work must have been done because although it is single lane it was well graded and stoned and I was able to drive right to the trailhead. The second road was the worse of the three in my opinion but I easily made it.

This is what you should expect from a 1500 foot elevation gain in a mile and a half. It isn't something for the whole family but the trail does attempt to use the contour of the mountain to take some of the sting out of it. Also the false summit surprised me, I didn't look at a map prior to and when I got to the first plateau and saw there was more climb left, especially after having done Owls Head in the morning, I was a little deflated but pushed on.

Overall great views at the top and you have to work to get there. Don't be afraid of the access roads. They are easily passable and this hike is worth it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

About 1300 foot elevation change within a 1.6 mile hike. I would not recommend this hike just after a lot of rain since much of the trail is through hillside runoff. Hiking poles are recommended. Climbing up the fire tower is a must for this one since that is how you will get the amazing view!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Not a quick hike. Views were pretty good. The Fire watch tower is in rough shape. Boards are cracked and weathered. A lot of the wire is missing. Wouldn't recommend bringing children or dogs up it.

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