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Climb the Fire Towers of the Adirondacks

Once, they were beacons of the wilderness that allowed forest rangers to spot deadly wildfires and call for aid. They fell into disuse as modern methods took hold, but several have been restored to offer a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding wilderness.

female hiker inside Adirondack fire tower during a hike

Fire Tower Hikes

There are 25 fire towers that rise from summits across the Adirondacks. Interested in climbing all of them? Take the Fire Tower Challenge, and see how many you can check off your list!

Northern Adirondacks

Lyon Mountain

  • 5-mile round trip difficult hike
  • Elevation: 3,830
  • The summit features Montreal’s skyline, the Adirondack High Peaks, Lake Champlain, and the Green Mountains.
  • The trailhead is located off of I-87 Exit 38N. Take 374 west to Chazy Lake Road and drive south for approximately two miles.

Mount Arab

  • 2-mile round trip easy-to-moderate hike
  • Elevation: 2,525 feet
  • The fire tower provides beautiful views not seen from the summit.
  • The trailhead is located on Mount Arab Road off of Conifer Road in Piercefield, near Tupper Lake.
  • After your hike, get a beer, hard cider, or glass of wine at nearby Raquette River Brewing in Tupper Lake.

Azure Mountain

  • 2-mile round trip moderate hike
  • Elevation: 2,518 feet
  • The summit and top of the fire tower both feature views of the Adirondack Mountains and the St. Lawrence Valley.
  • The trailhead is located approximately 30 miles south of St. Regis Falls, about seven miles down Blue Mountain Road.
  • Stop for an after-hike meal at Deer Valley Trails in St. Regis Falls.

 

Cathedral Rock

  • 2-mile round trip easy hike
  • Elevation: 1,700 feet
  • The fire tower provides outstanding views of the surrounding mountains.
  • The trailhead is located behind the Ranger School in Wanakena.
  • Start your morning with breakfast at Coffee Fever in Star Lake, under 10 miles from the trailhead parking area.
Lyon Mountain fire tower in the Adirondacks

Central Adirondacks

Belfry Mountain

  • Less than 1-mile easy round trip hike
  • Elevation: 1,840 feet
  • Hikers can enjoy views of Lake Champlain from the fire tower.
  • The trailhead is located on Dalton Hill Road in Witherbee.
  • Fuel up for your hike at Foote’s Port Henry Diner, less than 10 miles from the trailhead!

Goodnow Mountain

  • 4-mile easy round trip hike
  • Elevation: 2,690 feet
  • Views of 23 of the Adirondack High Peaks can be seen from the summit.
  • The trailhead is located on Route 28N, 1.5 miles west of the Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Center in Newcomb.
  • If you’re looking for a sweet treat after your hike, head to Scoops Great Ice Cream and More in Newcomb or Custards Last Stand in Long Lake.

Hurricane Mountain

  • 6.8-mile round trip moderate hike
  • Elevation: 3,694 feet
  • The trailhead is located on Route 9N about 13 miles outside of Keene.
  • Grab a bite to eat at the nearby Baxter Mountain Tavern in Keene after a day of hiking!

Vanderwhacker Mountain

  • 5-mile round trip easy-to-moderate hike
  • Elevation: 3,386 feet
  • The fire tower features views of the Adirondack High Peaks.
  • The trailhead is located on Moose Pond Club Road off of Route 28N north of North Creek.

Southern Adirondacks

Blue Mountain

  • 4-mile round trip moderate-to-difficult hike
  • Elevation: 3,759 feet
  • The best views are from the stairs on the fire tower.
  • The trailhead is located just past Adirondack Experience, the Museum at Blue Mountain Lake (perfect for you to check out after your hike!) on Route 30 toward Long Lake.
  • Some of the hike is over open rock, which can be slippery. While you’re hiking, keep an eye out for a wide variety of birds, including Bicknell’s Thrush, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers.

Gore Mountain

  • 9.4-mile round trip difficult hike along the Schaefer Trail
  • Elevation: 3,583 feet
  • Enjoy waterfall views along the trail, and views of the Adirondack High Peaks at the summit.
  • The trailhead is located in North Creek off of NY Route 28.
  • Relax after your hike by exploring local restaurants and cafes in North Creek.

Owls Head Mountain

  • 6-mile moderate round trip hike
  • Elevation: 2,182 feet
  • The summit and top of the fire tower feature breathtaking views of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains and lakes.
  • The trailhead is located on Endion Road off of Route 30 near Long Lake.

Pillsbury Mountain

  • 3-mile round trip moderate hike
  • Elevation: 3,597 feet
  • The summit features views of Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake.
  • The trailhead is located near Sled Harbor Clearing, which is off of Route 30, then Jessup River Road.
  • Enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants in the Village of Speculator, just over 30 minutes south of Pillsbury Mountain.
girl inside fire tower on Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks

More Fire Towers to Explore

  • Mount Adams
  • Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain
  • Black Mountain
  • Hadley Mountain
  • Kane Mountain
  • Loon Lake Mountain
  • Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain
  • Snowy Mountain
  • Spruce Mountain
  • St. Regis Mountain
  • Stillwater Mountain
  • Wakely Mountain
  • Woodhull Mountain