We had one seriously hot summer, but as quickly as September arrived, so did the beautiful cool weather that makes us all turn off the air conditioners and crack the windows at night. Along with the cooler weather, autumn bring us peak foliage season. The leaves change colors and the mountains come alive with vivid yellows, oranges, and reds.
What better way to see the foliage than on a hike? Participate in the Hamilton County Fire Tower Challenge and see the mountains in a whole new light. Also, as an added bonus, the trails tend to be a little quieter in the fall, the cooler weather makes the physical exertion a little easier, and LESS BUGS! Complete the challenge, and you will receive a free patch.
These 5 towers are a part of the challenge:
Wakely Mountain is located in Indian Lake and boasts the tallest tower in the Adirondacks! Recently restored in 2018, the tower has been reopened to the public. Views are limited from the ground, so I recommend climbing up the tower at least a little way!
Round Trip Length: 6 miles
Elevation Gain:1600 feet
Views Include: Blue Mountain, Blue Mountain Lake, the High Peaks
Tower Height: 70 Feet
Blue Mountain, situated in the town of Blue Mountain Lake, was one of the last operating Fire Towers in New York State. Operation ceased in 1990. Restoration by local volunteers made it possible for this Fire Tower to re-open.
Round Trip Length: 5.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1574 feet
Views Include: Blue Mountain Lake, Raquette Lake, the High Peaks
Tower Height: 35 feet
Owls Head Mountain
Owls Head Mountain is found in Long Lake. While is does have some steeper sections, most of this hike is fairly gradual, making it a great trail for the whole family!
Round Trip Length: 6.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1532 feet
Views Include: Long Lake and the High Peaks from the tower, open views to the east and south from the ground
Tower Height: 35 feet
Pillsbury is a local favorite in Speculator. This tower is located in the Perkins Clearing area. While this hike is normally 3.2 miles round trip, you can currently expect to add 1.2 miles in each direction due to road washouts from the 2019 Halloween storm.
Round Trip Length: Formerly 3.2 miles/Currently 5.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1480 feet
Views Include: Snowy Mountain and the High Peaks
Tower Height: 60 feet
Snowy Mountain in Indian Lake is one of the more difficult trails in the Southern Adirondacks. At 3,899 feet, it actually stands taller than two of the high peaks that were originally thought to be over 4,000 feet!
Round Trip Length: 6.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 2100 feet
Views Include: Mount Marcy, West Canada Wilderness, Indian Lake
Tower Height: 22 feet
Print out your Fire Tower Challenge and plan your road trip today!