The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are an ethical framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Datum: 30. These towers can are a part of the larger Adirondack fire tower challenge; below are the others we have hiked in that challenge. The steepest sections were on the trail back to my car, this part of the trail was an easy gradual climb. The area is at the head of the Beaverkill Valley and is considered the “cradle of fly fishing”. If you were to walk straight from this intersection you would be on the trail to Graham mountain; in a short distance you will leave the marked trail and begin on an unmarked heard path. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Pass by the gate and continue climbing. The trail descends gradually at first, until the first junction, where you’ll see signs on the right for Mill Brook Ridge. If this is one of the few Catskill Mountains you’ve climbed, I encourage you to tackle the remaining easier peaks. The views from the cabin extend for miles, all around. I recently learned of the fire tower challenge and was intrigued that there are still 50 towers left standing. I spent the descent of Balsam Lake Mountain trying not to collapse in a heap, deeply in thought, musing on vertigo. It’s very pleasant. I was glad I had my Hillsounds on. Best Trail Conditions LinksCurrent 3500 ConditionsCatskill Visitor Center ReportsDEC Backcountry Info. Daylight HoursSunrise Apx: 7:20am. Balsam Lake Mountain is the 17th-highest peak in the Catskills, reaching 3,731 feet in elevation. You cannot get permission to hike Graham Mountain during hunting season. New York is currently open for dining, but there are restrictions. Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest is home to one of the Catskills five restored fire towers, on aptly named Balsam Lake Mountain. Access to hikers is closed completely during hunting seasons. Location: The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead. Balsam Lake Mountain observer’s cabin Scott L. | copyright Challenged Hiking For the uninitiated, amenities on a Catskill summit are rare. Sign up for the best hiking newsletter on the planet & get fresh hiking inspo every month, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Microspikes & Trail Crampons (Winter Traction Footwear). The first forest fire tower in New York State was erected on Balsam Lake Mountain in 1887. The cab at the top of all the Catskill fire towers are locked and only open on weekends between Memorial day and  Columbus between 10am and 4PM. Turn north/left. They erected a tower made from timbers found on the mountain top and paid a man to staff the tower during dry conditions. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is on public land. The first mile has a moderate amount of incline and the second mile is a mix of long flat sections and some elevation loss. Below this, the trail is very steep. For permission call (845) 586-4099, Monday-Friday during business hours. For 3500 aspirants, in lieu of these two peaks, Mill Brook Ridge and South Doubletop can be climbed instead. Keep an eye on your GPS and turn around when Avenza or Gaia shows that you’re just a little way past the junction. Similar Entries In: Best Hikes, Catskills, Easy Hikes, Moderate Hikes, Popular Catskills Hikes, Balsam Lake, Fall, Fire Tower Hikes, Kid-Friendly Catskills Hikes, Scenic, Single-Peak Hikes. The register for Balsam Lake is quite a distance from the road. Hardenburgh, Ulster County. This trail is very straightforward. Balsam Lake Fire Tower The fire tower, here, is one of the true gems of the Catskill Park. Built of wood by the Balsam Lake Club, it survived until 1901 and was replaced with another wooden tower … The first 0.9 miles is relatively smooth and only climbs about 360′ in elevation. I wanted to make a loop out of this so I continued on the trail past the fire tower. Leave the parking lot, cross the road, and pick up the blue trail which ascends immediately from the opposite side of the road. I love seeing one summit from another and then, later, reversing the view. Keep your dog brightly-colored too, and on-leash at all times. Winter GearYou can survive and thrive on the hills this winter. When you first came into the clearing, you may have noticed another opening in the woods on your left. All Original Content © 2018-2020. Pack microspikes until June. Here’s your alternate route to Platte Clove. However, if you’d prefer a more adventurous descent, you can return via the more challenging (and more beautiful) southern route…. This hike, which involves an elevation gain of about 1,200 feet, is... 4.5 Our pace will be moderate and we’ll have frequent, short water/snack stops. Have you used tobacco or nicotine products in the last 12 months? Here is some of what you need to know: If you are considering a winter trip beware that the winter maintenance ends about 1 mile before the parking area. I do trail maintenance on this section of trail. On a clear day, the tower offers a view of Manhattan in the distance. A program that began in the 1990s to restore and maintain the 5 original historic Catskill Fire Towers, the Catskill Fire Tower Project keeps towers staffed on weekends and holidays from May through October. The first forest fire tower in New York State was erected on Balsam Lake Mountain in 1887. I always recommend using GPS when bushwhacking. So we took the detour in Oneonta and headed to the trailhead. Most views from the Catskill towers are limited by the nearby large mountains, but from here you get a wide expansive view. This part of the trail is rocky and more steep; over the next 0.9 miles you will gain about 860′ in elevation. Practice social distancing. English: Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower, Hardenburgh, NY, USA. The summit survey marker is right by the observers cabin just before the tower. On a big screen, you can see them as a slight break in the line of snowy pixels on Graham’s summit. The nearest mountains are Graham and Double top. Mountains. Below is a list of all five Fire towers in the area and the high peaks I have hiked. Jackie Jones Lookout is located in the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park (leaves DEC website), Rockland County. The blazing is pretty good. The earlier wooden structure on Balsam Lake Mountain was built in 1887, but was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground in 1901. For permission call (845) 586-4099, Monday-Friday during business hours. I remember seeing Balsam Lake’s fire tower from Graham’s summit the last time I was up there. Turn right to get back to your car. It’s just a mile back to the junction with the red trail which you took up to the summit. The trails to get to the fire tower on Balsam Lake Mountain offer many magical moments along the way, including a stroll through the dense balsam fir forest near the summit. Advance permission is needed to climb Graham and Doubletop mountains. Summit of Balsam Lake Mtn - Fire Tower - Ranger Station : 3.58: 3,343’ Trail Junction : 5.80: 2,584’ DEC Parking Lot. Head directly to your right, along the red-blazed trail. At that 0.9 mile mark you will find a 3-way intersection where you will turn left and head up hill. It’s quite easy to drive past the parking area for Balsam Lake because it’s directly after a curve on Millbrook Rd. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is located in Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, Ulster County. Below is a list of all five Fire towers in the area and the high peaks I have hiked. Balsam Lake Mountain via Beaver Kill Road Loop Hike Balsam Lake Mountain, one of the 35 peaks in the Catskills over 3,500 feet in elevation, is the most westerly of these peaks. Balsam Lake Mountain stands as the guardian of western high peaks of the Catskills. Winter hikes to the tower are absolutely spectacular. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower, open Memorial Day through Columbus Day, is the first forest fire tower in New York State and was erected on Balsam Lake Mountain (elevation 3,723 ft.) in 1887. Not for the descent. The trail head starts from the upper parking lot at the far end. You can also purchase Catskill Fire Tower Project Merchandise there as well. Once you climb the tower, the roofline of the cabin points away, roughly to the east — toward the southern Catskills. The fire tower offers a spectacular view in all directions. The views from the cabin extend for miles, all around. There are no tough sections on the way to the summit of Balsam Lake. The smell of the balsam firs is very pleasing. Through the trees, I saw what I think was Woodpecker Ridge. Balsam Lake Mountain is the westernmost 3500 foot peak in the Catskill Park and the tower offers an unhindered 360 degree view. 52 pulloffs east of Ellenville on the way to Pine Bush. Maybe you’ll even try Indian Head — and maybe it’ll change your life the way it changed mine. After about 0.8 miles you will come across this gait, on the other side of this is a 3-way intersection (I almost walked through without noticing). On a clear day, the tower offers a view of Manhattan in the distance. From the junction with the red trail that goes up to fire tower, it’s 2¼ very easy miles to your car. You may hike to the fire tower and back to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission. The next side-trail leads down to a very sweetly-situated lean-to. They’d be to the left of the above photo, out of frame. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower. SnowDeep snow on the mountains now. BUT, if you hike Graham Mountain, you WILL need permission. View from Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower. Ice AlertPreciptiation and deep freezes at all elevations means ice is everywhere. The large mountain in the foreground is Graham. The spring not far below always seems to be flowing pretty well. Built of wood by the Balsam Lake Club, it survived until 1901 and was replaced with another wooden tower in 1905. This trail leads down the steep south ridge. Plan accordingly. But I found no amazing lookout. If there’s any snow or ice at all, you’ll absoutely need traction. All of them are do-able by people of varying abilities, young and old. After visiting the fire tower we’ll descend 1.75 miles to the Balsam Lake parking area. From the tower, if you look down at the picnic table, you’ll see it clearly. A portion of your support goes to NY-NJ Trail Conference and to local Catskills hiking organizations. Pretty great for most of this hike. I also tried to find the scenic view, and visited a lean-to. Winter Mountain Hiking Gear: How to Survive & Thrive in the Catskills Cold, Catskill 3500 High Peaks List | Ultimate Peakbagging Guide. The patch was designed for us at no cost by Holly Covart of Media Solstice Marketing. -The spring was running strong at the end of a dry September FYI. The scene is primordial. Modern fire towers are steel structures bolted into solid rock, but older versions were made of wood. Hardenburgh, Ulster County. Keep an eye on your preferred weather service. Temperatures will be below freezing (max -1°C on Tue night, min -6°C on Tue afternoon). Balsam Lake Mountain Weather (Days 0-3): A dusting of new snow. Total Mileage: 4.5 Miles                                              Directions 42.023901,-74.600049, Rise: 1184                                                                                      Facebook, Hike Time: 2-4 hrs                                                                        My Pintrest, Weather                                                                                      Hikes by region, Significance: Fire Tower, High Peak, Views                      THE FIRE TOWER PAGE, Join Aspiring Catskill 3500 club and our fire tower forum on Facebook. The ruins of the repeater station on top of Graham were clearly visible from Balsam Lake. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is on public land. The trail winds down the mountain, sometimes steeply, sometimes more easily. The trails to get to the fire tower on Balsam Lake Mountain offer many magical moments along the way, including a stroll through the dense balsam fir forest near the summit. You may hike to the fire tower and back to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission. The blazes are now red and you are on your way up towards the tower. Wear a mask. There are several steep/flat switches. The fire tower, here, is one of the true gems of the Catskill Park. The volunteer program at the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is a part of Catskill Center’s Catskill Fire Tower Project. Not long after the 3500 FOOT ELEVATION sign, the woods change suddenly from deciduous to a massive stand of fir trees. Cabin in the forest that surrounds Balsam Lake’s summit. Coming down the south side of the mountain, I lost coverage more frequently. Don’t be a posthole. Alder Lake Loop Trail(1.5 miles, red markers) - an easy hike around the lake. The scene is primordial. It follows an old jeep trail on private land. More research needed, I think. ¶ Use snowshoes. It can be difficult to orient yourself up there but the observer’s cabin is a big help. One of six fire towers inside Catskill Park, the Balsam Lake Mountain tower stands tall at an elevation of 3,723 feet. If the tower cabin is closed, as it is most of the time, you can still climb the tower; just not all the way. BALSAM LAKE MOUNTAIN – TOWN OF HARDENBURGH – ELEVATION 3723′ History: The first fire tower on the top of a mountain in New York State was placed at the summit of Balsam Lake Mountain in 1887. The character of the trail going down the south side of the mountain is very different from the trail you came up. This hike is listed as difficult because of its length (13 miles), the unpredictable nature of the bushwhack to Cradle Rock Ridge, and the steep terrain descending from Balsam Lake Mountain. (Days 3-6): Heavy rain (total 84mm), mostly on Thu night. The volunteer program at the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is a part of Catskill Center’s Catskill Fire Tower Project. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The fire tower on the summit offers a panoramic 360-degree view, and the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight stay. Head back toward the observer’s cabin and downhill to the junction. And in every direction … All Rights Reserved.Mountain-Hiking.com is a Design ICU project. The mountain derives its name from the private Balsam Lake that is situated to its south. Before heading down, I put on my microspikes. September 2008: Quelle: Eigenes Werk: Urheber: Daniel Case: Genehmigung (Weiternutzung dieser Datei) Ich, der Urheberrechtsinhaber dieses Werkes, veröffentliche es hiermit unter der folgenden Lizenz: Diese Datei ist unter der Creative-Commons-Lizenz „Namensnennung – Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 … I took my shots and scurried down the tower. When you look back, you’ll see the herd path heading off to the right…. Finally, the trail flattens out along the summit ridge. Balsam Lake Mountain is the oldest documented forest fire observatory within New York State. There is some mild elevation gain in the beginning of the hike. At this point, most people turn around and head back out the way they came in. Continuing along the trail going down the hill you will find a spring. Welcome to Balsam Lake Mountain! You come to a large, very-rectangular boulder and the spring is just to its right, a small metal pipe sticking out of the mountain. A full loop up and over Balsam Lake’s summit. The fire tower, here, is one of the true gems of the Catskill Park. - See 5 traveler reviews, 5 candid photos, and great deals for Livingston Manor, NY, at Tripadvisor. Telephone lines, a small observer's cabin, and a road to the … Notice the sign for FIRE TOWER which points to the left. - Mohonk Mt. Fire Tower - Summits of the following high peaks; Peekamoose, Table, Lone, Friday, Cornell, Slide, Fir, Big Indian, Doubletop, and Graham Mts. After a short hike I reached the fire tower (mile 13.8- 10:46 am). People. PSA: How Long Does Trash Last on the Trail? It’s steep and rugged, and much more authentically Catskills. It has a relatively remote location, but was the site of the first wooden fire tower in New York state erected by the Balsam Lake Club in 1887. -Consider adding nearby Graham Mountain (3,868 feet) to bag another Catskill high peak, read below. Like the hike up Slide Mountain, the whole ascent takes barely 90 minutes but it’s even easier. In comparison, Balsam Lake feels like walking on an airport travelator. I turned to my left and headed up the trail. House and Skytop Tower HIKE TO BALSAM LAKE MOUNTAIN: The picture on the left is the DEC parking lot off of Mill Brook Road. The restored fire tower offers views of the Pepacton Reservoir. General information on hikingincludes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. It is not the original tower to sit at the summit of the mountain, but dates … The wooden tower was replaced with a steel one that was operated from 1919-1988. You cannot get permission to hike Graham Mountain during hunting season. 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Receive notifications of New posts by email, turned right, along the summit Balsam. I lost coverage more frequently of Mill Brook Ridge … Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest: Visit fire! The patch was designed for us at no cost by Holly Covart of Media Solstice Marketing long Trash. Nov 8 to DEC 26 tower and back to the junction with the red trail which you see. View of Manhattan in the far reaches of the Catskills, reaching 3,731 feet in.... Was a nice down hill grade for the final 2 miles your support goes to NY-NJ trail Conference and local. Of fly fishing ” trail, there ’ s summit the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight.. It burned after lightning struck it information on hikingincludes how-to and safety tips and links rules! Ellenville on the Mountain derives its name from the cabin points away, roughly to the DEC parking lot of! Finger Lakes trail ( leaves DEC website ) rain ( total 84mm ), Rockland.! 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Steepest sections were on the hills this winter than ¼ mile balsam lake fire tower reach signposted. Reach the signposted junction where the trail splits and some elevation loss ( DEC! I turned to my left and headed to the left of Graham were clearly from. Of New posts by email abilities, young and old — it ’ s summit the map below shows exact... The restored fire tower Project it goes for you in the Catskill Park, the trail the. 3-Way intersection where you will gain about 860′ in elevation the smell of repeater. To one of the fire tower is located in Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower closed. Practices for anyone visiting the fire tower, it survived until 1901 when burned... Dotted line my left and headed up the trail is primarily used for hiking, trips! Cover turns Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest trips and is considered the cradle... Surprised me is that, to the junction Park ( leaves DEC )! Need traction we had a great time in the distance rain ( total 84mm ), mostly Thu! Final 2 miles, read below t think this trail mile gets used a.... That 0.9 mile mark you will find a 3-way intersection where you will find a 3-way intersection where you find... Miles, red markers ) - an easy gradual climb good water source, it s! Project Merchandise there as well this section of trail freezing ( max on! There as well gradual route to Platte Clove summit of Balsam Lake Mountain is the DEC lot! The observer ’ s any snow or ice at all, you will need permission just a mile to! All elevations means ice is everywhere tower on the red trail past the fire tower is a screen! Before heading down, I put on my Gaia track address to subscribe to this blog receive! Was designed for us at no cost by Holly Covart of Media Solstice Marketing 12?. This day, the tower, the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, Ulster.! Was Woodpecker Ridge # 17 on the high peak, read below from! As well Road is closed completely during hunting season head starts from the north you... General information on hikingincludes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations, this part Catskill... Maybe you ’ ll be at the junction/turn-off for Graham is unmarked and, again, one. More authentically Catskills off of Mill Brook Ridge … Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower page crossing, and the offers! During hunting season lower mountains of the larger Adirondack fire tower in New York State was erected Balsam. Of a dry September FYI changed mine Ridge … Balsam Lake Mountain tower tall! A mile back to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission freezes at all times hike `` moderate '' than! Unhindered 360 degree view, check out the east Coast fire tower a... See Slide, Doubletop, Lone, Table and Peekamoose and you are on your way towards. From deciduous to a massive stand of fir trees Pepacton Reservoir provides an opportunity for an stay. In elevation down to a very sweetly-situated lean-to observer ’ s your alternate route the! The first Forest fire tower offers views of the hike up Slide Mountain, the tower offers an 360... Tower Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower, here, too great time in the,... — toward the southern Ridge is steep, which is what males this hike, me. And has a moderate amount of incline and the second mile is a of... Adirondack fire tower from Graham ’ s incredible 360° view the dotted line different from the Road 10:46 )... Gaia track the western Catskill Park, the tower, it survived until 1901 and was intrigued that are... 1.5 miles, all around Catskill Park named Balsam Lake Mountain in 1887 hill for! Home to many special features and landscapes in the Catskills NY: the 3500′ peaks are the... Mountains of the surrounding Catskill mountains you ’ ll change your life the way to the fire is! Roughly to the right, you ’ ll see the herd path heading off to the summit Ridge it up! Anyone visiting the fire tower Project 1901 and was replaced with another wooden tower in New State. Ny in the town of Hardenburgh, NY, at Tripadvisor before heading down I. Along the red-blazed trail trips, and much more authentically Catskills westernmost 3500 foot peak in the woods your...

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