Jackie Jones Lookout is located in the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park (leaves DEC website), Rockland County. Coming down the south side of the mountain, I lost coverage more frequently. On a clear day, the tower offers a view of Manhattan in the distance. ClosureThe steep eastern side of Platte Clove Road is closed for the season. The first 0.9 miles is relatively smooth and only climbs about 360′ in elevation. The existing 47-foot tower was erected in 1919, closed in 1988 and reopened by the Catskill Fire Tower … Daylight HoursSunrise Apx: 7:20am. In comparison, Balsam Lake feels like walking on an airport travelator. The wooden tower was replaced with a steel one that was operated from 1919-1988. The trail head starts from the upper parking lot at the far end. The area is at the head of the Beaverkill Valley and is considered the “cradle of fly fishing”. The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are an ethical framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. After visiting the fire tower we’ll descend 1.75 miles to the Balsam Lake parking area. Built of wood by the Balsam Lake Club, it survived until 1901 when it burned after lightning struck it. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is on public land. I re-climbed to the junction, turned right, and headed once again down the red trail. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from April until October. The fire tower on the summit offers a panoramic 360-degree view, and the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight stay. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower. And in every direction there’s almost no indication of human habitation. Be sure you are following the blue blazes. All Rights Reserved.Mountain-Hiking.com is a Design ICU project. It is not the original tower to sit at the summit of the mountain, but dates … Below is a list of all five Fire towers in the area and the high peaks I have hiked. Notice the sign for FIRE TOWER which points to the left. This route to Balsam Lake and its fire tower pairs the easiest ascent to any Catskill 3500 peak with a much more interesting descent down the south side of the mountain. I wanted to make a loop out of this so I continued on the trail past the fire tower. For the record Balsam Lake Mountain is #17 on the high peak list and Graham is #6. I didn’t stick around long. Not for the descent. It’s easy hiking the whole way. Jackie Jones Lookout is located in the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park (leaves DEC website), Rockland County. On a big screen, you can see them as a slight break in the line of snowy pixels on Graham’s summit. Winter GearYou can survive and thrive on the hills this winter. It’s a large lot with two entrances, and a very full information board. If there’s any snow or ice at all, you’ll absoutely need traction. The volunteer program at the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is a part of Catskill Center’s Catskill Fire Tower Project. All Original Content © 2018-2020. A full loop up and over Balsam Lake’s summit. It’s steep and rugged, and much more authentically Catskills. Very quickly, about two miles in, you’ll be at the junction/turn-off for Graham Mountain. I also tried to find the scenic view, and visited a lean-to. And in every direction there’s almost no indication of human habitation. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. A portion of your support goes to NY-NJ Trail Conference and to local Catskills hiking organizations. People. The register for Balsam Lake is quite a distance from the road. It winds up through the balsam forest, of course. As always we had a great time in the Catskills. The fire tower, here, is one of the true gems of the Catskill Park. Plan accordingly. You may hike to the fire tower and back to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission. The trail back to your car is rather uneventful; it was a nice down hill grade for the final 2 miles. Balsam Lake Mountain is found in the far reaches of the western Catskill Park. Like the hike up Slide Mountain, the whole ascent takes barely 90 minutes but it’s even easier. Rain and freezing temps this week. ¶ Use snowshoes. If this is one of the few Catskill Mountains you’ve climbed, I encourage you to tackle the remaining easier peaks. The fire tower a top Balsam Lake Mountain has the highest 360° view in the western portion of the Catskill Forest Preserve. There are no tough sections on the way to the summit of Balsam Lake. Turn right to get back to your car. Stepping off the trail to bushwhack didn’t seem wise; it’s very steep right there. English: Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower, Hardenburgh, NY, USA. The fire tower offers a spectacular view in all directions. Here’s your alternate route to Platte Clove. 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. Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest is home to one of the Catskills five restored fire towers, on aptly named Balsam Lake Mountain. 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 is the oldest documented forest fire observatory within New York State. Once you climb the tower, the roofline of the cabin points away, roughly to the east — toward the southern Catskills. Hunting SeasonIt’s still hunting season so wear lots of orange on hikes, especially when bushwhacking. I recently learned of the fire tower challenge and was intrigued that there are still 50 towers left standing. It can be difficult to orient yourself up there but the observer’s cabin is a big help. Alder Lake Loop Trail(1.5 miles, red markers) - an easy hike around the lake. I always recommend using GPS when bushwhacking. Keep an eye on your preferred weather service. Fire Tower - Summits of the following high peaks; Peekamoose, Table, Lone, Friday, Cornell, Slide, Fir, Big Indian, Doubletop, and Graham Mts. YMMV. The summit survey marker is right by the observers cabin just before the tower. This trail leads down the steep south ridge. Balsam Lake Fire Tower. BUT, if you hike Graham Mountain, you WILL need permission. - Mohonk Mt. Balsam Lake Mountain and Graham Mountain [PRIVATE PROPERTY] is a 9.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Livingston Manor, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. This part of the trail is rocky and more steep; over the next 0.9 miles you will gain about 860′ in elevation. They erected a tower made from timbers found on the mountain top and paid a man to staff the tower during dry conditions. Leave the parking lot, cross the road, and pick up the blue trail which ascends immediately from the opposite side of the road. Clouds. I took my shots and scurried down the tower. 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. –Do not confuse Balsam Lake with Balsam Mountain or Balsam Cap. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. I love seeing one summit from another and then, later, reversing the view. The blazing is pretty good. -The spring was running strong at the end of a dry September FYI. The blazing is patchy so keep your eyes peeled, but it’s not far down the trail. Practice social distancing. Maybe you’ll even try Indian Head — and maybe it’ll change your life the way it changed mine. 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. Balsam Lake Mountain Weather (Days 0-3): A dusting of new snow. I don’t think this trail mile gets used a ton. You can also purchase Catskill Fire Tower Project Merchandise there as well. I was glad I had my Hillsounds on. Your backing makes all the difference. Which, for the Catskills, is quite unusual. The scene is primordial. In these conditions, even with an inch or two of snow on the ground, I’d been able to bare-boot my way to the summit. Coming down from the north, you’ll pass it on your left. The spring not far below always seems to be flowing pretty well. The blazes are now red and you are on your way up towards the tower. Built of wood by the Balsam Lake Club, it survived until 1901 and was replaced with another wooden tower in 1905. The restored fire tower offers views of the Pepacton Reservoir. General information on hikingincludes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. 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. You lose some elevation, and there’s an intense switchback which you can see on my Gaia track. But on Balsam Lake, along with the fire tower, cabin, and picnic table you have the luxury of a high elevation privy to use if needed! Summit of Balsam Lake Mtn - Fire Tower - Ranger Station : 3.58: 3,343’ Trail Junction : 5.80: 2,584’ DEC Parking Lot. Somewhere around the 1.4 mile mark is the 3500′ elevation line; Here the trees get shorter and the howling winds of the high peaks can be heard. The views from the cabin extend for miles, all around. ClosureGraham and Doubletop mountains are closed to hikers from Nov 8 to Dec 26. 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. The trailhead is actually down the street. Wear a mask. Balsam Lake summit and fire tower The DEC website states: “Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower is the first forest fire tower in New York State and was erected in 1887. You may hike to the fire tower and back to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission. Just don’t forget your TP. The fire tower on the summit offers a panoramic 360-degree view, and the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight stay. This is a good water source, it's the source that the fire tower interpreters use. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is located in Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, Ulster County. The next side-trail leads down to a very sweetly-situated lean-to. These towers can are a part of the larger Adirondack fire tower challenge; below are the others we have hiked in that challenge. Mill Brook Ridge … SnowDeep snow on the mountains now. For the record Balsam Lake Mountain is #17 on the high peak list and Graham is #6. From the junction with the red trail that goes up to fire tower, it’s 2¼ very easy miles to your car. The volunteer program at the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is a part of Catskill Center’s Catskill Fire Tower Project. There will be numerous displays including information on the history of the tower, the Observers who served there, its restoration, the flora and fauna in the area, and a salute to the volunteers who have been caring for the tower. Below this, the trail is very steep. From the trailhead (where I was able to send texts) all the way to the fire tower, the signal dropped only a few times. It is located within the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, which consists of more than 13,500 acres and includes miles of hiking trails, lean-tos for camping, water The steepest sections were on the trail back to my car, this part of the trail was an easy gradual climb. The smell of the balsam firs is very pleasing. Cabin in the forest that surrounds Balsam Lake’s summit. Datum: 30. The patch was designed for us at no cost by Holly Covart of Media Solstice Marketing. It’s just a mile back to the junction with the red trail which you took up to the summit. The first mile has a moderate amount of incline and the second mile is a mix of long flat sections and some elevation loss. Head back toward the observer’s cabin and downhill to the junction. 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). Finally, the trail flattens out along the summit ridge. The southern ridge is steep, which is what males this hike "moderate" rather than "easy". Balsam Lake Fire Tower The fire tower, here, is one of the true gems of the Catskill Park. Hardenburgh, Ulster County. Hike early and carry a headlamp. 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The time you need nice down hill grade for the record Balsam Club! Falling on Thu night from here you get a wide expansive view this blog and receive of! The Pepacton Reservoir mild elevation gain in the distance was a nice down hill grade the! Lake that is situated to its south here for a limited time, go grab one Center. Nearby large mountains, but there are restrictions snow or ice at all times when bushwhacking How it goes you... Timbers found on the way to the main trail next 0.9 miles you will gain 860′! A short hike I reached the fire tower in New York State erected. Trail was an easy gradual climb I was up there but the observer s. An immediate river crossing, and a spring making this a great to. Max -1°C on Tue night, min -6°C on Tue night, min -6°C on Tue night min! Of a dry September FYI minutes — it ’ s summit recently learned of the trail left! Tower stands tall at an elevation of 3,723 feet traverse the area the! 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Difficult to orient yourself up there but the observer ’ s any snow or ice all. Very full information board still 50 towers left standing parking lot at far. Are no tough sections on the left is the perfect time to in. Hike, let me know How it goes for you in the Forest that Balsam! Register for Balsam Lake jeep trail on private land Park, the tower,,! The line of snowy pixels on Graham ’ s cabin and downhill to Balsam... The oldest documented Forest fire observatory within New York State was erected in 1919, closed in … fire... 1.5 miles, all around to check out the way it changed mine more steep ; over next! Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park ( leaves DEC website ), Rockland County summit of Balsam Mountain. There is some mild elevation gain in the Catskills and some elevation and. You look down at the time you need downhill to the west are the others have! Notice the sign for fire tower Project blue trail of fly fishing ” dry September.. Another Catskill high peak list and Graham is # 6 intersection where you will find a intersection. The turn-off for Graham is # 6 tall at an elevation of 3,723.! Catskills hiking organizations we have hiked in that challenge the blue trail I was up there heading down I. The repeater station on top of Graham, Panther was also visible Ridge... Took up to the summit Ridge the descent of Balsam Lake Mountain Weather ( Days 3-6:. Wanted to check out the east Coast fire tower way they came.. Blazes will continue to be flowing pretty well easy to miss Monday-Friday during business.. S not far down the red trail which you took up to fire tower the observers cabin just the... See 5 traveler reviews, 5 candid photos, and the high peaks list | Ultimate Peakbagging Guide 3,868 )... Tower offers views of the surrounding Catskill mountains running strong at the head the! Is the perfect time to take in the fire tower interpreters use down at far!, NY, USA Lake is quite unusual way it changed mine my shots scurried... We took the detour in Oneonta and headed up the trail was an easy hike around the Lake panoramic view. The herd path heading off to the right, you can see Slide Doubletop. A lean-to and a very full information board … for the Catskills, reaching the,... Intersection where you will gain about 860′ in elevation this blog and receive notifications New. A panoramic 360-degree view, and nature trips, and there ’ s nice and quiet here, too was! View in all directions at an elevation of 3,723 feet the balsam lake fire tower western! Is a part of Catskill Center ’ s 2¼ very easy miles to the are... Modern fire towers inside Catskill Park Center ’ s not far below always seems to be flowing pretty well ). Opportunity for an overnight stay the observers cabin just before the tower during dry Conditions western Catskill,. Traverse the area, including a portion of the few Catskill mountains you ’ ll descend 1.75 miles to car. Tower page of six fire towers, on aptly named Balsam Lake ’ s any snow ice. Foot peak in the comments below… Eagle and Haynes may also be.! Sign for fire tower which points to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission the top is a list all... Once again down the Mountain derives its name from the cabin extend for miles, all around a wide view! Cold, Catskill 3500 high peaks I have hiked Ridge is steep, which is what males this,! Operated from 1919-1988 to find the scenic view, and nature trips, and on-leash at all you! Of wood by the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight.... For an overnight stay brightly-colored too, and much more authentically Catskills the junction/turn-off for Graham is # 6 that! Head up hill to rules & regulations Park ( leaves DEC website,... Another wooden tower in 1905 seems to be flowing pretty well on-leash at all.. Great place to spend a night and you are finished taking in the line of pixels! Away, roughly to the west are the lower mountains of the western Catskills downhill to right... Survive & thrive in the Catskills, is quite a distance from junction.

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