Sunday, August 28, 2011

Easy Adirondack Hikes: Azure Mountain between St. Regis Falls and Paul Smiths


Azure Mountain is about 2518 feet in elevation, with beautiful views of the High Peaks region to the south and east and the St. Lawrence River to the north. Located off the Blue Mountain Rd., take NYS Rte. 458 to the Blue Mountain Rd. and travel approximately 6 miles to the trailhead. The parking lot is to the west.

Our friends are going to climb Azure Mountain so we invite ourselves along for the hike. I am told it is an easy mile up. Not to underestimate my abilities but upon hearing the magic words, “one-mile” I am all for it. I can conquer a mountain; rest on top and still return for naptime.


The kids scramble out of the car and take off up the trail. As I lock the car I hear my son exclaim how he is “king of the mountain.” Of course he is. I put on my pack and walk along the trail. Well, if it isn’t true. He is king of the mountain. At the beginning of the trail the Azure Mountain Friends have left a huge pile of stone with the request for all hikers to carry a few to the summit to help with soil erosion at the top. We all kneel down and select a few rocks and nestle them between the water bottles and sandwiches. My son and my nephew are at extremes. My son slips a pebble into his pack while my nephew chooses a boulder.

We sign into the register and begin our ascent following the red trail discs. We pass a small clearing with a picnic table and an old fireplace. The mile long trail is flat at first and quickly turns into rocky scrambles. I catch up to the kids as they pop in and out of the stone crevices and caves. The entrance is too tight for me to squeeze through so I just observe. Near by I hear my nephew trying to pawn his boulder off on some of the other kids.

As I approach the top I look up to see the restored fire tower. Four heads pop out from above and start enthusiastically waving. I open up my pack and place my rocks next to a pebble and boulder before joining them at the top of the tower.

Constructed in 1918, the 35-foot fire tower was set to be destroyed but for the valiant fundraising and lobbying efforts of the Azure Mountain Friends. Restored in 2002, the tower is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

 © Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Jay/Upper Jay, Wilmington, Keene/Keene Valley which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.

No comments: