Friday, September 12, 2014

Adirondack Hikes: Climbing Loon Lake Mountain (Fire Tower)

Loon Lake Mountain (Fire Tower)
Vertical Ascent  = 1,642'
Elevation = 3,335'
Distance = 2.8-miles

A friend of mine was describing her journey leading a group of boys up Loon Lake Mountain. She had gone in early summer and had experienced a wet trail and lots of mud. Though challenging, she described the trail with such joy that I had to bring my daughter along this rediscovered path. It may not be easy but Loon Lake Mountain is a great Adirondack family hike.  

The 2.8-mile trail is accessed from a parking area on CR 26 in the Town of Franklin, north of Loon Lake. With an elevation of 3,335’ and a vertical ascent of 1,642’, the trail is well tagged with yellow trail markers. The path zigzags from woods to logging roads before reaching the base of the mountain. Even in late summer the trail is swampy in places.

We discover that the most difficult part of the trail was about ½-mile from the summit. After crossing four plank bridges the trail started gaining in elevation quite quickly. From that last bridge to the summit there was a lot of washout, roots and rocks to maneuver before seeing the first glimpse of the fire tower.   

Adirondack Family Time™ Tri-Lakes and High Peaks
has over 33 easy hikes, 19 swimming holes,
XC ski trailsmaps, trivia and more! 
The first time I hiked to the fire tower I was with my daughter and the black flies were relentless on the summit. On my second hike to the summit I was joined by a diverse group of hikers from novice to experienced. Since the beginning of the trail is essentially a wooded road walk, some members in our group were surprised by how suddenly the trail gained in elevation. Everyone made it to the top in less than two hours with plenty of rest stops and snacks. The summit was breezier on this second trip so we were mostly bug-free. I am still glad I remembered the bug spray.

The open rocky summit is narrow, but with enough room to explore. We experienced beautiful views with Catamount Mountain, Whiteface Mountain and the High Peaks to the southeast and Lyon Mountain to the northeast.  The fire tower couldn’t be climbed at this time and there was plenty of broken glass at the summit, though we managed to pick some of it up.


From Route 3 north of the town of Vermontville turn onto CR 26 and drive for about 8 miles passing the hamlet of Loon Lake. The designated parking area will be on the left. To access the trailhead, head west and walk through the boulders marking the parking area perimter. Loon Lake Mountain may take some people longer to drive to the trailhead than it will to hike to the summit. From where I live it is a perfect option to bring family and visiting friends who want to have a beautiful summit view, a fire tower and a challenging hike. Enjoy!

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.

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