Easy Short Old Forge Hikes: Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain (Eagle Bay NY)

Bald Mountain Fire Tower was restored
and reopened in 2005
Bald Mountain (Rondaxe) 
Location  = Between Eagle Bay and Old Forge (NY)
Distance  = 1.0 mile
Elevation  = 2,350'
Vertical Ascent = 390'

By Diane Chase

My son plans on giving me the Adirondack Kids ® version of a climb up Bald Mountain. There are nine books to date in the middle reader series by father/son authors Gary and Justin VanRiper. I am getting the synopsis and walking tour all in one climb to the summit.

Looking down from the top of the
Bald Mountain fire tower!
My daughter isn’t interested in the book tour; she is on a quest of her own. Sometimes I believe she is channeling my grandmother with her apron over a charmingly old-fashioned dress that is only suitable for the very old or very young. Her floppy hat and purse complete her walking outfit. The beaded handbag causes a bit of stir but she has managed to fit in a granola bar and bottle of water. She flings it over her shoulder and strides off. I am a mother with a backup plan and have on the ready a section of my backpack designated for evening wear.

The view from Bald Mountain near Old Forge NY
The path is a wide easy trail and I reacquainted myself with the book’s story line and characters. Soon my son’s own adventure takes precedent over the book. That is how it should be. The book is an enjoyable piece of fiction and he is hiking the reality. He has no fear and scrambles over the razorback rocks. This is a one-mile hike to the fire tower.

The current Bald Mountain Fire Tower was built in 1917 and was used by fire observers to spot smoke and report to forest rangers. Those same people documented weather conditions and reported on flights over the Adirondacks during WWII. The tower was discontinued in 1990, restored by the Friends of Bald Mountain and reopened in 2005.

My family at the summit. We miss Ella, our golden retriever!
This peak is a popular destination so we explore the rocky summit before taking our turn climbing to the top of the fire tower. It is worth the wait. The views of the Fulton Chain of Lakes are beautiful. I am leery of the descent down the rickety metal stairwell. My son is snapped back to the book’s plot and one character’s fear of heights. Ah, just a taste of life imitating fiction.

Bald Mountain Trail is 4.5 miles north of Old Forge. Turn left on Rondaxe Road. The trailhead is clearly marked.


maureen said…
Your daughter sounds like a real free spirit. Why take a boring backpack when a beaded purse will do the same job...with so much more panache and style.
Maureen Hume. www.thepizzagang.com
Diane said…
She is all that, Maureen. We discovered early on as long as the kids can carry their own, we didn't worry about the packaging. When she was three she would only go skiing if she could wear her tutu over her snowsuit. It fit just fine! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments!

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