The steepest sections were on the trail back to my car, this part of the trail was an easy gradual climb. When you first came into the clearing, you may have noticed another opening in the woods on your left. 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. At this point, most people turn around and head back out the way they came in. ClosureGraham and Doubletop mountains are closed to hikers from Nov 8 to Dec 26. Now that I know what I’m looking at, I can’t wait to get back up there with my long lens. The fire tower on the summit offers a panoramic 360-degree view, and the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight stay. Turn left and head forMillbrook Road. Cabin in the forest that surrounds Balsam Lake’s summit. Sunset Apx: 4:25pm.Daylight hours are short. Beyond it, to the right, you can see Slide, Doubletop, Lone, Table and Peekamoose. BUT, if you hike Graham Mountain, you WILL need permission. Near the top is a lean-to and a spring making this a great place to spend a night. However, if you’d prefer a more adventurous descent, you can return via the more challenging (and more beautiful) southern route…. Welcome to Balsam Lake Mountain! At that 0.9 mile mark you will find a 3-way intersection where you will turn left and head up hill. Location: The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead. The blazes are now red and you are on your way up towards the tower. The fire tower on the summit offers a panoramic 360-degree view, and the nearby lean-to provides an opportunity for an overnight stay. I turned to my left and headed up the trail. Best Trail Conditions LinksCurrent 3500 ConditionsCatskill Visitor Center ReportsDEC Backcountry Info. The fire tower offers a spectacular view in all directions. 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. Be sure you are following the blue blazes. A full loop up and over Balsam Lake’s summit. The nearest mountains are Graham and Double top. After just a few minutes in the pine woods, you’ll pass the observer’s cabin on your right and then enter the clearing with the picnic table and the fire tower. Pass by the gate and continue climbing. On a clear day, the tower offers a view of Manhattan in the distance. Even light snow cover turns Balsam Lake into a glittering winter wonderland. Ice AlertPreciptiation and deep freezes at all elevations means ice is everywhere. The blazes will continue to be red as you take what feels like a more gradual route to the bottom. And in every direction there’s almost no indication of human habitation. Access to hikers is closed completely during hunting seasons. Also, check out the  East Coast Fire Tower page. All Rights Reserved.Mountain-Hiking.com is a Design ICU project. It’s steep and rugged, and much more authentically Catskills. The views from the cabin extend for miles, all around. They’d be to the left of the above photo, out of frame. Jackie Jones Lookout is located in the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park (leaves DEC website), Rockland County. I also tried to find the scenic view, and visited a lean-to. Plan accordingly. The character of the trail going down the south side of the mountain is very different from the trail you came up. ClosureThe steep eastern side of Platte Clove Road is closed for the season. Jackie Jones Lookout is located in the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park (leaves DEC website), Rockland County. Practice social distancing. All Original Content © 2018-2020. Trees. As always we had a great time in the Catskills. -The spring was running strong at the end of a dry September FYI. Notice the sign for FIRE TOWER which points to the left. I don’t think this trail mile gets used a ton. See this access update. For permission call (845) 586-4099, Monday-Friday during business hours. Balsam Lake Mountain is found in the far reaches of the western Catskill Park. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower. The fire tower a top Balsam Lake Mountain has the highest 360° view in the western portion of the Catskill Forest Preserve. It’s just a mile back to the junction with the red trail which you took up to the summit. There are no tough sections on the way to the summit of Balsam Lake. Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest is home to one of the Catskills five restored fire towers, on aptly named Balsam Lake Mountain. English: Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower, Hardenburgh, NY, USA. Eventually, reaching the bottom, you’ll reconnect with the blue trail. You cannot get permission to hike Graham Mountain during hunting season. Stepping off the trail to bushwhack didn’t seem wise; it’s very steep right there. When you are finished taking in the view, continue on the red trail as it heads east from the summit. The trail from Millbrook Rd. Coming down from the north, you’ll pass it on your left. - See 5 traveler reviews, 5 candid photos, and great deals for Livingston Manor, NY, at Tripadvisor. One of six fire towers inside Catskill Park, the Balsam Lake Mountain tower stands tall at an elevation of 3,723 feet. The trailhead is actually down the street. Telephone lines, a small observer's cabin, and a road to the … Summit of Balsam Lake Mtn - Fire Tower - Ranger Station : 3.58: 3,343’ Trail Junction : 5.80: 2,584’ DEC Parking Lot. Very quickly, about two miles in, you’ll be at the junction/turn-off for Graham Mountain. The ruins of the repeater station on top of Graham were clearly visible from Balsam Lake. Also, check out the East Coast Fire Tower page. If there’s any snow or ice at all, you’ll absoutely need traction. Winter Mountain Hiking Gear: How to Survive & Thrive in the Catskills Cold, Catskill 3500 High Peaks List | Ultimate Peakbagging Guide. Balsam Lake Mountain Weather (Days 0-3): A dusting of new snow. From the restored fire tower on its summit, you can see the jumble of the Catskills highest peaks to the north, east, and southeast. The blazing is patchy so keep your eyes peeled, but it’s not far down the trail. Rain and freezing temps this week. Turn north/left. So we took the detour in Oneonta and headed to the trailhead. They erected a tower made from timbers found on the mountain top and paid a man to staff the tower during dry conditions. In comparison, Balsam Lake feels like walking on an airport travelator. It follows an old jeep trail on private land. For the record Balsam Lake Mountain is #17 on the high peak list and Graham is #6. 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 mountain derives its name from the private Balsam Lake that is situated to its south. I always recommend using GPS when bushwhacking. Hardenburgh, Ulster County. Keep an eye on your GPS and turn around when Avenza or Gaia shows that you’re just a little way past the junction. Head back toward the observer’s cabin and downhill to the junction. –Do not confuse Balsam Lake with Balsam Mountain or Balsam Cap. 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. After a short hike I reached the fire tower (mile 13.8- 10:46 am). Here’s how: winter hiking gear. The first forest fire tower in New York State was erected on Balsam Lake Mountain in 1887. General information on hikingincludes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. The first forest fire tower in New York State was erected on Balsam Lake Mountain in 1887. Balsam Lake Mountain is one of the Catskill Mountains, located in the Town of Hardenburgh, New York, United States.It is the westernmost of the range's 35 High Peaks.Its exact height has not been determined, but the highest contour line on topographic maps, 3,720 feet (1,130 m), is usually given as its elevation.. On a clear day, the tower offers a view of Manhattan in the distance. Which, for the Catskills, is quite unusual. The Catskills NY: The 3500′ peaks are above the dotted line. I love seeing one summit from another and then, later, reversing the view. 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. Modern fire towers are steel structures bolted into solid rock, but older versions were made of wood. - Mohonk Mt. 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 … View from Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower. (Days 3-6): Heavy rain (total 84mm), mostly on Thu night. Below this, the trail is very steep. There is some mild elevation gain in the beginning of the hike. Through the trees, I saw what I think was Woodpecker Ridge. Built of wood by the Balsam Lake Club, it survived until 1901 and was replaced with another wooden tower in 1905. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is on public land. The blazing is pretty good. From this angle, it looked incredible. Clouds. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is located in Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, Ulster County. Centennial patches are still available at Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor, for a limited time, go grab one! 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). A cold fall morning is the perfect time to take in the fire tower’s incredible 360° view. - Most of the Rt. I didn’t stick around long. More than 22 miles of trails traverse the area, including a portion of the 575-mile Finger Lakes Trail(leaves DEC website). SnowDeep snow on the mountains now. Balsam Lake Mountain is the 17th-highest peak in the Catskills, reaching 3,731 feet in elevation. The views from the cabin extend for miles, all around. Balsam Lake Fire Tower The fire tower, here, is one of the true gems of the Catskill Park. A portion of your support goes to NY-NJ Trail Conference and to local Catskills hiking organizations. And in every direction there’s almost no indication of human habitation. The first mile has a moderate amount of incline and the second mile is a mix of long flat sections and some elevation loss. Balsam Lake Fire Tower. 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. For permission call (845) 586-4099, Monday-Friday during business hours. The restored fire tower offers views of the Pepacton Reservoir. YMMV. It is located in the town of Hardenburgh, NY in the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest. Keep an eye on your preferred weather service. It winds up through the balsam forest, of course. Finally, the trail flattens out along the summit ridge. The southern ridge is steep, which is what males this hike "moderate" rather than "easy". 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. - Balsam Lake Mt. Hunting SeasonIt’s still hunting season so wear lots of orange on hikes, especially when bushwhacking. More research needed, I think. The scene is primordial. In 1887 the land was owned by the Balsam Lake Club, and fire was a serious concern to large land owners such as the club. Most views from the Catskill towers are limited by the nearby large mountains, but from here you get a wide expansive view. 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. With cool, clear skies, we can enjoy views from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, looking east to west, and from the Helderberg Escarpment to New Jersey, looking north to south. Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower is on public land. I think Eagle and Haynes may also be visible. 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. From the junction with the red trail that goes up to fire tower, it’s 2¼ very easy miles to your car. Our pace will be moderate and we’ll have frequent, short water/snack stops. Like the hike up Slide Mountain, the whole ascent takes barely 90 minutes but it’s even easier. From the tower, if you look down at the picnic table, you’ll see it clearly. Not far down that trail, there’s a scenic view marked on the NYNJTC maps that I wanted to check out. 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. Balsam Lake Mountain via Dry Brook Ridge Trail is a 4.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Livingston Manor, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. Not for the descent. HIKE TO BALSAM LAKE MOUNTAIN: The picture on the left is the DEC parking lot off of Mill Brook Road. Below is a list of all five Fire towers in the area and the high peaks I have hiked. The large mountain in the foreground is Graham. Mountains. The wooden tower was replaced with a steel one that was operated from 1919-1988. Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest: Visit the fire tower! If you do this hike, let me know how it goes for you in the comments below…. Fire Tower - Summits of the following high peaks; Peekamoose, Table, Lone, Friday, Cornell, Slide, Fir, Big Indian, Doubletop, and Graham Mts. State Forest, Hanging Rock Observatory Hike; WV Fire Lookout Tower, Hawk Falls and Boulder Field Hike; Hickory Run State Park Pa, Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary Hike; Pennsylvania, Hawksbill Mountain Hike: Shenandoah National Park Va, Higby Mountain Hike; Connecticut Mountains, High knob Fire Lookout Tower Hike; Washington National Forest, High Point NJ Hike; Cedar Swamp; Kittatinny Mountains, High Rock fire Tower MD; South Savage Mountain, Hunger Mountain and White Rocks; Vermont Hike, Hunter Fire Tower and Rusk Mountain Hike; Catskill 3500, Hurricane Fire Lookout Tower; Adirondack Mountains, Hyland Hill Fire Tower Hike; NH Mountains, Kaaterskill Falls; Ny Catskill Waterfall Hike, kaaterskill High Peak Hike; Catskill 3500, Killington Mountain Hike; Green Mountains Vermont, Lehigh Gap; Pa Appalachian Trail, Blue Mountain, Letchworth State Park; New York Water Falls, Little Stony Point State Park; Hudson Valley Hike, Magalloway Mountain and Fire Tower Hike, NH, Marcy, Skylight, Gray Hike; Adirondack High Peaks, Max Patch; Blue Ridge Mountains; Appalachian Trail, Mendota Fire Tower Hike; Clinch Mountain Va, Milan Hill Fire Lookout Tower; New Hampshire State Park, Mount Adams Hike; Adirondack Mountains Fire Tower, Mount Arab Fire Tower; Adirondack Mountain Hike, Mount Cardigan State Park and Fire Tower Hike; NH, Mount Davis, Pennsylvania High Point; Forbes State Forest Hike, Mount Holyoke Hike; Skinner State Park MA; Amherst, Mount Horrid and the Great Cliff Hike; Vermont, Mount Olga Fire Tower; Molly Stark State Park Hike, Mount Tammany Red Dot Trail Hike- The Delaware Water Gap, Mount Tom State Reservation; Massachusetts Hike near Amherst, Mount Tom Tower; Connecticut State Park Hike, Mount Tremper Fire Tower Hike- The Catskill Mountains, Mount Utsayantha Fire Tower Hike, New York, Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Natural Area; Fire Tower Hike WV, North Point, North South Lake; Catskill Mountain Hike, Old Rag Mountain Hike; Shenandoah National Park Va, Overlook Mountain and Fire Tower Hike; Catskill Mountains, Owl’s Head Fire Tower; Adirondack Mountain Hike, Panther Top Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, NC, Pennsylvania Game Lands 57, Wyoming County Hike, Pennsylvania State Game Lands #207 Hike; The Swamps, Pennsylvania State Game Lands 307 Hike; Archbald, Pennsylvania State Gamelands 13; Sullivan Falls Loop, Peter’s Mountain; Appalachian Trail hike; Cental Pa, Pillsbury Fire Tower; Adirondack Mountain Hike, Pitcher Mountain Fire Tower Hike; NH Mountains, Poco-Moonshine Fire Lookout Tower; Adirondack Mountains, Pocono Environmental Education Center Hike; Peec, Prospect Mountain Fire Lookout tower Hike; Weeks State Park NH, Quechee Gorge Vermont; Green Mountains Hike, Rattlesnake Fire Lookout Tower; Black Moshannon State Park Pa, Raymonskill Falls and Cliff Trail; Delaware Water Gap Hike, Red Hill Fire Tower Hike, NH Lakes Region, Red Hill Fire Tower-Catskill Mountains Hike, Redfield Mountain Hike; Adirondack High Peaks, Rondax Fire Tower; Bald Mountain Adirondacks Hike, Saint Regis Fire Tower; Adirondack Mountains, Seneca Rocks Hike WV; Monongahela National Forest, Slide, Cornell, Wittenberg Mountain; Burroughs Range Catskill 3500 Hike, Snowy Mountain Fire Lookout Tower; Adirondack Mountains, Spruce Knob West Virginia’s Tallest Mountain; Monongahela National Forest Hike, Spruce Mountain Fire Tower; Adirondack Mountains, Spruce Mountain Fire Tower; Green Mountains Vermont, Stillwater Fire Tower; Adirondack Mountains NY, Stony Man Mountain Hike; The Shenandoah National Park VA, Storm King Mountain Hike; The Hudson Valley, Stowe Pinnacle; Vermont Green Mountains Hike, Strickler Knob Hike; Massanutten Mountain Va, Table and Peekamoose Mountain, Catskill 3500 Hike, Taughannock Falls Hike: Ithaca Finger Lakes, Texas Falls Hike; Vermont Green Mountains, The blackhead Range: Catskill Mountains 3500, The Franconia Ridge Loop; Mt Haystacks, Mt Lincoln, Mt Lafayette Hike, The Lower Great Range; The Adirondack Mountains from Roostercomb to Gothic, The Pinnacle-Pulpit Rock Hike- Hamburg Pa, Appalachian Trail, The Turkey Path Hike; The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Thorny Mountain Fire Lookout Tower and Rental;WV, Vanderwhacker Fire Lookout Tower Hike; Adirondack Mountains, Wakely Mountain Fire Tower: Adirondack Mountain Hike, Watkins Glen Hike: The Finger Lakes Waterfalls, Wesser Bald Fire Lookout Tower; NC Blue Ridge Mountain Hike, Whiteface and Esther Mountain Hike; Adirondack High Peaks, Moosic Mountain; Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve. The brook downhill to your right is Black Brook. 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. 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 is the oldest documented forest fire observatory within New York State. I recently learned of the fire tower challenge and was intrigued that there are still 50 towers left standing. Pretty great for most of this hike. The spring not far below always seems to be flowing pretty well. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from April until October. From the trailhead (where I was able to send texts) all the way to the fire tower, the signal dropped only a few times. Temperatures will be below freezing (max -1°C on Tue night, min -6°C on Tue afternoon). The smell of the balsam firs is very pleasing. After visiting the fire tower we’ll descend 1.75 miles to the Balsam Lake parking area. You cannot get permission to hike Graham Mountain during hunting season. 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. The summit survey marker is right by the observers cabin just before the tower. I do trail maintenance on this section of trail. You lose some elevation, and there’s an intense switchback which you can see on my Gaia track. BUT, if you hike Graham Mountain, you WILL need permission. The wind up there is often bananas. I took my shots and scurried down the tower. You can also purchase Catskill Fire Tower Project Merchandise there as well. Continuing along the trail going down the hill you will find a spring. There are several steep/flat switches. Winter GearYou can survive and thrive on the hills this winter. 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. House and Skytop Tower All of them are do-able by people of varying abilities, young and old. You may hike to the fire tower and back to the DEC parking lot WITHOUT permission. Pack microspikes until June. At its summit there is a 47-foot fire tower that offers 360-degree views of the surrounding Catskill Mountains. Hardenburgh, Ulster County. You can hear it on this video. I was glad I had my Hillsounds on. 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. When you look back, you’ll see the herd path heading off to the right…. The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are an ethical framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. It’s nice and quiet here, too. It can be difficult to orient yourself up there but the observer’s cabin is a big help. Hike early and carry a headlamp. These towers can are a part of the larger Adirondack fire tower challenge; below are the others we have hiked in that challenge. Maybe you’ll even try Indian Head — and maybe it’ll change your life the way it changed mine. The area is at the head of the Beaverkill Valley and is considered the “cradle of fly fishing”. 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. What surprised me is that, to the left of Graham, Panther was also visible. All about Balsam Lake Mountain. ¶ Use snowshoes. Mainly gales. This is the summit. New York is currently open for dining, but there are restrictions. Wear a mask. 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