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Hiking in Adirondack Park
Debar Mountain Wild Forest
Adirondack Fire Towers
A conservation easement has re-opened the trail to the old fire tower on Loon Lake Mountain which is located in the 122,100 acre Debar Mountain Wild Forest in the northeastern Adirondacks along the old NY 99, now known as County Route 26. The three mile trail follows woods roads and the old steep trail to the fire tower. This hike has an overall elevation gain of 1651 feet, with nearly 1200 feet of elevation gain coming during the final steep mile of the trail.
The 35 foot fire tower is one of the many Fire Towers in New York State that were built to combat forest fires across the state, especially in the Adirondacks. The fire tower has had its lower steps removed and is in need of renovation. It is not recommended to try climbing the old tower. The information below is based on the hike we did to this fire tower in late September 2013. If there is a discrepancy, please contact us so we can fix it.
A new parking area was created in August 2013 along old NY 99 aka County Route 26, about 0.6 miles north of the newly built Grass Pond accessible boardwalk and parking area. The trail is marked with round yellow DEC Trail plastic markers. We recommend you use your hiking sticks, especially for the slippery and steep stretch near the summit. The trail begins in the left corner of the parking area (elevation 1680 feet) and quickly reaches a kiosk and trail register.
Soon after the kiosk you will reach a woods road. Turn right here and follow the woods road. Be sure to remember this turn on your trip back as the marking isn't the best. There are NO trail markers as you walk the woods road. As you cross a meadow and along a rocky stretch of the road, look to your left and up the mountain. You might notice the fire tower in the distance. This is the Loon Lake Mountain Fire Tower, your destination on this hike.
At 0.25 miles you'll see a DEC trail arrow sign telling you to turn left off the woods road and back onto a hiking trail. You will see the yellow discs again. You might notice crossing old logging roads as you walk this stretch of trail. At 0.55 miles you reach another woods road (elevation 1725 feet) and turn right to follow the woods road. Again you will see no yellow markers as you begin to climb, following the woods road. You'll see a view behind you as you climb.
At 1.35 miles turn left off the woods road to follow an old logging road (elevation 1990 feet). There is a DEC trail arrow sign here. As you climb the old logging road you'll start to notice the yellow markers again. The rest of the trail has yellow markers all the way to the fire tower. At 1.45 miles you'll see the fire tower on the mountain on your right. At 1.55 miles there is a small "pull off" that gives you one last view of the fire tower until you reach the top as well as a view of Debar Mountain.
At 1.75 miles the trail veers right (elevation 2172 feet) and levels off briefly. At 1.9 miles reach the first of a number of old bridges. You'll see small cascades on your left from this bridge. The trail becomes a narrow hiking trail after crossing the first bridge. The trail now becomes steeper and steeper, with the final push following a moss covered rocky small stream that is not only steep, but also very slippery.
At 2.85 miles look behind for a bit of a view (elevation 3279 feet). You are nearly at the summit. At 2.95 miles reach the fire tower and the 3328 foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. There are numerous views from the open areas on the summit. You should be able to make out Whiteface Mountain in the distance. Look below for directions, a few pictures, a trail map and a video featuring this six mile round trip hike.
Directions: From Saranac Lake take NY 3 EAST to County Route 26. Turn left on County Route 26 and drive nearly eight miles to the parking area, which is on your left marked with a DEC sign. Note that the road will become rough (although paved) after passing an old railroad bridge soon after the small hamlet of Loon Lake. The GPS coordinates for the Loon Lake Mountain parking area is N44 35.135 W74 07.476 for those who have a GPS devise. We are unsure of snow plowing on this stretch of County Route 26.
Loon Lake Mountain Hiking Guide
Created by CNY Hiking, this guide comes to you as a pdf file that you can either print out or send it to your smart phone or Kindle. You'll have the map & info on this hike at your finger tips. Use the Buy Now button below and we'll send you the pdf file via email usually within 24 hours of payment.
DEC map that is at the kiosk
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