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Hiking in Adirondack Park
Jessup River Wild Forest
This is a moderate 3.2 mile round trip hike to the summit of Pillsbury Mountain with spectacular views from the fire tower. A good choice for those who want to avoid the crowds that are on other popular mountains. At 3597 feet, itís one of the highest peaks in the Southwest Adirondacks, and the short climb of 1.6 miles ends at a fire tower with a panoramic vista.
One reason Pillsbury doesnít see as many visitors as other fire-tower peaks is that it lies off the beaten track. To reach the trailhead, you have to drive for about six miles on dirt roads through land owned by Lyme Timber. The last of these roads is a very rough road and some cars park at Sled Harbor and walk the last 1.2 miles to the trailhead. Also, the fire tower has yet to be refurbished, so the enclosed cab remains closed for now. You can still soak up the views from the tower steps.
The hike begins with a short descent to the Miami River. The trail then climbs steadily and sometimes steeply up the mountain. There is a nearly 1500 feet elevation gain on this hike, so it is a moderate hike.
Donít expect many views on the way upóor on top of the mountain until you climb the fire tower. The sights from the steps include Indian Lake and Snowy Mountain (another fire-tower summit) to the northeast; the green hills of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness and Wilcox Lake Wild Forest to the east; the remote lakes of the West Canada Lakes Wilderness to the west; and the Cedar River Flow almost due north.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to refurbish the fire tower in the future and reopen the cab. It also has plans to fix up the rundown rangerís cabin on the summit. If your looking for some hiking away from the crowds, check out this mountain for some views.
The future North Country National Scenic Trail is planned to travel close to Pillsbury Mountain.
Directions: From the junction of NY 30 and NY 8 in Speculator, drive north on NY 30 to Perkins Clearing Road and make a sharp left turn (just after passing Mason Lake). Follow this dirt road for 3.3 miles to a junction marked by a signpost and turn right.
Go 1.8 miles to another junction (just after the Sled Harbor clearing on the left) and turn right again. Drive 1.2 miles to the end of the road. There is parking for 10-15 cars at the end of the road. Because this last road is a bit rough, some people park at Sled Harbor and walk from there. However the road can be driven by most cars with caution.
Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower (courtesy of AndyArthur.org)
Snowy Mountain from Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower (courtesy of AndyArthur.org)
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