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Patch 01-27-2017 01:57 PM

Winter fire tower hikes.
Was wondering if anyone knew which firetower are best to avoid in winter. Ive done owls head, hadley, rondaxe and kane mountain in the past 2 months without any trouble. But i also tried to go to pillsbury which was pretty much blocked off due to logging trucks using the road. I live about an hour and a half outside of the adirondacks and would be bummed to drive all the way out there only to find i cant get to the trailhead for a tower. I know spruce and stillwater both say they are closed from oct-dec every year but after that would the road to the trailhead be plowed out enough to get to the trailheads? Any information is super helpful! Thanks in advance.

skillzman1 01-27-2017 07:05 PM

Spruce is easily accessible and a pretty easy hike. I did it 2 weeks ago and found it quite nice. 1.5 miles from trail head to tower about 1000' elevation. The trail head is at the end of the main road and there should be no issues with parking. The trail was pretty icy in spots, but not very steep.

Justin 01-27-2017 07:23 PM

Pillsbury Mountain might be a very long day during winter, unless you have a snowmobile. Perhaps the same could be said for Woodhull Mountain.

real3175 01-27-2017 07:36 PM

Second the recommendation for Spruce - all paved roads until the last 100 meters or so. Short hike and not too far from the Capital District.

Patch 01-27-2017 09:34 PM

i did spruce last summer! it was great! i am trying to do all the towers in winter so maybe i will go do spruce on sunday. im going to do cathedral rock tomorrow. ive done about 9 of the adk towers so far. but mostly in summer. ive only done 4 winter hikes so far. hadley, owls head, rondaxe and kane mtn. plus an attemp at pillsbury which yes would be do able with a snowmobile but alas i do not own one.

MoodyBlues 01-28-2017 09:31 AM

Wakely Mtn can be a long hike in winter, when the cedar river rd is closed

Patch 01-28-2017 10:36 AM

Yea i wanted to do wakely this weekend but i saw that about the road not being maintained in winter. Anyone know how snowy it is in the high peaks area right now? I was thinking about doing maybe hurricane st regis or spruce tomorrow cant really decide but also i have to look into the weather conditions in all those areas. My car isnt the greatest in heavy snow. Although the only problem ive had so far was getting stuck in the trailhead parking lot at shaker mountain wild forest where the kane tower trail starts. But my one buddy hopped out and gave me a push and we got out easy. But i can imagine alot worse.

MoodyBlues 01-28-2017 01:32 PM

i'd say hurricane is your best bet, as the trail head is on a well-maintained paved highway...

Patch 01-29-2017 09:34 PM

I ended up doing cathedral rock on saturday and spruce today. Both were great. Very sunny blue skies today made for great pictures with my polaroid. Possibly adams and belfry or hurricane and belfry next weekend.

ADKREDBEARD 01-30-2017 07:34 AM

Woodhull would be a long day in the winter. St. Regis is a great snowshoe and good views. Any high peak if you want a good adventure this time of year.

Patch 01-30-2017 09:59 AM

I think im gonna do woodhull on a bike in the spring. I wouldnt want to walk the entire trail thats a long one. Not looking forward to doing gore either so im gonna save that one for last

skillzman1 01-30-2017 06:16 PM

My wife and I did Spruce yesterday also. Man was it windy at the top of that tower!! Great views though. We were up there from 2-4 pm.Maybe we passed you?

Patch 02-01-2017 03:04 PM

I was back on the road home around noon. But spruce was a blast. I wish those windows on the tower werent so icy! They hid the best view!

skillzman1 02-01-2017 06:00 PM

I could make out Saratoga lake and Snake hill in one direction. And my wife pointed out the firetower on Hadley through the binoculars. Once we identified Hadley I could then point out Roundtop, Gill( named after my family), Baldhead and finally Crane! Crane was glistening in the sun with the very top hidden in the clouds. That's quite a distance for a 360* view.

DSettahr 02-02-2017 09:52 AM

As others have noted, Pillsbury and Wakely have greatly extended hiking distances in the winter due to road closures. I think Vanderwhacker may also be difficult to access. Note also that the road from Paul Smiths to Azure (from the south) is also a seasonal road and is not driveable in the winter, so you must access this mountain from the north.

I like the long hike into Woodhull. It's flat and pleasant, and gets relatively little use (many people working on the Fire Tower Challenge skip Woodhull, since you can not hike any 5 of the Adirondack towers and still complete the challenge). I did it in early spring, when things were just starting to green out, and had the entire area to myself (I also spent a night camped on Woodhull Lake as part of that same trip). There's also a designated tent site not far from the base of the mountain if you wanted to do it as an overnight. From the clearing where the old logging railroad grade ends, turn south along the creek and you'll find it- it's no more than a few hundred feet from the clearing.

Patch 02-03-2017 12:00 AM

That actually sounds pretty awesome. Didnt realize there was a camping area. I dont plan on skipping any of the towers i want to do them all. Maybe ill do woodhull soon though. Its actually the closest tower to where i live anyways so it would make sense. Also the fact the less people hike it makes it more appealing.

IndLk_Brett 02-03-2017 02:47 AM


Originally Posted by skillzman1 (Post 255781)
Once we identified Hadley I could then point out Roundtop, Gill( named after my family), Baldhead and finally Crane!


Any interesting story as to the reason why it came to be that that particular mountain was given your family's moniker?

skillzman1 02-03-2017 01:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Not 100% sure but my family has a long history in Stony Creek, the family farm was across Len's lake rd from Gill mountain. Perhaps it was originally part of the farm homestead. Not too many people around to ask anymore. Family property ownership was sold off before my time. My grandmother may know, I'll have to ask.
I've said for a few years I need to get permission to climb it, even though there are no real views from the forested top. It may happen this spring before the leaves sprout.
picture attached is of West,Hadley,Roundtop,Gill from left to right.

Patch 03-08-2017 02:07 PM

Anybody know about mount adams? Tried to go there last week but ended up at a blocked off road with a small bridge near lower works. I saw thr sign for allen mountain which ive read is where mt adams trailhead is but my gps was telling me the trailhead was 30 miles up the road that was blocked off. Is there a way around that?

WBB 03-08-2017 03:03 PM

Allen and Adams share the same TH. It is on the right hand side before you reach the Upper Works TH.

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