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Buck Mountain - Hamilton County

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  • Buck Mountain - Hamilton County

    Does anyone know the status of the fire tower restoration and trailwork on Buck Mountain (the one at 44.05218, -74.53381)? According to this Times Union article from last November, it may be opened sometime this year and added to the Hamilton County Fire Tower Challenge. I couldn't find any recent info online and thought someone here might know.

  • #2
    This fire tower is now open for anyone interested in checking it out:
    The Town of Long Lake in collaboration with Hamilton County, NY is excited to announce the opening of the Buck Mountain Fire Tower located in Long Lake, NY.  This 1.2 mile (one-way) hike with 500 feet in elevation gain is located on 484 South Sabattis Circle Road off NYS Route 30, eight miles


    • #3
      I took my mother to climb Buck Mountain on Thursday the 19th, when we had some good weather. We got there about 9. The parking lot is amazing, just like the Adirondack Explorer article said. The tower is very nicely restored and the views are great. I could see the campsite where I stayed on Little Tupper Lake and the beach around the point from it. The trail is a muddy mess for about half its length, spread over several areas. This would not have surprised me except for all the boosterism in the press release about how it was modern and superior and well designed.

      The wooden and the stone stairs at the top are very well done, but the trail itself does not have a single water bar anywhere along it, and much of it either was made or perhaps has already eroded into the shape of a trench pointing downhill. We met one person coming down who slipped in the mud and fell as he was approaching us, perhaps because we had distracted him by being there. It was hard not to slip and fall on our way down, but my mother had her trekking poles and used them, and I was lucky. It's been wet lately, so I hope that in a drier time it would be better.

      In the afternoon I climbed Mount Arab with a couple of things to drop off in the cabin, and while there was mud on that trail too it was not so slippery because it was mostly not on the sloped areas. Even on the flat part of the Buck trail there were a lot of areas where it looked like the trail makers had dug through hummocks to make the trail level, but this did result in a sort of canal shape. There were two very impressive bridges on the flat part, built up an extra foot or so, like you might see over a stream. The odd thing was that they were over swampy areas with no possibility of current due to flatness, and if the water was high enough to require the extra foot there would be no way to get to the bridges without extensive wading.

      Overall the hike was good, and I am grateful that the timber company is allowing public use. I just have to wonder about the designer of this trail. Water bars have been around long enough to be pretty well proven, and turnpiking and benching are the modern methods I have heard about that seem to work.
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