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Dave Bourque 11-13-2014 07:39 PM

Swede Mountain
Does anyone have any information about Swede Mountain? I used to climb this all the time when the trail was open from Rt 8. The cabin used to be in pretty good shape. I know the area has been heavily logged but I've been wondering if there are any plans for restoring access and/or restoring the tower?

DSettahr 11-13-2014 08:11 PM

There was some discussion about it on here a few months ago. I believe the summit and the old trail is owned by the county, and public access is not permitted. There are copious "No Trespassing" signs at the old trailhead.

I've read in a few sources that the county has long term plans to re-open it to the public, but there's nothing recently to indicate that any movement has been made towards this goal.

Patch 01-25-2017 10:39 PM

Any info on any other abandoned towers that might still exist? Any info ive found is dated by atleast 15 years. Swede mtn, mt morris, jackie jones look out, wondering if im missing any possible fire tower hikes

DSettahr 01-25-2017 10:50 PM

I think the one on Meenahga Mountain, north of Rainbow Lake, still stands but it's also on private property and not open to the public. Google earth shows what appears to be a few private camps on the summit.

There's a number outside the Adirondacks/Catskills that still stand. Some are actually in pretty good shape. Beebe Hill, Sugar Hill, Dickinson Hill to name a few.

There's a bunch in PA but a lot of them are in pretty rough shape. There doesn't really seem to have been much of a movement towards restoring them like we've seen in NY.

VT has a bunch as well, and also has its own Fire Tower Challenge.

DSettahr 01-25-2017 11:00 PM

Also, I think there's a fire tower in Allegany State Park, just off the Finger Lakes Trail.

WBB 01-26-2017 08:03 AM

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There are two in Allegany State Park. One in the Red House Area which is the Summit FT which is in good shape.

The other is in the Quaker Lake area, Mt Tuscarora(pictured below) it is located off of the FLT but the most direct accessed is from APS 3 right by Quaker Lake. It s just a shell of it's former self which you are unable to climb.

Patch 01-26-2017 12:32 PM

Thanks for the info guys! Also i read somewhere about a possible bushwack on swede to avoid posted lands? Sounds like wishful thinking to me but jackie jones lookout was the same way and behold i went there and its still there! Climbable if you can get past the first stairs which have been torn down. Not sure why though the rest of the tower was very sturdy. My guess is they dont have anyone checking up on it so they didnt want the headache.

DSettahr 01-26-2017 01:48 PM


Originally Posted by Patch (Post 255607)
Thanks for the info guys! Also i read somewhere about a possible bushwack on swede to avoid posted lands?

That might have been my post where I speculated the same thing. The summit is just barely on private property, though. Legally, you could bushwhack from the south to within a few hundred feet of the summit, but that's as close as you could get.

I would encourage you not to try to push the boundaries with the closed/inaccessible fire towers. When people start trespassing to get to them and/or climbing the ones that have had the stairs removed (and especially when they advocate doing so on a public message board), they risk ruining the chances of having those towers re-opened to legal public access again in the future.

There's also a fire tower on Mt. Beacon in the Hudson Highlands, and that one I believe is open to the public (the tower itself was recently restored). The Breakneck Ridge ascent up Mt. Beacon from the Hudson River is hands down one of the most spectacular hikes in NY State.

Patch 01-26-2017 05:37 PM

Thanks for the info! Yea I suppose it isnt a good idea, im just consumed with these fire towers. I have a personal photography project im working on involving polaroid photos of the towers and its hard to think about anything else. Panoramic photos from inside the towers look so amazing!

Patch 01-26-2017 05:44 PM

How would one go about organizing a group to get involved with restoration of a firetower when one doesnt live in the general area of the fire tower?

peskypup 02-05-2019 10:11 PM

Warren County seeks to reopen long-closed fire tower in Hague

One of the more popular hiking “challenges” in the Adirondacks is what’s called the “fire tower challenge,” where hikers summit a certain number of the 30 mountains that have fire towers around the Adirondack and Catskill ranges and are open to the public.

The tower at Swede Mountain is not part of the list, but that is expected to change in the coming years as Warren County leaders look to reopen the tower and negotiate access to the property with an adjacent landowner.

County representatives met last month with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, state Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, and a representative of the New York chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association to discuss what would need to be done to reopen the tower to the public.

DSettahr 02-06-2019 07:28 AM

I had thought that the county owned the entirety of the old trail, but that article indicates that this is not the case. I took a quick look at the tax information for Warren County, and the county indeed only owns the summit. The old trail (and most of the land on the north side of the mountain) is owned by Lyme Timber. So permission would have to be negotiated with them to re-open the old trail as it was.

Terasec 02-06-2019 03:19 PM

Dave Bourque 04-12-2019 04:39 PM

Lyme Timber leases the land to a Hunting Club so any negotiations will have to involve them also. Expect the Hunting Club to request the trail be closed during hunting season. Hopefully everyone can come to a positive solution as the views from Swede Mountain are excellent and this was a very kid friendly hike. It's been quite a while but I recall there are 3 USGS benchmarks on the summit.

HAYDK 09-11-2019 06:03 PM

Some more info:

DSettahr 09-11-2019 07:21 PM

Interesting. Sounds like progress has been made.

Although if Lyme Timber wants to play hardball, there is potential for a new trail entirely on state and county land. The county parcel on the summit adjoins state land (part of the Lake George Wild Forest) as well as Lyme Timber lands. And a new trail could be constructed from a trailhead further west on Route 8. It'd be a longer route, with more elevation gain (but ultimately this might not necessarily be a bad thing, as it could be routed more sustainably than the old route).

In the image below, the orange hatched parcel is the county parcel on the summit, the green hatched parcels are the state owned land, and the red hatched parcels are the parcels owned by Lyme Timber.

Dave Bourque 10-07-2019 10:24 AM

Per Matt Simpson, the Horicon Town Supervisor, the funding has been approved at the Warren County level removing the last roadblock. Details are still being worked out but expect the Forest Fire Lookout Association to be looking for volunteers to help restore the tower. Although it's been over 30 years since I've climbed Swede, my memories are still vivid. The views are excellent. The short distance and the gentle trail will rival Belfry Mountain for easy access to a fire tower. But more importantly, without the gravel road and cell towers. A round trip will take under an hour but I'm sure people will want to linger and enjoy the views.

DSettahr 10-07-2019 11:09 AM

Excellent news! :)

Lonehiker 10-16-2019 04:54 AM

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Swede Fire Tower seen from a bushwhack, from the southwest, at a beaver pond.

Lonehiker 10-16-2019 07:14 AM

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A small falls southwest of Swede Mountain

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