A 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today.
“DEC is committed to providing greater access to the many natural and man-made features found on the forest preserve and conservation easement lands we manage,” said Director Stegemann.
The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (CEL), while the upper portion is on forest preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.
The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 2,264-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits.
The Loon Lake Fire Tower is a 35-foot Aermotor tower that was originally erected in 1917. It was rebuilt in 1928 after being blown over by hurricane force winds in the winter of 1927-28. The fire tower is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places. Presently the fire tower is not open to the public and the bottom set of stair risers has been removed to discourage the public from climbing the tower or accessing the cab.
The trail, trailhead and parking were constructed this past summer by DEC Region 5 Operations crews and members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program. The facilities could not have been provided without the cooperation of the owner of the conservation easement lands, Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Town of Franklin Highway Department will plow the parking area in the winter to allow access to the trail and surrounding forest preserve and conservation easement lands by winter recreation enthusiasts for activities like hiking, hunting, trapping, skiing and snowshoeing.
The Loon Lake Mountain trailhead/parking area is located on County Route 26, approximately 7.8 miles north of its intersection with State Route 3 which is approximately 16 miles east of Saranac Lake.
Campers using either of the two campsites on the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area on the east side of County Route 26 in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands are encouraged to use the new Loon Lake Mountain trailhead/parking area.
Food and gas can be found in the nearby communities of Vermontville, Bloomingdale, Gabriels and Redford. The closest available lodging opportunities are available in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and a wide variety of developed and primitive camping opportunities are available in-season within a 20-mile radius of the trailhead.
A map of the trail and surrounding area can be viewed and downloaded from the DEC website at Loon Lake Mountain Trail Map.