For the better part of the last century, Blue Mountain has been one of the most frequently climbed Adirondack mountains. And for good reason! The striking view, with Blue Mountain Lake below, is very popular among locals and visitors alike. As many as 15,000 people a year might visit this mountain.
The tower on Blue Mountain was built in 1917 and was the first to be restored on the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
Blue Mountain is part of the Hamilton County Fire Tower Challenge.
How to get there
From the intersection of Route 30 and 28 in Blue Mountain Lake, follow Route 30 toward Long Lake for around 1.5 miles to the trailhead parking on the right. The trailhead is at the top of the long hill past the Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. There is ample parking.
By the numbers
- Distance: 2.0 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,550 feet
- Mountain elevation: 3,750 feet
From the trailhead you will come to an old access road which allows for easy hiking, but the trail quickly starts to gain elevation and crosses a very attractive stream along the way. The climbing really kicks in at about 1.25 miles and continues to be quite steep as it passes over open rock slabs. This open rock in some areas can be very slippery, particularly on the descent. The steep terrain will leave way for a gentle hike along the ridge to the fire tower on the summit. There are smaller views from the land and if you poke around there are others. The best views are from the stairs on the tower itself, the cab of the fire tower is closed and locked. The old observers cabin is just over the rise.
Blue Mountain in winter
This is a challenging winter climb but highly recommended for those wanting that challenge. Popular in every season, it is likely the trail will be broken out. The upper portion of the trail can be very icy making for some slightly hazardous hiking, but with care can be accomplished. This is a very cold and windy summit, especially so from the stairs on the fire tower.
This trail is not recommended for cross-country skiing.
Please take note: climbing the fire tower in winter can be dangerous due to heavy winds, wind chill, and icy conditions; be very careful.
Blue Mountain has the second largest population of Bicknell’s Thrushes in the Adirondacks after Whiteface Mountain. The prevailing winds from the west create disturbances that thrushes thrive in.The lower section of the trail passes through mixed woodland habitat with wet thickets. Continuing the ascent, you’ll encounter spruce/fir boreal habitat. Birding paradise!
A wide variety of birds will be found along the trail including: several woodpecker species, Eastern Wood-pewees, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireos, Boreal Chickadees, Winter Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bicknell’s Thrushes, Swainson’s Thrushes, Hermit Thrushes, many warbler species, including Blackpoll Warblers near the summit, and White-throated Sparrows. Many of the high elevation birds can be quite secretive and may be heard, but not observed.