Owls Head Mountain

Owls Head Mountain

Hiking

Owls Head Mountain is part of the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest which covers an impressive approximate 45,000 acres. This rather prominent peak in the Long Lake area is made up of four separate summits, two of which are referred to as the horns. These horns give the mountain the look of an owl’s head – a great horned owl’s head to be a bit more exact.

Atop its tallest summit sits a firetower that was erected in 1919 after the original wooden one was abandoned. The tower then became inactive in the 1970’s. Under the help of Friends of the Owl’s Head Fire Tower it has been restored and is open to the public to enjoy. Owl’s Head has outstanding and vast views from the cliffs, if climbing a tower is not your cup of tea.

Trailhead Location: From the intersection of Route 28 and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 30 toward Tupper Lake. Continue for about 2-miles to Endion Road on the left. Follow Endion Road for 2-miles or so to the trailhead for Owl’s Head on the right. A large parking area is located at this point.

Location: 4 miles SW of the Village of Long Lake. Take Rt 30 N from the village. Travel 3/10 mi. past the Long Lake bridge and make a left onto Endion Road. The Trail Head is on a sharp curve on the R side of the road, 1.6 miles from Rte 30.

The trail starts out climbing right from the start as it makes its way up through an open hardwood forest. It doesn’t take too long before the trail begins to moderate and follow a course through a draw of two adjoining ridges. An attractive wet area with a long boardwalk is located through this area. After a mile or so you will come to an intersection with a side trail to Lake Eaton on the right, avoid this and make a left up over a small rise.

From this point the trail continues to be moderate but over classic wet footing. The trail then begins to climb steadily over eroded settings as it makes up some elevation. This long section of climbing slowly mellows out in a col between two of the smaller peaks of Owl’s Head. Unfortunately the trail then descends off this high ridge into a shallow valley at the base of the true summit. In this valley is the site of the observer’s cabin, where only the concrete footers remain, and a pail. The final push to the summit is very steep with a bit of slab rock and tall steps introduced. As the trail starts to moderate again, the base of the fire tower comes into view and the screams of joy from all the kids should be ringing in your ears.

From the partially open summit, Long Lake can be seen below with Blue Mountain in the background. From the tower a 360 degree view is afforded with mind blowing views of the Central Adirondacks and High Peaks Region off in the distance. The Seward Mountains stand tall over everything in the area. The large dome of Kempshall Mountain (a former fire tower peak) sits along the Shore of Long Lake. In the distance the towers of Blue Mountain, Wakely Mountain, Snowy Mountain, Goodnow Mountain and Arab Mountain can be faintly determined.

6.2 miles RT, moderately challenging that starts climbing right away, Elevation: 2812’ Ascent: 1200’

Family with kids: 2 hours to summit

Experienced Hiker: 1.5 hour to summit

Out of Shape Hiker: 2 hours to summit

Snowshoeing

This rather prominent peak in the Long Lake area is made up of four separate summits, two of which are referred to as the horns. These horns give the mountain the look of an owl's head – a great horned owl's head to be a bit more exact. Atop its tallest summit sits a fire tower that was erected in 1919 after the original wooden one was abandoned. The tower then became inactive in the 1970's. Under the help of Friends of the Owl's Head Fire Tower it has been restored and is open to the public to enjoy. Owl's Head has outstanding and vast views from the cliffs, if climbing a tower is not your cup of tea.

The trail starts out climbing right from the start as it makes its way up through an open hardwood forest. After a mile or so you will come to an intersection with a side trail to Lake Eaton on the right, avoid this and make a sharp left.

The trail soon begins to climb steadily and gains some decent elevation. This long section of climbing slowly mellows out in a col between two of the smaller peaks of Owl's Head. Unfortunately the trail then descends off this high ridge into a shallow valley at the base of the true summit. In this valley is the site of the observer's cabin, where only remnants and the concrete footers remain.

The final push to the summit is very steep and can be a bit slippery in spots. If the trail is not broken out, this section can be very tiring. As the trail starts to moderate again, the base of the fire tower comes into view on the horizon.

From the partially open summit, Long Lake can be seen below with Blue Mountain in the background. From the tower a 360 degree view is afforded with mind blowing views of the Central Adirondacks and High Peaks Region off in the distance. The Seward Mountains stand tall over everything in the area. The large dome of Kempshall Mountain (a former fire tower peak) sits along the Shore of Long Lake. Climbing the tower can be a chore in the winter. Expect the staircase to be VERY SLIPPERY. The winds will be very apparent and the wind chill dangerously cold if you are not dressed properly.

How to get there

From the intersection of Route 28 and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 30 toward Tupper Lake. Continue for about 2-miles to Endion Road on the left. Follow Endion Road for 2-miles or so to the trailhead for Owl's Head on the right. A large parking area is located at this point.

Elevation

2812'

Ascent

1150'

Approximate Time Round Trip:

  • Families with Kids: 5 to 5.5 hours
  • Experienced Snowshoers: 3 to 4 hours
  • Out of Shape Snowshoers: 4.5 to 5 hours

Distance Round-Trip

Trailhead to the summit = 3.1 miles

Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Three; Owl's Head can be a very tough winter peak to climb. The winter season brings much fewer people to the region, making this mountain much less visited than many others. The upper reaches are quite steep.

Additional Important Information:

In winter the intersection with Lake Eaton can be easily followed rather than the sharp turn onto the summit trail. While generally always plowed, the parking area could be snowed in. Climbing the fire tower in winter can be dangerous, be very careful.

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