West Mountain (Former Fire Tower)

West Mountain (Former Fire Tower)

West Mountain is a former fire tower peak, but even without the steel structure it offers good views from its partially open summit. The length of this hike limits its use by a large number of visitors, but on occasion you might witness a tour group in route to the top.

How to get there

From the intersection of Route 28 and County Route 2 in Raquette Lake follow County Route 2 into the Village of Raquette Lake. Continue through the village and take a left onto Brown's Tract Road. Follow here for 0.6 miles or so to the trailhead on the right. This trailhead is a bit obscure, but a small sign on a tree marks its location.

Trail Description

From the trailhead you will drop slightly into an open hardwood forest on a trail that is quite narrow and a bit overgrown in areas. There are a couple wet crossings before you reach the trail that comes in from Brown's Tract Ponds. At this intersection take a right and follow an old woods road that is in excellent condition and easy walking. You will pass through an attractive grassy area then quickly back into the woods. You will also pass by several other side trails, be sure to stay on the main trail. Another trail to Raquette Lake (the lake) will come in on the right.

Hiking

Once you leave the woods road the trail becomes slightly more difficult over rolling hills and eventually to some very steep terrain. The steep terrain will bring you to a moderate walk and then to the summit of West Mountain. The true summit is slightly in the woods where you will also find the survey disk. For the views you will need to remain in the grassy area just prior.

Elevation

2902'

Distances

4.8 miles to the summit

Family with Young Kids

  • 3 to 4 hours to summit, may be too long of a hike for most young children

Experienced Hiker

  • 2 hours to summit

Out of Shape Hiker

  • 2 to 3 hours to summit

Camping

Camp anywhere in the West Mountain Wild Forest, with these restrictions:

  • Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water.
  • Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Snowshoeing

West Mountain is a former fire tower peak, but even without the steel structure offers good views from its partially open summit. The length and the fact that the access road to the trailhead is closed limit its use by a large number of visitors.

From the trailhead you will drop slightly into an open hardwood forest on a trail that is quite narrow and a bit overgrown in areas. Soon you reach the trail that comes in from Brown's Tract Ponds. At this intersection take a right and follow an old woods road that is in excellent condition and flat snowshoeing. You will pass by several other side trails, most of which might not even be noticeable in winter, be sure to stay on the main trail. Another trail to Raquette Lake (the lake) will come in on the right.

Once you leave the woods road the trail becomes slightly more difficult over rolling hills and eventually to some very steep terrain. The steep terrain will bring you to a moderate walk along the ridge and then to the summit of West Mountain. The true summit is slightly in the woods but the views are in an open area just prior.
Elevation:

2902 feet
Ascent:

~1125 Feet
Distance Round Trip:

10.6 miles
Approximate Time Round Trip:

    Families with Kids: Not recommended
    Experienced Snowshoers: 6 to 8 hours
    Out of Shape Snowshoers: Not recommended

Trailhead Location:

From the intersection of Route 28 and County Route 2 in Raquette Lake follow County Route 2 into the Village of Raquette Lake. Continue through the village to Brown's Tract Road also known as Uncas Road. This is a season use road and is closed in winter as a snowmobile trail. You will have to snowshoe the remaining 0.5 miles to the trailhead.
Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Four: Mainly due to distance and lack of winter use.

This is a challenging winter climb due mainly to its lack of use. West gets very little snowshoeing attention and it would require the hiker to break many miles of trail.

This trail could be skied in parts, but the upper portion is not recommended for cross-country skiing.

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