Short hike to a big view
NOTE: This trail is closed each year during big game hunting season from mid-October to early December.
By Phil Brown
If you find yourself in the Stillwater region, you might want to get a jump on the future by following a new trail to the fire tower on Stillwater Mountain.
Actually, it’s not a trail yet, but the route has been flagged with pink surveyor’s tape. In less than a half-mile, the route reaches an old trail (a jeep road). You follow this for a half-mile to the tower. It’s just under a mile from the car to the 2,244-foot summit, with an elevation gain of only 525 feet.
In short, this is one of the easiest fire-tower hikes in the Adirondacks.
The tower is not in great shape. Some of the steps have been removed, so you have to climb a ladder to reach the second landing. If you’re game for that, you can then go up to the cab for a long view that takes in Stillwater Reservoir and the peaks of the western Adirondacks.
Although the route begins on the public Forest Preserve, the summit is owned by Lyme Timber. The state, however, purchased a conservation easement in 2004 that will allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to construct a marked trail.
What’s more, a volunteer group has adopted the fire tower and plans to fix it up.
When all this will happen is uncertain, but you may visit the summit now. At the start, just follow the pink ribbons. The hardwood forest is fairly open, so this isn’t too difficult. When you get to the jeep road, turn right. You’ll cross a few logging roads as you ascend. At 0.7 miles, bear right at a V-intersection. The tower is just 0.25 miles away.
The hike will be much improved once the trail is finished and the tower rehabilitated, but why wait?
DIRECTIONS: From the hamlet of Eagle Bay, turn north from Route 28 onto Big Moose Road and drive 16.1 miles to an unmarked pull-off on the left. The last eight miles of the road are dirt. The pull-off is 1.5 miles past a put-in for Stillwater Reservoir and perhaps a few hundred yards past a ranger’s cabin on the right. It’s 2.0 miles before the T-intersection with the Stillwater Road.