Hike to Balsam Lake Fire Tower

New York Balsam Lake Fire Tower Trail

Added by Rebecca Nichols

Pleasant year-round walk with spectacular views.

The trail starts across the street on an old Jeep trail. The registration box will be reached at 0.33 miles. You will continue to follow the Jeep trail and at about 2.10 miles you will reach a trail junction. Here you will turn right and about 200 feet ahead will be a gate. Continue past the gate. Eventually you will come to the Rangers Cabin with a view of the fire tower behind it.

Views in all direction include Double Top, Graham and Slide. All of those summits are included in the Catskill 3500 Club, which is climbing all the Catskills 35 peaks above 3500 feet.

Balsam Lake Fire Tower is also included in the Catskill Towers required for the Fire Tower Challenge. The other towers are Red Hill, Hunter, Tremper and Overlook.

Pack List

  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Water/Snacks
  • Camera
  • Snowshoes
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Hiking, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



5.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1147 Feet



Easy Parking

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How to Get There

6 months ago

Kim W.

Here are the exact coordinates N42.0706 W74.5737 and there is an actual parking area here.

6 months ago

6 months ago

Maybe No More?

I tried to get to the trailhead, but followed the directions and got to a scary-looking "private property" sign on the jeep trail. Has this been closed?

6 months ago

7 months ago

Low Traffic Hike- Awesome Views!

Recently did this hike in early March. Although Upstate New York isn't the ideal destination during this time of year between snow melting and a mix between warm and cold weather, I did this hike on a Tuesday with some friends, and had the whole trail to ourselves. Really beautiful up top with the peak covered evergreens and several peaks seen especially to the South! Beware that the top inclosed lookout is locked unless a ranger is there working to operate (usually on weekends or peak season), but you can still climb the tower up to that point.

7 months ago

Added by Rebecca Nichols

I hike to push my limits both mentally and physically, take in the beauty of the great outdoors, and just to get away from it all. Every chance I get you will find me in the mountains, on a kayak or ending my day by the campfire!

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