Hike to the Sterling Ridge Fire Tower

New York Sterling Forest State Park

Added by Michael Martineau

Climb up to the Sterling Ridge fire tower for great views and look out over Greenwood Lake.

Start out by turning right when you walk out of the visitor center onto Sterling Lake Loop (Blue Blazes). The visitor center is worth going in as they have a full diorama of the park with LED light to show trail routes. About .3 miles into the hike you will cross over a small bridge with a waterfall running under it. When the trail reaches a road, continue to the right and take in the views of Sterling Lake. At nearly a mile in bare left onto Bare Rock Trail (orange blazes). At around 1.6 miles in the teal and Fire Tower (white stripe on red) trail cross, continue following the Bare Rock Trail (orange blazes) straight. At 2.8 miles, lookout for the signs for Bare Rock Vista, the Greenwood Lake overlook. Take your time with the views and have a snack, then head back to the trail turning right when you get to the top of the hill.

When you reach the T-junction, turn right onto Fire Tower Trail (white stripe on red). Shortly after turn left onto an unmarked trail (easy to miss, about .1 after the T-junction), after which you should start seeing white blazes. This is followed by a left turn onto Sterling Ridge Trail (blue circle on white), which takes you to the Sterling Ridge Fire Tower. You can climb up the tower, when it's open, for great panoramic views of the area.

When you're ready to head down, turn left back onto Sterling Ridge Trail, just past the kiosk. In about a mile, take a right onto Bare Rock Trail (orange/you were hear earlier) and continue for a half mile before jumping back onto Park Road (blue).

At this point, you can either continue on Sterling Lake Loop (blue) back to the parking lot, or take a side trip via Lakeville Ironworks Trail (yellow pickaxe) to see what's left of an old mine and the Sterling Furnace. Past the furnace there is a right turn back to Sterling Lake Loop.

*Note, this hike can be very wet and muddy as the Bare Rock Trail (orange blaze) follows a stream up the mountain. After a rain storm it becomes flooded in areas.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Sun protection
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Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8.5 Miles




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4 months ago

Great Views, Great Hike

The view from the fire tower is breathtaking, especially on a clear day. There are at least a dozen blazed trails in the area of varying intensity, and the folks at the visitor center are very helpful. The lakes are gorgeous, but I would highly recommend the fire tower, which gives views of the entire region for at least 30 miles. The trail was easy to follow, and had a variety of landscape including steeper wooded areas, natural Boulder Paths, road, and a lakeside walk. Thanks for the recommendation.

4 months ago

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