Photo by Mike Lynch
The view from Loon Lake Mountain
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In the fall of 2013, the state Department of Environmental Conservation opened a trail to Loon Lake Mountain, one of the few fire towers that had been off limits to the public.

The trail crosses conservation easement land near the hamlet of Loon Lake before crossing onto state land in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest. The trailhead is located on county Route 26, about 7.8 miles from the intersection with Route 3.

From the trailhead, the trail makes a couple of quick turns in the woods before spilling out onto a logging road. The road provides a wide, easy grade, and even though it rises consistently throughout the hike, the grade doesn't ever get too steep. This also makes the trail a good spot to ski in the winter.

Following the road for about a mile, the trail then veers off to the left, again following an old logging road. This second stretch of road is rougher, but still quite easy to walk. Eventually though, the road peters out and turns into a foot trail when it crosses onto the state forest land.

From there, the trail makes it's way through the woods and becomes steeper. While there may be some minor scrambling involved, most kids who can make it this far should be fine in the steeper sections.

Upon reaching the open summit, the Loon Lake fire tower stands 35 feet over the open, rocky summit. The tower is not currently open to the public, and stairs have been removed. The tower originally dates back to 1917, but was rebuilt in the late 1920s after being destroyed by hurricane-force winds.

With a round-trip distance of under six miles, Loon Lake mountain can offer a great view of the High Peaks and other mountains for not a ton of effort. For the most part the trail is a gentle grade, and kids and adults alike will find something they like about one of the newest additions to the Adirondack hiking canon.