Family Fun From The Inside...OUT!
Failure to prep, even for a short hike, can take you off the beaten path. This was the case for our climb of Kane Mountain and Fire Tower, located in Shaker Mountain Wild Forest area of Adirondack Park in New York.
I think we may have spent just as long trying to find the trail as we did getting to the summit once we found it!
Not to worry though! Had we looked at the maps before heading out, we would have easily found the new trail head and the recently, beautifully redone TWO trails up the mountain. So – this post and our video are all about the old trail from Schoolhouse Road, which apparently is being phased out. We did find the ‘official’ trail head after the hike and get some photos and location data for you, though!
A few details, stats, and photos, then on to the VIDEO!
A Winter Climb of KANE MOUNTAIN and FIRE TOWER-Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks, NY
About the Hike:
Miles: 0.8 round trip according to our GPS data.
Elevation Gain: 521 feet according to our GPS data.
Summit Elevation: 2,200 feet.
You may also enjoy our other Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge blog posts, and our Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge VIDEO PLAYLIST! I have included both links at the end of this post if you want to read on and check them out later.
According to the book Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Southern Districts, the sixty-foot steel fire tower on Kane Mountain began operating in 1926. Since state operations ceased in 1988, the tower and Ranger cabin, easily accessible and no longer routinely monitored, have been subjected to vandalism, most obvious on the cabin. Last year, a Facebook group was started to share information and possibly plan a revitalization effort for these structures, which you can join if you interested, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1803442376559776/
Here are the GPS coordinates for the SCHOOLHOUSE ROAD trail parking – you just park on the shoulder. Trail is not obvious from here and we recommend using the newer trails (see graphic and photos below)
ACTUAL GPS COORDINATES:43.174778, -74.517726 [LINK TO open in Google Maps here!]
Here you can see the Green Lake Road trail heads and the Schoolhouse Road trail head we took:
And here is a photo from the newer trail head parking area:
As mentioned, we took the Schoolhouse Road trail, which really appears to have been abandoned for the two Green Lake Road trails. Honestly, it was a case of grabbing parking GPS coordinates online and not looking at the hike in depth or we couldn’t have missed those newer trails! It wasn’t awful, but we did spend quite a bit of time looking for the ‘trail’ and wondering if we were on private property, as there are homes nearby. We weren’t, this trail is perfectly ok to use, just harder to follow (at least without doing a little more homework than we had!), and I included some of our wanderings off and back on the trail in the video.
We followed a stream, then I got nervous that we’d ONLY followed the stream and not really confirmed our path with trail marker sightings (easiest way to get off trail!), so then we wandered around a bit, came back to the stream, found an old power pole with a dark red marker, saw more ahead, and we were able to follow that line right up the mountain. This all happened within maybe 200 feet of the road where we had parked, so we were not in danger of being lost, but kinda stinks when you’re trying to document a trail for your blog readers, haahahaaa!
The old Schoolhouse Road trail, while a bit challenging to follow, is otherwise fairly easy. This is a shorter, steeper trail through old forest, partially along the aforementioned stream.
As mentioned, this trail is not the easiest to follow but once you find the power pole line, just follow that to the top. Pack a full emergency kit any time you venture into the mountains, especially in the Winter, with extra clothing and a cook kit for a hot meal or drink, and as a way to make water should you get stuck and run out.
We used our Kathoola MicroSpikes for the entire climb but the 2016 Winter season was unusually snowless. For any Winter season mountain climbs, I recommend bringing both snow shoes and spikes, and doing your due diligence before getting on the trail. The ADK Fire Tower Challenge Facebook group is my go to resource for current trip reports and conditions!
Black bears are always a possibility in the Adirondacks, of course less so in the middle of Winter but it can happen! Be aware and know what to do should you encounter a bear or any other wildlife.
Please ALWAYS follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace, whenever you go outdoors, and wherever you go. We pack a trash bag and pick up what we find, within reason of course, whenever we go out.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Leave What You Find
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles have been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org
Here is some GPS geek stuff from the hike!
Our GPS track from our climb of Kane Mountain overlaid on Google Earth.
GPS Hike Profile from our Winter climb of Kane Mountain and Fire Tower:
Here are some quick stats about our Winter hike of Kane Mountain and Fire Tower!
A few photos, then on to the VIDEO!
Here’s the VIDEO!
See our other Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge blog posts!
We also have a playlist for our Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge VIDEOS!
About the ADK Fire Tower Challenge:
In all, there are 30 climbs on the official list: five in the Catskill Mountains, and twenty-four in the Adirondacks (you only need to complete eighteen of the twenty-four Adirondack towers to earn your patch for completing the challenge). Here is the official Fire Tower Challenge list, and more information about the ADK Fire Tower Challenge, if you are interested. There is also a Fire Tower Challenge group on Facebook, a great place to get the latest trail and access conditions from those who have recently done your planned hike. And – to share your photos and stories of your hikes, which is the best part!
WHERE TO FIND US:
Facebook: It’s More Fun Outdoors
Pinterest: It’s More Fun Outdoors!
Or leave us a comment below!
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~Amy, Chris, and Dora