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Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Adirondacks, NY: A Lovely Late Winter Day Hike!

Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Adirondacks, NY: A Lovely Late Winter Day Hike!

A perfect late-Winter day for this hike! Azure Mountain Fire Tower, located in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest area of Adirondack Park in New York.

“Only a mile”. HA! I think it’s the longest mile I’ve ever hiked. This one was definitely more challenging than we expected but well worth the effort!

The best part?!?! This hike and day were chosen because the wonderful members of the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge Facebook Group were having a group meetup. So we finally got to meet some of the fantastic folks who have shared their tower challenge wisdom with everyone and that was awesome! 🙂 Thanks so much, Meredith, can’t wait to join you all for another! I have included another link to the group and more information about the ADK fire Tower Challenge at the end of this post if you want to read on and check it all out after!

A few details, stats, and photos, then on to the VIDEO!

Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks, NY – About the Hike: 

2017 will mark the 100th birthday of the Azure Mountain Fire Tower! According to the Azure Mountain Friends website, the 35-foot steel tower built in 1917 was in service for fire watch until 1978. In 2003, restoration by the Azure Mountain Friends was completed and the tower was re-opened for the enjoyment of the public. If you are looking for a good cause and an honest day’s work in the fresh mountain air, check out the Azure Mountain Friends website and see about volunteering.

Lovely views from the summit ledge, even if you don't like climbing the towers! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Lovely views from the summit ledge, even if you don’t like climbing the towers! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
The summit of Azure is very scenic, thanks to the hard work of the Azure Mountain Friends! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
The summit of Azure is very scenic, thanks to the hard work of the Azure Mountain Friends! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

Parking: 

Here are the GPS coordinates for the parking lot at the Azure Mountain trailhead, there is a sizable lot (there were 11 cars parked there when we arrived) but I would go early on a nice summer day! There is a privy at parking as well! BYOTP! 🙂

44.538, -74.486 [open in Google Maps here!]

Parking lot at the Azure Mountain trailhead - 11 cars there when we arrived. Note the Privy!ac 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Parking lot at the Azure Mountain trailhead – 11 cars there when we arrived. Note the Privy!ac 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

TRAIL USED:

There was only one trail, about 2 miles round trip with 944 feet of elevation gain to reach the summit at 2,518 feet. Not counting the thirty-five-foot tower which you can climb and should, for the best views!

We followed red markers all the way to the summit:

Red markers guide you to the summit! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Red markers guide you to the summit! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

TRAIL DIFFICULTY:

Pleasantly moderate at first, steadily getting steeper as you near the summit. Family and beginner friendly for sure in warm weather.

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS:

We had no problems following the well-marked trail in late March. Pack a full emergency kit any time you venture into the mountains, 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 only needed Microspikes as the trail was all ice and mud, but this is not typical of the Adirondacks even that late in the Winter. Bring snow shoes and boot traction such as MicroSpikes any time you hike in the Adirondacks in the Winter, and well into Spring.

Getting SPIKED right at the trail register. Microspikes are a necessity in the Adirondacks from early fall into late Spring. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Getting SPIKED right at the trail register. Microspikes are a necessity in the Adirondacks from early fall into late Spring. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

WILDLIFE

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.

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace:

Please ALWAYS follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace, whenever you go outdoors, and wherever you go. 

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Leave What You Find
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Respect Wildlife
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 Azure Mountain overlaid on Google Earth.

GPS route track overlay on Google Earth. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
GPS route track overlay on Google Earth. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

GPS Hike Profile from Azure Mountain:

Hike Profile from the GPS data. We were so SLOW on this hike! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Hike Profile from the GPS data. We were so SLOW on this hike! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

Here are some quick stats about our Winter hike of Azure Mountain!

 

Hike Profile from the GPS data. We were so SLOW on this hike! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Hike Profile from the GPS data. We were so SLOW on this hike! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

A few photos, then on to the VIDEO!

Signing in at the trail register - it was a short walk in before we got to it. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Signing in at the trail register – it was a short walk in before we got to it. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Picnic table and chimney remains along the Azure Mountain trail. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Picnic table and fire pit or chimney remains along the Azure Mountain trail. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Looking back at the tower as we wandered around on the summit ledge. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Looking back at the tower as we wandered around on the summit ledge. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
A very scenic summit! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
A very scenic summit! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
AMF stamp at the base of the restored Azure Mountain Fire Tower. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
AMF stamp at the base of the restored Azure Mountain Fire Tower. 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Downy Woodpecker enjoying the summit sunshine! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Downy Woodpecker enjoying the summit sunshine! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Maple syrup icicles! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks
Maple syrup icicles! 3/19/2016: Winter hike-Azure Mountain Fire Tower, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Adirondacks

Here’s the VIDEO!

About the ADK Fire Tower Challenge:

In all, there are 29 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:

Twitter: @IMFOutdoors

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Instagram: @itsmorefunoutdoors

Pinterest: It’s More Fun Outdoors!

Or leave us a comment below!

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Thanks for reading! Make it an EPIC day! 🙂

~Amy, Chris, and Dora

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