Family Fun From The Inside...OUT!
MAD FUN HIKE! Bald [a.k.a. Rondaxe] Mountain and fire tower, located in the Fulton Chain Wild Forest area of Adirondack Park in New York.
In only a mile, you will experience pretty much everything the Adirondacks can throw at you!
The best part?!?! The crazy knife-edge ridges near the summit. Only without the two-thousand-foot drops like the mountaineering videos from the Himalaya and the Alps have haaahahaa!
The OTHER best part?!?! We finally got to meet our friends over at Vermont Paddle Pups! They were coming down as we were heading up, so we stopped at this awesome overlook for a quick photo. So happy to meet our fellow bloggers and social media friends in person! Go see their trip report for even more information on this hike, and you’ll love their blog, especially if you hike and paddle with your dogs.
Bald [a.k.a. Rondaxe] Mountain and fire tower, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Adirondack Park, New York – About the Hike:
You may also enjoy our other Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge blog posts, and our Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge VIDEO PLAYLIST! We also recommend pairing this hike with Stillwater Mountain and fire tower, about 45 minutes away, for a really awesome day out! I have included all links at the end of this post if you want to read on and check them out later, PLUS information on our go-to resource for the most recent fire tower trail conditions, so read on!
The thirty-five-foot steel tower now standing on the mountain was built in 1917, replacing a wooden, twenty-foot-high observation platform built in 1912.The tower was one of the last to be closed by the state, in 1990, in favor of more modern fire fighting techniques.
Bald Mountain, or Rondaxe Mountain? Why two names?
Nowadays it’s simply a preference. When the fire towers were in active service, there were two Bald Mountains, both with observation towers. The other Bald Mountain tower, in Northern Lewis County, is no longer standing.
According to their website, The Friends of Bald Mountain committee was formed in 2002 and the restoration of the tower officially began. Visit the FoBM website to learn more, donate, or volunteer to help with the ongoing efforts to maintain this amazing, unique, and beloved tower!
Here are the GPS coordinates for the parking area:
43.7454639,-74.9010417 [LINK TO open in Google Maps here!]
This is a sizable lot, with a very noticeable, official DEC sign on Rondaxe Road, as you can see in the photos. I did not notice a privy at parking.
There is only one trail option, an out-and-back hike. This hike is anything but boring!
Round Trip Miles: 2.0
Elevation Gain: 514 feet
Summit Elevation: 2,350 feet
The trail register is right at the edge of the parking lot, and we followed RED markers all the way to the summit:
This hike is short, but challenging. It begins ascending very soon into the hike. Over the course of the mile from trail head to summit, the trail alternates between tricky rock scrambles (ICY scrambles, in winter!) and lovely, almost flat walks through the forest. Because of the scrambles and some moderate height exposure, it may not be suitable for little ones. You know your child best, and I’ve done my best to document the challenges you will face in the photos and video. The summit is well worth the challenges! Just make sure everyone understands the hazards before you get on the trail.
The trail was well marked and easy to follow at all times, although we took a wrong turn into the woods near the summit, see the photo. We followed the tracks going right, into the woods and off trail. Stay to the left, crossing those crazy looking rocks. That was FUN! But be careful!
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 for our hike, although the Adirondacks received about three feet of snow since we were there! We have both snow shoes and spikes when we venture out in the Winter, and adjust accordingly as conditions warrant.
There are some areas where extra caution is needed…
There are rock scrambles all along the one-mile trail, and near the summit there are some knife-edge rock formations – some with drops of a few feet, some a bit more.
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 Winter climb of Bald [Rondaxe] Mountain and Fire Tower overlaid on Google Earth.
GPS Hike Profile from our Winter climb of Bald [Rondaxe] Mountain and Fire Tower :
Here are some quick stats about our Winter climb of Bald [Rondaxe] Mountain and Fire Tower !
A few photos, then on to the VIDEO!
Here’s the VIDEO!
You might enjoy pairing this hike with Stillwater Mountain and fire tower, about 45 minutes away, for a really awesome day out!
Or, 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 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:
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