Family Fun From The Inside...OUT!

Stillwater Mountain & Fire Tower, Independence River Wild Forest, Adirondacks, NY

Stillwater Mountain & Fire Tower, Independence River Wild Forest, Adirondacks, NY

WOW what an incredible payoff for a lovely, EASY walk in the woods! Stillwater Mountain and fire tower in the Independence River Wild Forest area of Adirondack Park in New York.

I am serious…even if you hate mountain climbing, you’ll love this trail! This is a pleasant outing for all ages and abilities.

The best part?!?! With sub-zero temps in the forecast, we decided to indulge in a stay some place cozy nearby instead of camp. We found a lovely Bed & Breakfast only about ten minutes from the trail head! I’ll tell you all about that too, in just a bit.

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

Stillwater Mountain and fire tower – Independence River 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! I have included both links at the end of this post if you want to read on and check them out later.

An important note from this DEC information page: The fire tower and most of the trail are located on Big Moose Conservation Easement (private land). The public is allowed to use the fire tower trail but may not trespass on lands off of the trail or summit. The trail and summit are closed to public use from the second Tuesday in October through December 20th.

This tower was recently rehabbed by the Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower group, and the work they did is TOP NOTCH!  Take in the views from the cabin of this forty-seven-foot tower, and identify landmarks for miles with the map. Enjoy shelter from the elements with the newly installed windows, or open them up on a balmy day. Have lunch at a picnic table and watch for snowshoe hares, there were tracks…EVERYWHERE!

At the summit and barely broke a sweat! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
At the summit and barely broke a sweat! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
A picnic table in the most perfect picnic spot EVER! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
A picnic table in the most perfect picnic spot EVER! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
This tower has been open since summer and is still looking pristine after all of the hard work of volunteers! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
This tower has been open since summer and is still looking pristine after all of the hard work of volunteers! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

Where to Stay:

As mentioned, the temps in the forecast would have really pushed the limits of our winter camping gear, so we opted for a little more luxury for the weekend. Once we had a hiking plan, a quick Google search found the lovely Northern Lights B&B, located ten minutes or so from the Stillwater Mountain fire tower trail head! If you want to spend some time in this area (there is much more to it than the mountain!), we highly recommend this B&B: beautiful rooms, friendly hosts, amazing breakfast!. I suggest ordering the milk and cookies for your arrival….YUM! Hostess/Innkeeper, Jackie, filled us all in on the many other things to do in this area. We will definitely be back!

Lovely Northern Lights B&B is just ten minutes or so from the trail head. 2017-03-05-Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!
Lovely Northern Lights B&B is just ten minutes or so from the trail head. 2017-03-05-Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!
Lovely Northern Lights B&B is just ten minutes or so from the trail head. 2017-03-05-Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!
Lovely Northern Lights B&B is just ten minutes or so from the trail head. 2017-03-05-Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!
Super cool chair in the common area at the B&B. Lovely Northern Lights B&B is just ten minutes or so from the trail head. 2017-03-05-Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!
Super cool chair in the common area at the B&B. Lovely Northern Lights B&B is just ten minutes or so from the trail head. 2017-03-05-Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!

Parking: 

Here are the GPS coordinates for the parking area: 43 52.323, – 75 01.624 

[LINK TO open in Google Maps here!]

The parking lot was small, and I did not see a privy there, but I did notice signage for a handicapped-accessible campsite across the road.

The small parking area at the Stillwater fire tower trail head. Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower Challenge Hike 3/5/17!
The small parking area at the Stillwater fire tower trail head. Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower Challenge Hike 3/5/17!

Trail Used:

IMPORTANT:

This trail crosses private land, please respect the property owners and stay on the trail at all times. There are many posted signs along the trail and the trail is very well marked, so no worries at all about accidentally wandering off trail.

The NY State Wild Forest Boundary, clearly indicated as you cross onto private property. There are many posted signs along the trail, as well, to keep hikers from inadvertently trespassing. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
The NY State Wild Forest Boundary, clearly indicated as you cross onto private property. There are many posted signs along the trail, as well, to keep hikers from inadvertently trespassing. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

This is an out-and-back hike through a nice, old forest. 

MILES: 2.0 Round Trip

ELEVATION GAIN: 560 Feet

SUMMIT ELEVATION: 2,264 Feet (plus 47 feet of tower!)

We followed BLUE markers all the way to the summit:

Blue trail markers, plenty of them, all the way to the summit. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
Blue trail markers, plenty of them, all the way to the summit. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
The trail register is just a short distance from parking. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
The trail register is just a short distance from parking. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

Trail Difficulty:

This was a very easy hike, with the elevation gain spread pretty evenly along the entirety of the trail.

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS:

The trail is VERY well marked and should be no problem to follow. 

The trail was well broken out when we hiked, but there was a minor safety concern. A recent warm spell caused hikers to leave DEEP post holes alongside the trail, and ruts all over the trail. With the sub-zero temps that followed, the holes and ruts froze solid. We only brought microspikes and I really wished I had my snowshoes, I turned my ankle several times because of the ruts and post holes. If you are going while the weather remains cold, I HIGHLY recommend snow shoes for safety.

YESSSS ready for some Winter FUN! Our Tubbs Flex VRT snowshoes. Blue Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike!
YESSSS ready for some Winter FUN! Our Tubbs Flex VRT snowshoes.
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.

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 only signs of wildlife we saw on such a cold day were from the BUNNIES! The summit looked like a bunny super highway!

Stewardship:

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
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 Stillwater Mountain and Fire Tower overlaid on Google Earth.

Overlay of our GPS track on Google Earth. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
Overlay of our GPS track on Google Earth. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

GPS Hike Profile from Stillwater Mountain and Fire Tower:

Hike profile taken from our GPS data. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
Hike profile taken from our GPS data. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

Here are some quick stats about our Winter hike of Stillwater Mountain and Fire Tower!

Hike stats taken from our GPS data. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
Hike stats taken from our GPS data. Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

A few photos, then on to the VIDEO!

GREAT views of a place we will explore by kayak this summer! Stillwater Reservoir! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
GREAT views of a place we will explore by kayak this summer! Stillwater Reservoir! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
GREAT views of a place we will explore by kayak this summer! Stillwater Reservoir! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
GREAT views of a place we will explore by kayak this summer! Stillwater Reservoir! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
GREAT views of a place we will explore by kayak this summer! Stillwater Reservoir! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
GREAT views of a place we will explore by kayak this summer! Stillwater Reservoir! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
Haahahaa we love shadow selfies! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17
Haahahaa we love shadow selfies! Stillwater Mountain Winter Fire Tower Challenge Hike! 3/5/17

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 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

Facebook: It’s More Fun Outdoors

Instagram: @itsmorefunoutdoors

Pinterest: It’s More Fun Outdoors!

Or leave us a comment below!

 If you enjoyed this blog post, you’ll love our weekly newsletter!

Get campfire recipes, tips for awesome family getaways, gear reviews, and much, much more, delivered weekly to your inbox.

Jam-packed with the most popular happenings here on the blog, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and anywhere else we happen to turn up!




Thanks for reading! Make it an EPIC day! 🙂

~Amy, Chris, and Dora

5 Responses to Stillwater Mountain & Fire Tower, Independence River Wild Forest, Adirondacks, NY

  1. Your Stillwater Fire Tower video is super. You’re the first to post a winter video! Many thanks! Those views to the NE were Mt. Morris (Big Tupper), Whiteface, Santanoni, Algonquin and Marcy. West and Blue Mts. to the E. I couldn’t see them on the video, but the expanse to the W is Tug Hill and 195 wind turbines.

Leave a reply