Blue Mountain

Hiking

Blue Mountain is one of the taller mountains in the Adirondack Park and one of the most popular in the Hamilton County Region. Affording outstanding views and a modest challenge to summit, it attracts large numbers of people all year long.

How to get there

From the intersection of Route 30 and 28 in Blue Mountain Lake, follow Route 30 toward Long Lake for around 1.5 miles to the trailhead parking on the right. The trailhead is at the top of the long hill past the Adirondack Museum.

Trail Description

From the trailhead you will come to an old access road which allows for easy hiking. But the trail quickly starts to gain elevation and crosses a very attractive stream along the way. The climbing really kicks in at about 1.25 miles and continues to be quite steep as it passes over open rock slabs. This open rock in some areas can be very slippery, particularly on the descent. The steep terrain will leave way for a gentle hike along the ridge to the fire tower on the summit. There are smaller views from the land and if you poke around there are others. The best views are from the stairs on the tower itself, the cab of the fire tower is closed and locked. The old observers cabin is just over the rise.

Elevation

3760'

Distances

2.0 miles to the summit

Family with Young Kids

  • 2 hours to summit

Experienced Hiker

  • 1 hour to summit

Out of Shape Hiker

  • 1.5 to 2 hours to summit

Snowshoeing

This is a challenging winter climb but highly recommended for those wanting that challenge. The upper portion of the trail can be very icy making for some slightly hazardous hiking, but with care can be accomplished. This is a very cold and windy summit, especially so from the stairs on the fire tower.

This trail is not recommended for cross-country skiing.

Trail Description and Winter Conditions

Blue Mountain is one of the taller mountains in the Adirondack Park and one of the most popular in the Hamilton County Region. Affording outstanding views and a decent snowshoe challenge to summit, it attracts large numbers of people all year long. Blue is also home to an Adirondack Fire Tower, a small piece of region history.

From the trailhead you will quickly come to an old access road which allows for easy snowshoeing and a great warm up to the day. However this doesn't last, the trail quickly starts to gain elevation and crosses a very attractive frozen stream bed along the way, where ice formations are quite unique. The climbing really kicks in at about 1.25 miles and continues to be quite steep as it passes over open rock slabs. These slab rocks tend to be very icy, especially when you can't see the ice under the snow – pay extra close attention on the descent. The steep terrain will leave way for a gentle hike along the ridge to the fire tower on the summit. There are smaller views from the land and if you poke around there are others. The best views are from the stairs on the tower itself, the cab of the fire tower is closed and locked. The old observer's cabin is just over the rise.

Expect the Blue Mountain Trail to be heavily used, even when there seems to be few others on the trail. The route is broken out and hardened regularly by locals and visitors.

How to get there

From the intersection of Route 30 and 28 in Blue Mountain Lake, follow Route 30 toward Long Lake for around 1.5 miles to the trailhead parking on the right. The trailhead is at the top of the long hill past the Adirondack Museum.

Elevation

3760'

Ascent

1569'

Approximate Time Round Trip:

Families with Kids: 4 to 5 hours

Experienced Snowshoers: 2.5 to 3 hours

Out of Shape Snowshoers: 3 to 4 hours

Distance Round-Trip

4.0 miles

Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Four; Blue Mountain is a very steep mountain in sections. There is typically heavy icy on the steeper portions due to running water, traction can be difficult making certain sections fun but slightly scary too.

Additional Important Information:

Climbing the fire tower in winter can be dangerous due to heavy winds, wind chill, and icy conditions, be very careful. Under low snow conditions, the upper portion of the climb can be very slippery and icy.

Birding

Blue Mountain has the second largest population of Bicknell’s Thrushes in the Adirondacks after Whiteface Mountain. The trail to the summit is 2 miles long with a 1550-foot ascent, and follows the western side of the mountain. The prevailing winds from the west create disturbances that thrushes thrive in. It is a strenuous climb to the summit at 3759 feet. The lower section of the trail passes through mixed woodland habitat with wet thickets. Continuing the ascent, you’ll encounter spruce/fir boreal habitat.

A wide variety of birds will be found along the trail including: several woodpecker species, Eastern Wood-pewees, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireos, Boreal Chickadees,Winter Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bicknell’s Thrushes, Swainson’s Thrushes, Hermit Thrushes, many warbler species, including Blackpoll Warblers near the summit, and White-throated Sparrows. Many of the high elevation birds can be quite secretive and may be heard, but not observed. There are lovely views on the open rock summit, and a fire tower that can be climbed.

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