A hidden gem in the Adirondacks! The view from the abandoned fire tower is spectacular. It has one of the best views of the high peaks from the South looking North over Calamity Mountain. There are practically no views from the summit without the tower. DEC no longer maintains the trail and few people actually climb it. The trail starts out relatively flat but gets quite steep as you approach the summit. You climb 1,800 feet over 2.4 miles and it is concentrated in the last 1.4 miles. Logging and blow downs make this a difficult trail to follow. There are occasional red trail markers once you start your ascent up the mountain. A map and compass are highly recommended. DEC considers the tower unsafe to climb. The area is home to the long-tailed shrew and the rock vole, a small vegetarian mole (It is one of the few areas in the forest preserve still capable of hosting them). The Adirondack Mountain Club has passed a resolution which will allow for the retention and maintenance of the Mount Adams fire tower. This arrangement will occur after the balance of 6,000 acres is transferred to the state later this year for inclusion in the High Peaks Wilderness.
The parking lot for the Hanging Spears trail serves as the trailhead for Mount Adams. Access to this lot is from Route 28N, at a point about 5 miles east of the Newcomb town hall and 14 miles North of Minerva. Turn North on the road to Tahawus. About 6 miles from Route 28N, the road forks, with the main road continuing across a bridge over the Hudson River to the Tahawus open pit mine. Turn left here on the narrower road marked with a sign to Marcy and the High Peaks. The road passes a large stone iron furnace 2.8 miles from the fork. At 3.0 miles, turn right into the parking lot for the Hanging Spears trail, which leads to Flowed Lands. Directions are courtesy of John P. Freeman from his book "Views From On High".
Distance - 2.4 miles (one way)
Elevation gain - 1,800 feet (549 meters)
Summit elevation - 3,520 feet (1,073 meters)
Difficulty level - difficult (large elevation gain and the trail is hard to follow)
The tower is in ill repair and will likely have to come down.
It was built in 1917 and abandoned in 1972. It is a 47 foot steel Aermotor LS40 model.
When To Climb
Summer and Fall - Optimum.
Spring - Trail may be icy, and due to the steepness, unsafe to climb. It can be very buggy in late spring.
Winter - The route is not well defined and too steep for skiis.
An experienced snowshoer with map and compass may enjoy the challenge.
You must sign in at the trail head and obtain a visitors pass. You must have the pass with you at all times.
Camping is only allowed in designated areas.
Update June 2004
Date Hiked: 6/26/04
Conditions: The trail up Adams has gone from an obscure, overgrown blowdown-choked herd path to what may now be one of the nicest trails in the High Peaks. This week a spirited young Americorps crew has brushed out the encroaching bushes on the lower section and cut away tons of blowdown higher up. And if that weren't enough, now they're replacing the rotting steps of the old fire tower. (Does this portend its being spared the wrecking ball??!)
Special Required Equipment: camera! more film! you won't find a better view anywhere.
Submitted by: bigmoose