UPDATE (June 2008): Bottom three flights of stairs removed from tower, very dangerous to climb, do not attempt. There are very limited views from the rest of the summit.
Located in the southest corner of the Adirondack Park in Upstate New York, Spruce mountain is not one of the major peaks of the park. However this peak does offer some good and bad contrasts. It offers a study on the affects of human overuse of the land and the beginning of the area restoring itself. The land is part of logging land owned by paper companies and leased by hunters. The land has used and abused by loggers, 4-wheelers, snowmobilers, hunters, 4-wheel dirve vehicles, and local teenagers. Although the land has taken a beating it is refreshing to know that part of the mountain was purchased by a local land conservation group known as the Saratoga P.L.A.N. The group plans to caretake the land and rebuild the dilapidated fire tower that sits on it's 2009ft wooded summit. The 73' fire tower was built on the summit in 1928, and was manned until 1988. Although the summit is also accessible by a gated service road leading to the numerous radio towers and buildings sorrounding the fire tower, there is still a sense of nature in restoration along the foot trail. This hike is on the list for the Fire Tower Challenge, by the ADK Club.
From Saratoga Springs, NY, head north on rte 9N towards Corinth. Shortly after passing through South Corinth take a left on Wells Rd., Drive this road for a few miles until it T's, take a right on Spruce Mtn. Rd (Not Signed) and just a few hundred yards down this road there will be a dead end sign, pass the gated entrance to the fire tower access rd on the left, and proceed to a parking area marked with a NO PARKING SNOWPLOW TURNAROUND, and this is the unmarked trailhead to Spruce Mountain.
The trail begins with an immediate crossing over a small brook on an old concrete bridge, it then heads up a hill and then bears left towards the summit. Although only about 1.2 miles in length, this hike gives you a varied set of views including decidous forest, some pine and some areas cvoered in ferns recovering from excessive logging. The Saratoga P.L.A.N. has put up trailmarkers, but they are still rather sparse and the area is still peppered with ATV and skidder trails. Pay special attention to trail signs and backtrack if needed. After about a decent climb of about 1000ft you arrive at the summit with radio towers, some sommunications buildings, amnd an old fire tower. unfortunately the bottom 3 flights have been removed from this tower and it can't be safely climbed. Another option for the descent is along the dirt access road.
Note: Abundant wildlife observed including: deer, chipmunks, rabbits, grouse, snakes, birds, butterflies etc. keep your eyes peeled!