Cathedral Rock is a short hike located in the James F Dubuar Memorial Forest in Wanakena, NY. This forest is part of the SUNY ESF Ranger School property and the trails are well maintained. The fire tower at the summit was originally located on Tooley Pond Mt, about 5 miles away. Cathedral Rock fire tower is also part of the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge, and one of the easier towers to reach. The 1 mile trail from the Ranger School is relatively flat for the first 0.8 miles, but then has a decent ascent up to the tower with an elevation gain of 200 ft. There are some big cliffs near the top and signs warning of dangerous falls, along with a memorial plaque for an unfortunate accident in 2006. The fire tower is in great shape and has some good views of the rolling terrain in all directions.
From Star Lake, follow Route 3 about 5 miles east to a turn-off on the right with a sign for the Ranger School. Veer left when the road splits and then another immediate left to head toward the Ranger School. About 1 mile later, take your first left onto Old Nursery Ln, back to a large parking area by a field. At the beginning of the parking lot is a gate and this is the start of the trail.
There is another trailhead located off of Route 3, about 0.5 miles east of the Ranger School Rd. The start is at a gated forest road, which will take you to the summit.
Ranger School Trail:
Start at the gate at the front of the parking lot behind the Ranger School. Walk about 100 feet and the trail will start on your right with a sign for "Latham Trail To Fire Tower". Follow the trail through a level forest, crossing several bog bridges and several dirt roads. There will be a sign just before the final section of trail that goes up to the fire tower and some large cliffs. The trail goes left and switchbacks up around the cliffs with a short ladder near the top. Be careful going up the trail and at the open rock area after the ladder, as the cliffs are quite high and dangerous. Shortly after this point there is a small pavilion, which has some nice views, and then the final 200 feet to the tower.
Cathedral Rock Pavilion
Keep in mind that this is SUNY Ranger School property and the forest is used to educate the students.
When to Climb
This trail can be followed in any season by hiking, snowshoeing, or XC skiing. In winter the trails should provide some nice XC skiing and snowshoeing. Spring could be pretty wet in the numerous swampy areas along the trail, as it's a low lying area. Summer offers a nice, shaded hike and in Autumn this short hike will have some really beautiful views of the fall foliage for not much effort.
This trail is on Ranger School property and no camping is allowed. However, there are numerous camping sites along other trails in the area.
There are are numerous other web sites out there if more information is needed, but these sites, I found, contain more information that may be wanted.