Fire Tower Challenge

In the fall of 2022, I had a few days off and decided to take on the Saranac Lake 6er Challenge. It’s a challenge that I did a bit on a whim, because I love hiking and challenges, but I had no idea I would have so much fun… and that it would be so hard!

I decided to repeat the experience by embarking on a new hiking challenge: that of the Fire Towers. This challenge, created by the Glens Falls-Saratoga Chapter Adirondack Mountain Club, involves hiking to the old fire towers of the Adirondacks and the Catskills in upstate New York. Technically, completing the challenge requires summiting 18 of the listed mountains in the Adirondacks, as well as all of the mountains in the Catskills.

For me who loves mountain hiking, but also learning more about the history of the regions I visit, this challenge is perfect! In addition to exploring different areas of these regions, the challenge allows me to learn a little more about the history of fire towers and their importance in the observation and protection of the mountains of New York State. At one time, these towers played an essential role in quickly spotting forest fires.

Fire tower at the top of St. Regis Mountain
The fire tower at the top of St. Regis Mountain

It should be noted that some of the towers have been restored, but others are in disrepair and therefore it is not possible to climb them.

I would also add that depending on the websites I’ve checked, the number of mountains that are part of the challenge varies. It is because over the years, some trails were created, and others became inaccessible. The list below is the most up-to-date list I have found.

My progress

I’ve hiked to the top of 5 out of 31 mountains to date. The hike to the top of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain is my most recent Fire Tower Challenge hike.

Summit of Poke-o-Moonshine
At the summit of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain

The mountains of the challenge


  1. Cathedral Rock (June 2023)
  2. Belfry Mountain
  3. Swede Mountain
  4. Spruce Mountain
  5. Poke-O-Moonshine (August 2023)
  6. Kane Mountain
  7. Stillwater Mountain
  8. Bald Mountain
  9. Woodhull Mountain
  10. Azure Mountain (May 2023)
  11. Mount Arab
  12. Black Mountain
  13. Hadley Mountain
  14. Goodnow Mountain
  15. Owls Head Mountain
  16. St. Regis Mountain (October 2022)
  17. Loon Lake Mountain (May 2023)
  18. Vanderwhacker Mountain
  19. Mount Adams
  20. Gore Mountain
  21. Pillsbury Mountain
  22. Hurricane Mountain
  23. Wakely Mountain
  24. Blue Mountain
  25. Lyon Mountain
  26. Snowy Mountain


  1. Tremper Mountain
  2. Red Hill Mountain
  3. Overlook Mountain
  4. Balsam Lake Mountain
  5. Hunter Mountain
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