view from balsam lake fire tower of balsam forest below

Balsam Lake Fire Tower (updated)

Incredible 360° wilderness views make this hike spectacular at any time of year.

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fire tower shot from below

Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2023

Everything you need to complete the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge.

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scenic sunset view from Pakatakan Mountain

18 Amazing Western Catskills Hikes

Some of the best day hikes are only a few hours from New York City. The Western Catskills have it all!

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rock outcop

Thru-Hike Doubletop, Graham & Balsam Lake

This hike really has it all: stream crossings, herd paths, bear prints, a canister, a memorably steep descent, a true bushwhack, a rugged ascent, an ice grotto, some old ruins and, to top it all off, a fire tower with amazing sunset views.

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trail junction

Trail Maintenance, Balsam Lake, Fall 2019

Finished my 2019 maintenance by tidying up a few things between the two junctions on the south side of Balsam Lake. When I first took on this trail section in the spring, it hadn’t been tended to in many years and was very overgrown.

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fire tower view across conifer forest

Graham Mountain & Balsam Lake Hiking Trail

This long day-hike combines Graham and a loop around Balsam Lake’s summit. Permission is required to hike on Graham Mountain.

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