Pillsbury Mountain: Fire-tower Hike

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share some info about a great fire-tower hike located in the Southern Adirondacks! It is one of the highest mountains in the area that is not an Adirondack High Peak. So if you want to escape the crowds of the High Peaks Region, I suggest coming here!

Summary of Pillsbury Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 3,597′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about one hour and twenty minutes to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks too. 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500′ (Approximately)
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit is wooded with an abandoned cabin and worn-down fire-tower. Both of these provide great photo opportunities. The best views can be seen from the fire-tower. The top is locked off, but you can climb the stairs to be rewarded with some commanding views of the Southern Adirondacks. Be careful climbing the stairs as most of the wire railing in this tower is now gone. 

Trailhead

The trail is located near Speculator, NY and can be found after driving on some rough dirt roads for six to seven miles. The signage for the trailhead in the parking lot is pretty self-explanatory. I have read that some may need to park at Sled Harbor Clearing and walk an additional 1.5 miles to the trailhead. You can see below the sign you will see in the dirt parking lot that will get you headed towards Pillsbury Mountain.

Trailhead sign

Trail to the Summit

The trail is a gradual climb and easy to follow. There are some sections that are steeper than others, but none that required any bouldering or scrambling. The trail climbs 1,500′ through the woods of the Southern Adirondacks with really no views along the way. After hiking 1.6 miles through the woods, you’ll reach a clearing where the steel fire-tower stands tall and a dilapidated wooden cabin rests.

Pillsbury Mountain Summit

This mountain has a wooded summit, but I wouldn’t let that prevent you from hiking this  one. If you have the guts to climb the fire-tower that is missing its wire railing, the views once you get above the tree-line are pretty phenomenal. Just be careful while climbing the stairs. Keep in mind that the cabin at the top of the fire-tower is currently closed and you will not be able to get inside.

Pillsbury - fire-tower Sony a6000

Pillsbury - Scenes from fire-tower

The wooden cabin is clearly starting to fall apart, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some great pictures of it! It’s a part of Southern Adirondack history and there is just something aesthetic about wooden cabins tucked in the woods.

Pillsbury - wooden cabin

A Couple Other Pictures..

There is a summit marker at the top of Pillsbury Mountain. Here is a photo of it so you know what to look for!

Pillsbury Summit Marker

Below you can also see a different perspective of the surrounding forest and some mountains looming in the distance with a shot I took through the wire railing on the fire-tower!

Pillsbury - pic through wire railing

Getting Back to the Trailhead

This trail is an out-and-back so you’ll only have to hike out the same trail that you hiked in on!

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I saw a few dogs hiking along the trail. Bring extra water for your pup and one of those collapsable dog bowls. There wasn’t any scrambling or bouldering involved with this hike so your dog shouldn’t have any issues!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy/moderate because of its length and dependent upon your fitness level, but most individuals should be able to do it. This hike can still get you enjoying the outdoors and getting a workout in all the while avoiding the crowds of the High Peaks Region.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Bandana (great for keeping the sweat out of your eyes)
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to check out this hike in the Southern Adirondacks! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to escape the crowds of the High Peaks and explore a different area in the Adirondacks. I recommend it for new and experienced hikers alike! Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed it in any way. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. As always, I look forward to sharing more!

-Ant

2 thoughts on “Pillsbury Mountain: Southern Adirondacks

    1. It was in pretty rough shape…there was lumber on the summit so they might be doing a restoration project on it hopefully! I love the Adirondack fire-towers. They are a blast to climb up the stairs! I’m glad you got to see what one looks like in this post!

      Liked by 1 person

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