BY– SHAUN O’NEILL
- 3.3 total miles up and back
- 3605′ max elevation, 1460′ elevation gain
- Panoramic views from the fire tower
Pillsbury Mountain is a fairly short but satisfying hike, ending with beautiful views of surrounding mountain ranges and lakes, and home to a defunct ranger station and fire tower. To get to the parking area within the Perkins Clearing wilderness area, head north on Route 30 out of Speculator and make a sharp left onto the dirt road immediately after Mason Lake. Continue on the dirt road for several miles and follow the signs for Pillsbury Mountain.
A few different trails leave from this lot, follow the Pillsbury Mountain trail which deceptively seems to be going downhill, but that does not last for long. The first mile is steadily up hill with little relief, but not overwhelming. The final push mellows out a bit and opens into a small clearing which is home to the boarded up ranger station and the fire tower.
The tower is not maintained, but is study enough to get yourself above the trees. Unfortunately going up the tower stairs is the only way to get the views, as the clearing is surrounded by tall thick forest which leaves you feeling like you’re within the walls of a mountain top fortress.
Soak in the sunshine and the views, and make your way back. I suggest it as a three season hike only because the roads into the parking area can be questionable during the winter, but if they are clear I imagine it would make for a beautiful snowshoe trip. This is also one of the fire towers for the for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Fire Tower Challenge, so be sure to keep track and hit them all!