Rondaxe (Bald) Mountain Fire Tower
US 112, NY 11

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 112, NY 11 (view other lookouts in United States, New York)
Date Registered March 6, 1995
Nominated by Fred Knauf, NY Chapter, FFLA
Location Herkimer County, New York
Coordinates N 43° 44.298' W 074° 54.816' (view using Google Maps)
N 43° 44' 18" W 074° 54' 49"
N 43.738300° W 074.913600°
Elevation 2,349 ft (716 m)
Administered by NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Cooperators NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation and NY Chapter of Forest Fire Lookout Association

Description

Rondaxe (Bald) Mountain Fire Tower may challenge Blue Mountain as the most-visited fire lookout in the Adirondacks. Located just above the Old Forge tourist area, a wood tower was built in 1912 and the present 35’ Aermotor LS-40 tower with 7x7’ steel cab was built in 1917 and is a very popular destination with hikers. Rondaxe has the distinction of being the last fire tower to be closed by the state in 1990. The tower was restored in 2005.

Additional information courtesy of Bill Starr, NHLR State Registrar: "This facility is not to be confused with the Bald Mtn. near Old Forge, N.Y. Established in 1911 the Bald Mtn. near Old Forge was established in 1912. Two Bald mountains could not exist as fire towers so the name Rondaxe Mtn. was given to the Bald Mtn. near Old Forge, taking the name from the adjacent Rondaxe Lake, a fact that has never rested well with the Old Forge community. Ownership of the Bald Mtn. facility was transferred to the land owner, where it stood, about 1975 since the station was closed and would not re-open. The Diamond Match Co. owner of the land did not want to encourage the public to continue to visit the tower so they had the tower removed. The tower had two of the legs cut and it was pulled over. The tower now rests where it fell nearly 30 years ago. This tower has been adopted through the “Adopt–A–Natural Resource” program, offered by the NYS-DEC, by the “Friends of Bald Mtn.” and restoration work on the tower is in progress. This tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the National Historic Lookout Register."

Map

Change Basemap

Photos

1912--Wood Tower-courtesy Bill Starr

1912--Wood Tower-courtesy Bill Starr

Postcard (courtesy Paul Hartmann)

Postcard (courtesy Paul Hartmann)

Visit Reports

September 8, 2014: Julie Reid

Condition

Needs paint? Yes
Shutters OK? No Response
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? No Response
Comments: The cab has been painted silver but there are already the marks of young hikers appearing on the fresh paint.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No
Comments? The trail is marked with occasional red disks to lead the way.

Staffing

Staffed? No

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? No Response
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? No Response

Other Comments

Comments The trail is well worn up the mountain. Expect company as you hike up the trail. The head of the trail is unexpectedly easy and quickly steepens. Good hiking shoes are a good choice of foot wear as the narrow rocky ridges get very slippery from foot traffic by late morning tracked off the forest floor. There is a lookout about 2/3 up the mountain with wonderful views and photo opportunities. We hiked with a baby in pack, 11,7, and 5 yr old and the kids were just fine navigating the rocks. The views are quite wonderful from the summit and tower. This trail was a little more challenging then I had thought it would be from previous reviews and would think twice about bringing toddling or children younger then 5yrs that are not use to long walks and woods scrambling.