The 1.9-mile Observer’s Trail ascends 1,280 feet from the trailhead to the Poke-O-Moonshine summit along the route of an old access road used by fire observers. The trail travels through the forest for much of its length and several beaver ponds may be observed along the route.
The 1.8-mile Ranger Trail ascends 1,280 feet from the trailhead in the Poke-O-Moonshine Day Use Area to the summit. Significant work has been completed to upgrade the existing trail. Stone steps were installed and portions of the trail are rerouted. The rerouted lower half of the trail passes through some interesting rock features. A reroute of the upper half of the trail will occur in the future.
The 35-foot tall Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain Fire Tower, a steel Aermotor LS40 tower, was constructed in 1917 to replace a wooden fire tower built in 1912. In 1920, the station was the first in the New York State system to be equipped with an experimental Osborne Fire Finder, a type of panoramic map developed by the U. S. Forest Service for use with an alidade.
The fire tower was staffed and used for fire observation until 1988 and now appears on the National Historic Lookout Register, along with the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.
The tower has been open to the public since restoration was completed in 1996. The public may climb the tower and enjoy the view Thursdays through Mondays during the summer and on some weekends in the fall. A summit steward or volunteer is present when the fire tower is open and provides local and natural history interpretation, environmental education, and assistance for the hiking public. The cab of the fire tower includes interpretive panels on the interior walls which display the changes in land use of the surrounding area since the tower was installed.
Poke-O-Moonshine Day Use Area Parking is located off State Route 9 approximately four miles south of Exit 33 of the Northway (I-87). (44.3892°N, 73.5075°W).
Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower/Observer’s Trailhead is located along State Route 9 approximately five miles south of Exit 33 of the Northway (I-87) (44.4019°N, 73.5029°W)
Featured hikes are recommended by DEC.
Map of Poke-O-Moonshine courtesy Adirondack Atlas.