Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sterling Forest Fire Tower

Sterling Forest State Park,
Orange County
New York

Hiking Trails:
Sterling Lake Trail - Blue Blaze
Iron Mine Trail - Yellow Blaze
Bare Rock Trail - Orange Blaze
Sterling Ridge Trail - Blue Blaze
Fire Tower Trail - Red Blaze
Fire Tower Connector Trail - Blue Blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.5 Miles

Pros: Good climb, nice views at tower
Cons: Hike along road near the beginning

Hiking Partners:
David Kunkel
Shimmy Rosenberg
Morty Rosenberg

I had been at the Sterling Fire Tower almost 10 years prior in the winter, and at them was not able to climb it. When I was at the Jackie Jones Fire Tower in Harriman a few weeks prior, I had noticed that the same volunteer group that refurbished that tower also fixed the Sterling Fire Tower, and that you can now climb to the top. I decided to check it out on this hike.

The weather was unseasonably cold, so we had to bundle up. We parked in the main parking area by the visitor center of Sterling Forest, and took the Sterling Lake Trail for a short distance to the Iron Mine Trail. The Iron Mine Trail is a very short trail that goes through the old workings of the Sterling Mine, an old and important mine for iron ore. The trail goes by a restored furnace, an original structure from the old hamlet of Lakeville, mine cuts and dumps, and some abandoned mine buildings.

We then walked along the road to the Bare Rock Trail, which we took up the mountain. We took this trail up the mountain to the intersection of the Sterling Ridge Trail. We took the Sterling Ridge Trail south until the Fire Tower. The Fire Tower was open and you could go almost to the top, but you couldn't go inside the cabin. However, on Saturday in middle of the day there are rangers there that can escort you up into the cabin. I heard that are considering opening it for Sunday as well.

After descending the Fire Tower, we descended down along the Fire Tower Trail, which is a wide trail, to the Fire Tower Connector Trail, which goes all the way down to mountain and to the south shore of Sterling Lake and the Sterling Lake Trail. We went back on the Sterling Lake Trail, which we took across the outlet of the lake and then back to our car.

Map of the Route

Highlighted Map Route in the Visitor Center 3D Model

Sterling Furnace Replica

Plaque at the Sterling Furnace

Morty Jumping in a Group Photo at the Sterling Furance

David at the Plaque at the Sterling Forest

Plaque and Old House from the Remainder of Lakeville

Iron Mine Trail Marker

Mine Cut in the Sterling Mine

Plaque of Mining at Sterling Lake

Abandoned Structure in the Old Mine Area

Another View of the Abandoned Structure

Plaque at the Lake Mine

Additional Ruins at the Sterling Mine

Sterling Lake, South Shore

Me at Sterling Lake,

Intersection of Trails

Sterling Lake from the View

Morty and Shimmy Approaching the View

Me at the View

Me and David at the View, Strategizing Business Ideas

Approaching the Fire Tower and Cabin

Morty Ascending the Fire Tower

View from the Fire Tower, Facing South /Southwest
View from the Tower, Facing South

View Facing Sterling Lake

View Facing Northwest

View Facing North, Sterling Lake

View from the Fire Tower: Shimmy, David, and Myself

At the Picnic Table underneath the Fire Tower

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