Goodnow Mountain is an easy hike on an interpretive and educational trail to a small mountain with a firetower that provides a panoramic view.
1.9 miles (3.8 round-trip)
Newcomb, Essex County
Huntington Wildlife Forest
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Hike Up Goodnow Mountain
The 1.9-mile Goodnow Mountain Trail is part of the Huntington Wildlife Forest, a research campus operated by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Goodnow Mountain is in the Town of Newcomb in Essex County and is just west of the hamlet on Route 28N. The trail is an easy hike that gradually gains elevation, with only a few steep sections. The trail leads to a small rocky summit with a firetower that provides a stunning 360-degree view of the High Peaks to the north and dozens of smaller mountains and lakes to the south.
The trailhead contains a large educational kiosk. SUNY-ESF has identified and numbered a dozen key features along the trail. Hikers can take flyers with them that provide the key to these features and educational information. This is a day-use area and camping is prohibited, but there are lots of camoping opportunities is the Newcomb area.
The Goodnow Mountain Hiking Trail
The trail begins at the back of the parking lot on Route 28N and leads immediately upwards on wooden stairs. The next section of trail, over 0.5 miles, runs along the base of a ridge. This section was rebuilt in 2019 and 2020 and contains new boardwalks, stepping stones, and bridges over chronic wet and muddy sections. The surrounding forest has many late succession mature stands of maple, beech, and yellow birch, with hemlocks and white pines interspersed.
After a little less than a mile, the trail begins to ascend more steeply, running nearly straight up a hillside. Shortly into this ascent, hikers will run across a large birch tree growing over a boulder, which bisects the trail. After this upwards section, the trail intersects with an old road for a stretch, that is wide and gentle.
The road passes an old foundation and then an old cabin. Soon after the old cabin, the forest grows thick with balsam and spruce, though hemlock, white birch, and white pine are abundant. The trees get shorter and smaller as the sky breaks through the canopy and glimpses of ridges in the distance break through.
The Goodnow Mountain Summit
The final section of the trail near the summit is narrow and winds along the ridge. A mid-sized bare bedrock area holds Goodnow Mountain’s firetower, which is around 60 feet tall and provides a panoramic view. Without climbing the tower, however, the view is limited. A small cabin once used by the forest fire observer also stands near the base of the fire tower. Goodnow Mountain is a popular hike, so expect groups of people at the summit or even a line of people queuing up for a turn to climb to the top to enjoy the view.
The return trip to the parking area is easy. The trail is not too steep, and so the descent is quick and easy.
Click here to download a map and trail directions for the Goodnow Mountain.
When You Hike Make Sure to Practice “Leave No Trace” to be Prepared and to Protect the Forest Preserve
Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow other Leave No Trace principles when hiking in the public Forest Preserve and other wild areas. The seven Leave No Trace principles are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Stay on hiking trails and camp at designated areas; 3) Dispose of human waste and trash properly; 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimize campfires; 6) Respect wildlife; 7) Respect other hikers.
Educated hikers do not damage the environment. Prepared hikers do not need search and rescue unless injured.
Winter Use: Split Rock Mountain is a popular mountain for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
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