Kane Mountain is an easy hike through beautiful forests to a mountaintop firetower with a panoramic view.
0.6 miles (1.2 miles round-trip or a 1.8-mile loop)
Caroga, Fulton County
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Hike Up Kane Mountain
Kane Mountain is an easy 0.6-mile hike, just north of Canada Lake in the Town of Caroga in Fulton County. Kane Mountain trail is on public Forest Preserve in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest. The trail can be hiked as a loop that totals 1.8 miles or as an out-and-back hike, which totals 1.2 miles round trip. The firetower at the summit provides a panoramic view of the surrounding area, and there is a clearing around it with large rocky areas for sitting and an old Observer’s Cabin nearby.
The trailhead parking lot is on the west side of Green Lake Road, off Route 29A, just north of Canada Lake. The 1.8-mile loop trail starts and ends in the parking lot. Signs at the trailhead register, just off of the parking area, direct hikers to the 0.6-mile hike to the Kane Mountain summit. Kane Mountain is a popular trail, so there will always be other people on the trail and firetower. Kane Mountain is not a hike to find solitude. The parking lot is also small.
The Kane Mountain Hiking Trail
The trail is easy to follow and well worn. There is a privy on the right side of the trail at its beginning. After the privy, the uphill climb begins quickly, and the trail gains elevation rapidly through a series of steep sections. The trail continues on a gentler incline after a short distance, leading through a mixed forest northern hardwood forest towards the firetower. Many parts of the trail are extremely wide, 20 feet or more in width, due to the high use.
At higher elevations, the trail is worn down to the bedrock.
The Kane Mountain Summit
After just 0.6 miles, hikers will reach the firetower at the summit. As the trail approaches the summit, the trailsides grow thick with ferns and grass. The Kane Mountain summit is largely tree-covered, but there are open rocky areas that provide a view of Canada Lake. There’s also a large open meadow strewn with boulders.
On the way to the firetower, the trail passes a derelict Observer’s Cabin. This cabin is no longer in use, which is clear from the fact that the door is missing, and it’s possible to walk inside. The view from the firetower is beautiful, looking out over Canada Lake to the south, and to the endless small mountains and ridges in the Shaker Mountain and Ferris Lake Wild Forest areas. On a busy day, the firetower can get crowded and expect a line of people waiting for their turns to take in the view.
At the summit, hikers choose to either return to the trailhead on the same 0.6-mile trail used to climb the mountain or return via a longer 1.2-mile trek through the forest. Most hikers now hike Kane Mountain as a loop.
The loop trail starts across the open meadow with large boulders. The trail is relatively flat for a long stretch along the ridge and passes large glacial erratics before descending sharply. The trail is wide, heavily worn, and easy to follow. The descent is steep for about 0.5 miles. After reaching the bottom of the mountain, the trail takes a sharp right turn at a trail junction where the trail wraps around the base of the mountain to the parking area. This last stretch is mostly flat, with only a few small inclines and declines and some very muddy sections.
This trail is overall quite easy, and appropriate for most hikers, so long as some short steep sections are not a barrier. The length makes it possible for all ages and ability levels, especially with the option to turn back on the shorter path.
Click here to download a map and trail directions for Kane 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: Kane Mountain is a popular mountain for snowshoeing in the winter.
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