The 3.4-mile hike up St. Regis Mountain in the Adirondack Park in Franklin County includes beautiful forests and a spectacular panoramic view
St. Regis Mountain
3.4 miles (6.8 miles round-trip)
Paul Smith’s, Franklin County
Hiking, Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Start Your Hike Up St. Regis Mountain
St. Regis Mountain is a 3.4-mile hike in northern Franklin County, west of Paul Smith’s. The trail is on public Forest Preserve, located in the St. Regis Canoe Area. The trailhead parking lot is accessed off of Keese Mill Road, which runs west of Route 30, just north of Paul Smith’s College. The hike runs through mature pine forests with lots of towering boulders before reaching an open, rocky peak where the firetower stands amidst a beautiful forest of ferns and white birches.
The trek to the summit is relatively flat for most of the way, with most of the ascent in the last mile. The trail starts on a gravel road from the parking area that soon crosses the St. Regis River near the outlet of Lower Saint Regis Lake. After a few hundred yards on the dirt road, the trail turns right into the forest. The trail register stands at this point; make sure to sign in.
The Trail on St. Regis Mountain
The trail then climbs gently into a conifer forest, passing a small wetland pond and soon reaches a junction. Veer right and follow the yellow trail markers to the summit.
The trail passes huge mossy cliffs and a cluster of massive glacial erratics as it weaves its way through a young hardwood forest. Then the trail runs over a few patches of open bedrock and leads to the top of the cliffs. The trail then returns to the needles and moss of the conifer forest over a long, peaceful ridge dotted with tall balsam and white pines. The middle portion of the trail is relatively uniform as it makes its way through a fairly flat stretch of hardwood forest with a number of large white pine, hemlock, and maples.
The Main Ascent
After two miles, the trail reaches a bridge crossing over a small, rocky stream. The bridge marks the start of the hike’s main ascent. The trail gradually grows steeper, running over a short stretch of rock-lined turnpiking and a short stone staircase. The trail is much rockier, with many more cliffs and boulders. In a fun and interesting span near the top, the trail squeezes up between huge rock walls on both sides. The trail then emerges from the cliffs into a sunny clearing of ferns with the open sky visible through the birch trees.
A side trail leads to a scenic overlook on the right with a broad view of the forests and rolling hills to the north. The final section of the main trail leads to the summit. The open and rocky area has plenty of space to sit and rest. Unlike many other peaks with fire towers in the Adirondack Park, the summit of St. Regis Mountain has a vast and beautiful view without needing to climb the tower, which is good news for those uncomfortable climbing up a firetower.
The Top of St. Regis Mountain
The view from the top of the 100-year-old firetower is spectacular, a sweeping 360-degree view of the countless lakes, many other mountains including diverse forests, and small communities. There is a clear view of Loon Lake Mountain to the north, Matumbla and Mt. Arab to the south, and dozens of High Peaks stand to the east, among many others.
The trail out follows the same path to the parking area.
Click here to download a map and trail directions for St. Regis Mountain.
When You Hike Make Sure to Practice “Leave No Trace” to be Prepared and Protect the Forest Preserve
Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow all 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: St. Regis Mountain is used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.