Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain is renowned for its historic fire observation tower at the summit, but in recent years, the peak’s Ranger Trail has been in need of repairs and upgrades. As part of a multi-year project, the New York State DEC and Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) – Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain have been working to improve the Ranger Trail and will continue their efforts in 2017/18.
Photo Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Located in the Town of Chesterfield in Essex County, Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain features two trails that lead to its impressive summit – the Ranger Trail and Observer’s Trail. While the Observer’s Trail is newer, the Ranger Trail is the traditional path hikers took at the old Poke-O-Moonshine Campground.
Over the years, the peak has become more popular with hikers who are interested in seeing the fire observation tower, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. However, the Ranger Trail wasn’t designed for modern use levels and pattern, and because it is steep, erosion has been a major issue.
In 2015, AARCH – Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain partnered with the DEC under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement. AARCH – Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain would lead a multi-year project to improve the mountain’s trails, and funds were raised to hire Tahawus Trails LLC and Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew.
Last year, the two professional trail crews installed new stone steps and started to upgrade drainage systems on the Ranger Trail. Recently, the crews were able to install more steps, harden the trail tread, reroute 900 feet of trail, and reclaim parts of the old trail & close social paths.
The overall goal of this multi-year project is to develop the Ranger Trail into a much more sustainable trail that will last for many years.
Trail work has concluded on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain for 2016, but it will continue in 2017/18. Some of the future work will include more rerouting and rehabilitation of the Ranger Trail, as well as similar improvements for the Observer’s Trail.
Have you ever hiked Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain?
Did you know the DEC recommended Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain as a great fall hike >>