September 23, 2017 – Tupper Lake, NY
Difficulty: Easy – moderate
Length: Approximately 2.2 miles
Max elevation: 2545 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 764 ft.
Route type: Out and back
Trailhead parking: 26 Mt Arab Road, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Mount Arab, sometimes known as Arab Mountain, is a short but very worthwhile hike in the Tupper Lake area. The name is derived from the original French name of this peak. Mont Erable, which translates to Mount Maple. The one mile long trail rises 764 vertical feet on an easy to moderate trail. The fire tower at the summit provides excellent views of the surrounding area. There are a couple of rock ledges with wooden benches that offer nice views as well if you choose not to climb the tower. It is an extremely popular location for tourists and hikers of the Northern Adirondacks. The trail and tower are closed during big-game rifle season in the fall.
Mount Arab is part of the Tupper Lake Triad, a hiking challenge created in 2015 in the Tupper Lake Region of the Adirondacks. Along with Goodman Mountain and Coney Mountain, the three family-friendly mountains boast outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and lakes from their summits, which are reached via well-maintained and well-marked state Department of Environmental Conservation trails. After successfully hiking all three peaks, register on the official Triad Roster and receive a patch.
I completed the other two hikes on the previous day and was all set to complete the third leg of the challenge on a gorgeous Saturday morning. I had driven by the trailhead the previous day to check out the parking situation. The parking area is a good size, but when I drove by in the late afternoon, it looked filled to capacity. We arrived at the trailhead at around 9:30 am and there were only five cars in the lot.
The trailhead is located directly across the road from the parking area.
We signed in at the trail register and we were on our way.
The trail begins to climb on what appears to be an eroded woods road, through a mostly deciduous forest with a few conifers appearing as you approach the summit.
The well-marked path is moderately steep for most of the hike, but there are short, steep sections, some where stone steps have been placed to make the climb a little easier.
A long set of wooden steps have been constructed on one of the steeper sections.
The trail follows the northern ridge of the mountain and avoids the steeper slopes that are off to the right. The trail comes to a fork as it approaches the summit. They both lead to the top, but I went left and then returned via the right fork.
At the summit sits the Arab Mountain Fire Observation Station aka the fire tower. The Mount Arab fire tower was originally built in 1912 as a wooden tower. The problem with wooden towers was that they were only temporary and very susceptible to the forces of nature. It was replaced by a steel tower in 1918. The 35-foot-tall steel tower, with a 7’x 7’ metal cab, is a prefabricated structure built by the Aermotor Corporation, Model # AM LS-40. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Of the 57 original steel Adirondack towers, 34 are still standing today.
The Observer’s cabin, built in the early 1950’s, replaced the original cabin that was built in 1918. Prior to the original cabin being built, Observers stayed in tents erected on the summit. The tower and Observer cabin have been fully restored by the “Friends of Mt. Arab.” The restored Observer’s cabin houses a small museum.
The views from the tower are outstanding. Mount Arab Lake and Eagle Crag Lake to the southwest.
The Racquette River valley to the north.
Mount Morris to the southeast.
After enjoying the fantastic 360° views from the cab of the Mount Arab fire tower, I climbed down.
There is a short spur trail that leads out to a rock ledge with a wooden bench, that provides a nice view.
Another ledge also has a wooden bench, but the view isn’t as nice.
The summit started to get a little crowded and we decided to take off. We retraced our steps back down the mountain. It was a nice easy descent on the red-blazed Arab Mountain Trail.
We passed quite a few people on the way down. We left the summit at about 11:00 am and it took us about a 1/2 hour to reach the parking area. It pays to get an early start in order to beat the crowds. The lot wasn’t full like the previous day, but there were cars lined up and down the road.
A really great hike with minimal effort and a big payoff. I also earned my patch by completing the Tupper Lake Triad Challenge. I filled out the form and mailed it in, hopefully my patch arrives soon. My introduction to hiking in the Adirondacks did not disappoint.
UPDATE: I received my patch and also a sticker withing 10 days of mailing it out.
Pros: Fire tower, great views, well marked trail, short hike, earn a patch.
Cons: Popular hiking destination and does get crowded.