Getting to the Trailhead
The Bald Mountain Trailhead is located approximately 5 miles east of the center of Old Forge. Follow Route 28 east from Old Forge and take a left onto Rondaxe Road. The parking lot for the trailhead is located a short distance up Rondaxe Road on the left.
The Bald Mountain Trail leaves from the back of the parking lot, next to the kiosk and sign-in booth.
The hike from the trailhead to the summit of Bald Mountain is just under a mile in length. Along the way you climb slowly at first, but then more steadily until after climbing about 500 vertical feet, you reach the summit of Bald Mountain (2350 feet).
The first part of the hike from the trailhead travels through an open hardwood forest and climbs gently. The trail then reaches the rock spine of the ridge that you will climb to the summit of Bald Mountain. From here, the trail generally follows the top of this ridge all the way to the summit. In dry conditions it is easy enough to walk on the rock with plenty of traction, though in wet conditions or when the rocks are covered in leaves in the fall, footing can be a little less steady.
There are several open views to the south as you are climbing the ridge. This gives you a great opportunity to see the Chain of Lakes from Old Forge eastward.
The Rondaxe Fire Tower is located near the summit of the mountain and is open to the public. A volunteer group has rehabilitated the tower and kept it in great condition. The tower itself is not very large, but sitting on the rocky summit of Bald Mountain, it gives you a 360-degree of the area that on a clear day, is stunning.
There is not a loop hike available from the summit of Bald Mountain, you must return down the trail that you came up.
Our whole trip took about 2 hours and that was with a significant amount of time spent at the summit enjoying the view. We lucked out weather wise. We were there in late October with blue skies and warm temperatures (we were hiking in shorts!). This would be a great hike during the fall foliage season as you would get a great view of the color in the surrounding areas.
~2 miles Roundtrip
500 foot elevation climb (and subsequent descent)
Trip coverage available in ADK's old West-Central Region Guidebook and the National Geographic Adirondack Maps
More photos available in the Flickr Set for this hike