The hike up Azure Mountain is fairly short – just .9 miles to the summit for a 1.8 total out and back hike – and is rated as moderate. If you’re in shape, this is definitely a simple hike. If you’re not in good shape or don’t hike often, you may find it a bit more challenging since the 912 foot gain is made over just .7 mile as the first part of the trail is fairly flat.
The good news is that by the time you feel like “this trail is more difficult than I thought it would be” you’re almost to the summit. Don’t give up! There are interesting sights along the way, providing great excuses to stop for a few moments. Plus, it’s definitely worth the effort to get the views. This is especially true if you’re hiking in the fall.
The summit is larger than you may realize. Once you’ve enjoyed the first view – which is AWEsome!!! start exploring. Lots of unseen ledges and views to discover, including the “big rock” you see in many shots of Azure found online.
The fire tower is a smaller one and is very stable. If you’re nervous about climbing a tower, this is a great one. It has a 360° view and a map wheel to use in locating mountains from the tower. Expect to see quite a few hawks riding the thermals as they feed from plentiful critters in the valley.
Okay, now for the cautions.
It is difficult to get to this mountain. Beautiful scenery, but you will need to drive almost 10 miles on a dirt road – make that sand road. Your Google map is not wrong when it tells you how long it will take to get to the trailhead. It’s because you have to drive slowly along much of the road. I highly recommend an SUV or vehicle with traction and a lot of clearance. Absolutely avoid visiting Azure Mountain following a heavy rain, or if there is a high risk of rain. It is the road that will be the issue, not the hike.
Height: 2,500 feet
Elevation Gain: 912 feet
Distance: 1.8 miles
Directions: See above for the cautions. Getting to Azure Mountain, located in Waverly NY will begin from Saranac Lake on NYS Route 30. Follow NYS Route 30 until you can no longer go straight. You will be facing Paul Smiths College. Turn right onto NYS Route 86, then make an immediate left onto Keeses Mill Road (County Route 30). Follow this until a right turn onto Blue Mountain Road. You will spend most of your time on this road, until a left turn into the parking lot for Azure.