The Fulton Chain Trifecta Hiking Challenge is a western Adirondack activity that is appropriate for the whole family. Located between Old Forge and Inlet, New ork, I frequent these three trails quite often. Having hiked all of them in nearly every season, I highly suggest trying the same. Each season brings a fresh perspective; like many other hiking trails, there is a winter patch (December 21- March 20) and a regular-season patch.
Meet The Mountains
Black Bear Mountain
- Distance: .5 mile to the summit
- Elevation: 2,225 feet
- Ascent: 433 feet
The trailhead is located about 10 miles northeast of Old Forge, just off NY-28 between Inlet and Eagle Bay. The parking lot is shared with the Black Bear Mountain trailhead which can make these two mountains great to hike in one day! A Short and sweet trail with stunning views of lake on its open summit. The hike is very short but steep and not technical! I had this wonderful summit to all to myself for about a half-hour before it started to drizzle and I quickly made my way back down to the car. I would start my Fulton Chain Trifecta Hiking Challenge here!
- Distance: .9 miles to the summit
- Elevation: 2,350 feet
- Ascent: 500 feet
The trailhead is located approximately 6 miles outside of Old Forge, just off NY-28 on Rondaxe Road. This is an exciting and fairly easy trail that becomes very popular in the summer and fall months. The summit provides beautiful views of the Fulton Chain of Lakes and the renovated Rondaxe Fire Tower which is the ideal place for a sunrise. Due to the busy nature of this trail (and every trail), please remember to Leave No Trace and pack out whatever you bring with you on the trail! If you see garbage along the trail, pack it out for those who don’t know better.
The trail itself is a true beauty; more exciting with every step. You will hike along what reminds me of a dinosaur spine from your first ascent until you reach the fire tower. There are views from the summit itself and an even more spectacular look at the landscape from the fire tower. Arrive early, with appropriate gear, for a quieter experience.
Black Bear Mountain:
- Distance: 1.9 miles to the summit
- Elevation: 2,442 feet
- Ascent: 761 feet
Use the same parking area as Rocky Mountain but take the trail further down route NY-28. The longest of the three trails, Blackbear actually provides a few different options for your hiking pleasure. The shorter, 3.8-mile roundtrip hike is steeper and involves some light rock scrambling near the summit. This trail is an absolute beauty in autumn and winter!
For a more gentle incline, there’s a 4.7-mile loop trail that will bring you to the summit as well. Although this trail is longer, it is equally as beautiful and nowhere near as steep on the incline. You may choose to head back down the more gentle trail or descend via the shorter, steeper trail on the western side of the summit. The summit is vast and leaves a lot of room for exploration. In autumn, the views, along with the vegetation on the summit, will leave you in awe.
Please remember to Leave No Trace, follow all DEC suggestions, and always ALWAYS leave the trail better than you found it. Print this PDF and send it in to register and receive your patch!