Fulton Chain Trifecta Hiking Challenge

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 York, 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

Rocky Mountain

Bald Mountain

Black Bear Mountain

Rocky 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 5th 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!

Girl laying on rock ledge
Enjoying Life on the Edge

Bald Mountain:

  • 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.  

Fulton Chain Trifecta Hiking Challenge Rondaxe Fire Tower View
View From Rondaxe Fire Tower

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!

A Winter Hike Up Black Bear Mountain

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!

Sunrise View from the Rondaxe Fire Tower on Bald Mountain

17 Comments on “Fulton Chain Trifecta Hiking Challenge

  1. I really enjoy hiking, especially during summer and fall! These trails look awesome. Would love to visit!

  2. Wow now this is an amazing challenge and what some fantastic places to be going! The views look absolutely incredible!

  3. I love hikes, so I’m happy to come across this! The landscapes are gorgeous! Love that you breakdown the train distance, elevation gain, and all that too. Very handy!

  4. These areas are beautiful. I should take my girls on a hike…we visit family near the Adirondacks. Thanks for sharing!

  5. As someone who never hikes, just reading this made me tired! But the pictures were beautiful!

  6. This seems like a great hiking challenge! I love hiking here on the East coast and have been wanting to do the App trail, but this looks almost more appealing to me !

  7. This is so beautiful! I’d love to travel there!

  8. It is really indeed a fun challenge and exciting, it takes a lot of passion and will to finish a race like that. Good job!

  9. That is beautiful place, hike is worth it. I am all for for going up. descending is most dreaded for me. You guys did wonderful job.

  10. I admire hikers! Yol are my heroes. What a fascinating place to hike, I’m sure it was all worth it. The part I dislike about hiking, is going back down.

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