The hike up Azure Mountain is fairly quick and occasionally steep to the top, but a perfect hike for families. The summit provides a unique view of the 46ers in the distance and some lower mountains and hidden bodies of water and marshes in the foreground, while the fire tower provides a 360 degree view of less often seen mountains to the other side of the summit. If you go in autumn, the view is especially incredible as you can see the changing leaves spread out before you as strips of dark green evergreens snake their way through the hardwoods.
The trail up Azure Mountain begins gradually across some switchbacks, with a nice view of the lowlands for the first quarter mile. Then the trail heads into the woods and quickly starts uphill, maintaining a somewhat steep grade for the rest of the hike until the trail levels out slightly before the summit. When you reach the top, half of the summit is a rock face with a great 180-degree view while the other half is wooded. However, you can get a 360-degree view if you climb up the renovated fire tower. The trail is short and easy enough to be a great hike for young kids and canine pals.
Coming from Paul Smiths, you will take route 30 north towards Santa Clara. After 9 miles you will come to a Y in the road, where you will take a left on 458, heading towards Santa Clara. After 13 miles you will turn left on Blue Mountain Rd, which you will follow another 7 miles to the trailhead with a good-sized parking lot on your right.
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Alyssa Devlin is a freelance writer who grew up hiking and skiing the ‘dacks and is now based in Washington, DC. She spends her days fighting the heat with daydreams of swimming in cool Adirondack lakes. You can find her at alyssadevlin.com.