Oh,  Azure. My beloved Azure.

If you have read any of the local Adirondack hiking books, Azure Mountain, it is referred to as a short and easy family hike. Clearly, none of these people have children or asthma. Let’s just say this… I use Azure as my “conditioning mountain.” Does that get the point through? Unless you want your loved ones and kids to hate hiking forever-after, I would skip this one for a first go. (Yes, I have recommendations of where to start.) With that being said, it’s also my favorite mountain to hike. I know…it’s complicated.

(Henry’s first hike…Azure. He was NOT a fan of hiking for a long while after that… Even though he did amazing. It was a lot at age 5.)

If you’re seeking an “invigorating” hike with stunning views, then hiking Azure Mountain is an adventure worth taking. It’s is a popular hiking destination that offers a challenging climb and breathtaking (literally and figuratively) views of the surrounding area. Keep in mind when I say, “challenging climb,” I mean that.

The trailhead is located just off Blue Mountain Road just outside of St. Regis Falls, and the hike is relatively short but steep, with a 900-foot ascent to the summit. The trail is well-maintained and marked, and there are several resting spots along the way where hikers can catch their breath and take in the scenery. Believe me, unless you are one of those robotic trail runner types (who I am genuinely impressed by), you’re going to need space and time to breath. Alltrails lists the average time that it typically takes hikers an average of 90 minutes start to finish. I call, “Bullshit!” on that one. I have gotten my time down to 55 minutes to climb up in the summer/fall time, and 80 minutes to get up snowshoeing in the winter. It really all depends on the trail conditions. The trail can be slippery and muddy, especially after rainfall. In the winter, you would for sure need snowshoes. (Please don’t post hole. Yet another blog to be written on what that is.) Admittedly, I like to hang out at summits for a bit, so that does extend my time.

The summit of Azure Mountain is the highlight of the hike. From the top, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the Adirondack Mountains and the surrounding wilderness. On a clear day, it is possible to see as far as the High Peaks region. The summit also features a fire tower, which offers an even better vantage point for taking in the views. I promise that all of your hard work getting up the mountain, will be fully rewarded.

Azure Mountain is a popular hiking destination, especially during peak season. Be prepared for crowds on weekends and holidays, and plan to arrive early to secure a parking spot at the trailhead. Since the trail is recommend widely to people all over the area, you will see a lot of people with the look of, “What the F am I doing?” as you come down the mountain. A good high five, and, “You’re almost there!” (even if they aren’t) is encouraged! I would hesitate bringing loved ones with limited mobility. THOUGH, they can totally do it, just encourage and support them, and always let them know there is no time limit to get to the top. This is not a technically challenging mountain skill-wise, but it will indeed give you a good cardio, leg, and lung burn.

Hiking Azure Mountain is a must-do experience. The challenging ascent and stunning views make it a rewarding adventure. The summit is truly one of the most beautiful summits all year round. It’s a perfect place to hike with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich reward at the top. Plan on hanging out, taking some amazing pictures, and adventure up the firetower. Bonus, if you want a killer sunrise/sunset, this is your mountain. (Just make sure you have flashlights/headlamps/extra batteries…Please don’t rely on your phone battery to light the way, because inevitably, that is when your battery will lose power. Don’t get me started on hiking without light sources…)

There are several other activities to enjoy in the surrounding areas. Malone is about 30 minutes northeast. If you are visiting in winter, Titus Mountain is a popular skiing area. If you are looking for some flat trails after burning your legs out, visit 30 minutes southeast to Paul Smith’s The VIC for fantastic trails and occasional events. And if you are looking for a bite to eat afterwards, check out Deer Valley Trails Restaurant right down the road. Typically, they are closed Monday thru Wednesdays. They have great food and an beautiful atmosphere. You can sit and look out a wall of windows and watch dozens of deer hang out and graze. It’s truly a memorable dining opportunity.

If you really enjoy climbing fire towers and like earning patches for your hard work, check out the Adirondack/Catskills Fire Tower Challenge!

 

All joking and sarcasm aside, I absolutely adore Azure mountain. I laugh saying that is seems to be a “right of passage” as people are getting into hiking to do this first. Most people can laugh about it later! It might be small, but it’s certainly mighty!

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on Azure. How did you come about doing Azure? Was it a first hike for you? What season is your favorite to climb it? Do you have any fun Azure memories? Please leave a comment and share with us!