Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.95695 W74.69111
GettingThere: From the east exit State Route 17 at Exit 96W and turn right on DeBruce Road. Drive to the T intersection and turn right on Old Rt 17 toward Roscoe. Drive 1.3 miles to Beaverkill Road on the right. Exit State Route 17 at Exit 96E and turn right on White Roe Lake Road. Drive to the T intersection and turn right on Old Rt 17. Drive 1.2 miles to Beaverkill Road on the right. Turn right on Beaverkill Road and drive 20.4 miles to end of the Beaverkill Road. You will pass through the hamlets of Lew Beach and Turnwood where the road makes and almost 90 degree turn. At the end of the road turn right into the parking area.
Difficulty: This hike is rated STRENOUS even though it is only 4.3 miles because there is an elevation gain of 1208 feet The ascent up the steep side of the trail averages over a 25% grade!
Trail Surface: The trail consists of areas of dirt grass and small stones until the turn up the mountain. As you ascend the mountain the trail is rough and eroded in places. There are tree roots to walk around and larger rocks to step over.
Hike Description: Start your hike by walking north out of the parking area on the blue-blazed Dry Brook Ridge Trail and hike about .9 miles to a trail junction. Turn left on the red-blazed Balsam Lake Trail to begin your steep climb to the fire tower at the summit. The steepest part of the climb lasts for about .5 miles and you will gain almost 700 feet over that distance. Near the top of the climb a spur trail turns right and leads to a Len-to. Just passed this turn there is a spring and the last part of the climb to the summit plateau. At 1.5 miles the yellow Millbrook Ridge Trail turns off to the left. Continue for another .2 miles to the clearing which has a fire tower. The cab is open every weekend during the summer but the view from just below the cab is almost as good. The fire tower at the top offers a spectacular view in all directions. Balsam Lake Mountain is the westernmost in the Catskill Park and the tower offers an unhindered 360-degree view. Continue on the trail for about .75 miles and you will rejoin the Dry Brook Ridge Trail. The descent is more gentle than the ascent but does have some loose dirt which can cause hikers to slip. When you reach the trail junction with the Dry Brook Ridge Trail, turn right follow this trail 1.8 miles back to the trailhead. At 3.45 miles you will pass the Balsam Lake Trail on the right that you used earlier on your hike to the summit.