Exploring the Fox Mountain Tower Road near Austin, Pennsylvania is the trace recording of this hike, which is a moderate 8.1-mile out-and-back trek.
Fire towers were popular in the early 1900s as the primary way for spotting wildfires. Perched high on the mountain top, these manned towers provided an excellent view point for smoke columns and flames. There is no longer a fire tower on Fox Mountain. However, there is a gated forest road that tracks from the East Cowley Road to the summit of Fox Mountain (elevation 2408 feet) that was once used to access a fire tower.
The trail along the Fox Mountain Tower Road is a moderate walk, with a continuous gradual steepness for the 2.5 mile ascent. Near the top of the Fox Mountain Tower Road trail ascent turn right at the upper trail marker toward Gunners Run Road to find the summit of Fox Mountain. This is a 0.7 mile spur along the top ridge that trails to the summit of Fox Mountain. The summit has a clearing that appears to where the Fire Tower sat at one time. This clearing on top of the mountain has a large grassy opening usable for an awesome overnight campsite and indubitably, an excellent star gazing location.
On this day's hike, after returning back along the Fox Mountain spur trail, the hiker took a right turn at the trail markers toward Fee Hollow, to complete an out-and-back on an unmarked state forest logging road that tracks along the ridge line running to southwest toward the Sizerville State Park to the head of Fee Hollow. There are a number of unmarked logging roads, in this area so caution should be used when leaving the Fox Mountain Summit when heading to the southwest. Active logging was occurring on the day of this hike, and one log truck was seen and chainsaws were heard. The hiker may opt to turn left at top the trail markers at the top of Fox Mountain and return to East Cowley Road parking area of in order to shorten the distance by eliminating the out-and-back on an unmarked state forest logging roads.
The trails hiked along this route include the Fox Mountain Tower Road Trail and unnamed state forest logging road at the head of Fee Hollow.
Length and Difficulty
The Fox Mountain Tower Road Trail out-and-back, without hiking the additional logging road trails listed, is about 6.5-miles from start to finish, including the spur trail that leads to the summit. The difficulty should still be considered moderate because of the elevation gain along the path.
Hikers can find parking at the coordinates provided; next to the trailhead, along East Cowley Road. It is important not park in front of the gate across the Fox Mountain Tower Road, which would block authorized vehicles from using the state forest road.
Dogs are allowed if leashed.
Camping and Backpacking
Backpackers are allowed to camp off-trail only within the Elk State Forest section of this route. Backpackers need to follow the state forest rules and regulations for dispersed / primitive / backcountry camping. The clearing at the Fox Mountain summit, and probable location of the past fire tower, appears to provide the best camping opportunity.
Hikers can use water filters along the adjacent creeks along this hike at the lower elevations.
Water - This may seem obvious, but because you are on a mountain top, there are very limited water options. You need to bring adequate amounts of water with you to the summit of Fox Mountain. Bringing more than you think you will need; you will often find it’s the right amount.
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