Today was sunny and 60 and likely to be the last warm day of the year so I had to get outside.  Elmore State Park was the destination since I knew there was a fire tower with good views.  The gate was even open to drive right to the trailhead, although the park is already closed for the season.

We went up the Fire Tower Trail, which ran along a woods road for a while before turning into the woods and ascending more steeply.  There was a view of the lake on the way up which had some structural remains, including a cellar hole and old stove, from the old fire lookout’s cabin.

The trail got rockier for the last stretch to the summit of Elmore Mountain at 2608′ and we immediately climbed into the fire tower.  There was a brisk wind but I had gotten so warm coming up that it felt nice.  The views were fantastic in all directions.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mount Mansfield’s face profile so well.

The little cabin at the top of the fire tower was getting crowded as more people kept coming up without waiting for anyone to go down, so we climbed back down.  We followed the Ridge Trail back down to make a loop so we could see Balanced Rock as well.  It’s a large rock left in a seemingly precarious position by a melting glacier long ago.  Even though you can see underneath it that it’s barely touching the ground, it’s been that way for a long, long time.

Elmore Mountain was a perfect hike pick for a beautiful day.  The loop was a little over 4 miles total.