This trail offers a nice loop option within Sterling Forest State Park. You'll get nice views of the lake, hike past marshes and rivers, and be able to climb a fire tower to get some great panoramas.
This nice loop trail allows you to enjoy Sterling Lake, Greenwood Lake, and great views from the Sterling Forest Fire Tower. This description leads hikers counterclockwise. From the visitors' center where you can park you'll have to start along the Sterling Lake Trail
which is a road at first. Look for the trail near a gate on the left on the side of a hill. Start the loop going northwest on the orange-blazed Bare Rock Trail
. Continue on orange up the hill and pass by the Blue Trail
(note - to do the shortest possible loop to the fire tower, you could take the Blue Trail
The Bare Rock Trail
will join up with the green-blazed West Valley Trail
for about a quarter of a mile and then branch off on it's own to the northwest. (Note: you can take West Valley Trail
south to the Red Trail
to shorten this loop). Stay on West Valley Trail
for a nice viewpoint over Greenwood Lake.
Next, you'll meander up a hill and back down before joining the red-blazed Fire Tower Trail
. Make a sharp turn north and join the Fire Tower Trail
. After a short distance, it will make a turn back south again. After a half mile of going south, you'll meet up with the Blue Trail
. The blue and red-blazed Fire Tower Trail
will join shortly and head northeast up the steep hill to the Fire Tower. You should be able to climb to the top of the fire tower for the best views.
Once you are done taking in the views from the top of the fire tower, find where the red and blue trails split and continue on the red section east and down the hill. The red trail will turn south briefly before splitting into two trails. Take the northern branch downhill to the Sterling Lake Trail
and back to the visitors' center.