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Old 12-04-2019, 12:33 AM   #1
saabrian
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Poke-O

Are there any views from the Poke-O-Moonshine summit without going up the fire tower? Is the Observers Trail a good snowshoe? Stuff I've read would suggest so but wanted to get a 2nd opinion.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:25 AM   #2
DSettahr
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Yes, there's open rock ledges on the summit with nice views to the east and south that can be enjoyed without climbing the tower.

The Observer's Trail (the slightly longer route from the south) follows an old road and could definitely make for a nice snowshoe ascent.

The Ranger Trail (the slightly shorter route from the east) ascends directly up the rocky/ledgey terrain on the east side of the mountain. It can get icy (and dicey), especially earlier while we're still in the shoulder season. (FWIW though, I've not climbed this trail since the DEC put a lot of work into this trail a few years ago- namely stone staircases.)

Poke-O-Moonshine in December
Poke-O-Moonshine in July
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:22 PM   #3
Makwa
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View from ground level on the Poke-O-Moon summit is quite nice. Plenty of scenery to enjoy without climbing the tower.

I have snowshoed the Observer's Trail. Definitely worth a visit. Not too difficult. I have not been up the Ranger Trail in winter but was on it this past summer which was after the work to the trail was complete. There are numerous switchbacks that made the climb much easier than it looked on the map. Hard to guess what it might be like in winter but personally I wouldn't hesitate to choose the route. It's not so steep that you'd worry about tackling it in winter. But... not sure what others might do in winter. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Oberver's Trail being the preferred route and be broken out whereas the Ranger Trail may be less traveled and require breaking trail. Just not sure.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:41 AM   #4
saabrian
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thanks both for the insight. I tried to go up the Ranger Trail a bunch years ago and it was super steep. i didn't make it up because it started pouring and I slipped and pulled my hamstring about 1/3 of the way up and turned back. So good to hear they made some improvements.
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Old 12-21-2019, 07:41 PM   #5
Makwa
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Hiked the Ranger Trail today. Plenty of folks using that route so probably no concern about it be broken out unless you go right after a big dump of snow.

Some icy spots along the cliffs down low. Nothing perilous. Soft-ish ice right now that microspikes worked just fine on. The first half of the trail is more of a staircase than I had remembered. Throw a foot of snow over it all and it'll be a nice ramp the whole way. However, might be tricky if you catch it if/when it's solid ice.

One giant icy spot above the lean-to/ below the summit that takes some care to safely negotiate but that spot always seems to be icy and is on the route no matter which trailhead you choose. Could be walked around far to the right of the ice if need be.
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