Coastal Tales: Lyon Mountain’s Deepest Depths and Greatest Heights

October 6, 2020

Lyon Mountain, a cross-point between Dannemora Village and Chateaugay, has always proudly embodied the “hard-knock life”, even in its hay day during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Back then, mining families came from far and wide, building a population of around 3,000 — recruited from Ellis Island — to excavate iron ore from beneath the Dannemora hamlet. 


Lyon Mountain Mining and Railroad Museum

Labor-intensive conditions and nationalities-at-odds defined the landscape of what would become a locally-famous community melded together by the Republic Steel Corporation.

The iron from Lyon Mountain was known throughout the country for its purity, and has contributed to the construction of famed national structures like the Golden Gate, Brooklyn and George Washington bridges.

Fans of old cars are impressed by the iron’s presence in Model A Fords. It’s also been found in military equipment from the world wars, as well as in the 500-lb. world-record-setting bobsled, “Ironshoes”, which can be seen on display at Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack History Museum).

What else can you make out of iron ore? “Fine cutlery, top-quality scissors and tableware, telegraph lines, wire ropes, hoop skirts, and barbed-wire fencing,” according to the New York Almanack.

In 1967, the mines closed for good, leaving behind the dust of what’s now considered its “golden age”. 

When it’s reopened in 2021, visitors can unearth this history for themselves at the Lyon Mountain Mining Museum, located in the old railroad station, where European immigrants once arrived in droves, hailing from Sweden, Italy, Poland, Ireland and elsewhere, comprising 20 different nationalities, in search of a brighter tomorrow on American soil.

Evidence of unifying traditions, like the community baseball team, can still be seen today, in the shadow of the Adirondack Coast’s tallest “not-quite-high-peak” at an elevation of 3,830 ft.


A fun fact: Lyon Mountain is technically taller than at least one of the traditional high peaks, not all of which — plot twist — actually reach their claimed elevation of 4,000 ft. or higher. 

Regardless, it’s the tallest point in Clinton County. Hikers descend Lyon Mountain remembering its picturesque summit and iconic firetower, which is included in the Adirondack Mountain Club’s 30-mountain Firetower Challenge, spanning the Adirondacks and the Catskills.

If you’re a beginner, this is the hike to work towards. It’s a challenging year-round climb, but one with unforgettable 360-degree views of New York, Vermont and Quebec.

Photo Credit: Ben Bradford

During the summer and fall months, adventurers bike the mountain, while in the winter backcountry skiers can be seen gliding across the trails, of which there are two. One trail is older and a steeper climb at about 5 miles up and down; the other trail is 6.4 miles both ways, a more casually scenic option. Both options are accessible when starting out from the main trail head.

There’s also a spring at the top of Lyon Mountain, known to make parts of the rugged and narrow climb on the older trails a bit muddy, so be sure to dress accordingly, be cautious and always, ALWAYS remember to leave no trace - keep our outdoors clean so that we can all enjoy many more hikes to come.


Have an adventurous tale to tell? We’d love to hear it! Have a pic or video that truly captures your experience? Even better! Share your content with us on our official Adirondack Coast social media pages.

Alina Walentowicz

Alina Walentowicz is "The Write Stuff", an award-winning writer and content creator ready to bring your web presence to the next level. A storyteller at heart, Alina combines a range of writing tools and collaborative experiences to help small businesses embrace their growth potential online. With a B.A. in English Writing Arts and Literature from SUNY Plattsburgh (2015) and 4+ years of experience in blogging and digital content creation, she provides writing, editing, and visual content services including blogs, web pages, social media posts, and more. When she's not clicking away at her keyboard, she's living life (and so should you!). Some of her favorite things to do on the Adirondack Coast include: catching a show at The Strand Theatre, overindulging in Wing Night at Monopole, and challenging herself just enough each summer on a few friendly hikes and paddles with pretty spectacular views. Know a good story that needs telling online? Hit her up at

Adirondack Coast Adventures

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