QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: N/A
- Trail Mileage: 1.2 miles to first summit, 2 miles to view, 4.8 miles round trip
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: moderate
- Sights: views, Fitts Pond
Blackcap Mountain is a 1,018-foot mountain with a long ridgeline. The elevation gain is about 800 feet. I recommend walking beyond the summit towers, which you reach at roughly 1.2 miles, for another .7 miles or so to the far southern end of the ridge. At the roughly 1.9-mile mark, look for a very short trail to the left that takes you to a clifftop with a beautiful view. If you start steeply descending an open ledge, you’ve gone a touch too far.
You can pick up the trailhead in Camp Roosevelt, next to Fitts Pond. During the summer when the camp is in session, you should check in with the camp staff before starting your hike. A kiosk (that was bare when we visited) marks the trailhead. Very soon after starting you walk across a small bridge and continue .4 miles around the pond until you get to an intersection and the trail system’s first sign. The sign indicates you can continue straight on the trail to circumnavigate the pond, or head right to start the ascent up Blackcap Mountain. It’s .8 miles from this point to the summit and tower equipment.
After turning right at this intersection, you continue to follow the old painted blazes up the mountain. At about .25 miles, you’ll cross a dirt road (you should turn left on the road and walk a few feet to the footpath that continues on the right). Then the way gets quite steep for about ~.4 miles before mellowing out. Close to the summit, you’ll reach another wide track, which you follow left to the tower equipment. There’s a nice view here to the east.
But don’t turn back here! If you can, continue following the path—marked intermittently with blazes and tags—along the relatively flat ridge of the mountain. At 2 miles, skirt left to a very steep cliff—be very careful—for beautiful northern and northeastern views.
After this point, we found the remainder of the loop trail difficult to follow in winter. It curves around the cliff and makes its way underneath the ledge and back through the woods to the pond. Thank goodness a solo hiker had hiked here just an hour or so before us who seemed to have a good sense of the lay of the land. We followed her footsteps faithfully back to the pond, every once in a while spotting a blaze on a tree.
When you get back to Fitts Pond, you can go either direction around the lake to return to the trailhead. I highly recommend in the warmer months going right and skirting the pond’s eastern shore, since I saw some great spots from which to launch your tired, hot self into the water. (But I didn’t do the full circuit around the lake so can’t vouch for the western side. I assume there are swimming spots there, as well? There is a campsite.) The thing about swimming after you hike on the eastern side of the pond is you have the sun on your side….
Note: The Blackcap Mountain and Fitts Pond trail is blazed with old blue blazes, which could use a bit of updating. As it was winter, with snow disguising the path, we often had to search for a few minutes to locate the next blaze.
Directions: The trailhead is on Camp Roosevelt Road. Park at Roosevelt Scout Camp’s large parking area, next to Fitts Pond. You’ll see a small kiosk to the right of a small boat ramp; the trail begins behind it. The trail skirts the western shore of the pond for .4 miles to an intersection for Blackcap Mountain summit.