Caledonia County High Point Trip Report

Signal Mtn

Date: Summer 1994
Author: Jay Meyer

This is a long, difficult, and meandering trip. Furthermore, the actual summit is very difficult to reach due to thick vegetation. However, there are some nice views north to Spruce Mountain and Groton State Park from the partially open saddle between Signal Mountain and Burnt Mountain (a side peak); that saddle would be an attractive back country camp site (PLEASE practice low impact camping!). Note also that a significant portion of this route crosses private land, so please be considerate of the landowner.

My route started and ended at the L.R. Jones State Forest parking lot in Plainfield, at the base of the trail to Spruce Mountain. Because my ascent followed a very poor route, I am describing (in reverse) the much better route that I used to return.

From the L.R. Jones parking lot, follow the Spruce Mountain Trail northeast, then southeast, then east for approximately 3/4 miles. As you climb gradually, you will see a side trail (apparently an old logging road) heading off uphill to the right (southwest). Take that trail, which ends in approximately 1/4 mile at a junction with another logging road. Turn left onto that other logging road, and head east for approximately 1/2-3/4 miles until the road ends. At the end of the road, you should be able to see some red blazes marking the L.R. Jones State Forest boundary. Follow those blazes southwest (downhill), crossing a small brook. After approximately 1/4 - 1/2 miles of sometimes difficult bushwhacking, crossing a small brook, you run into an old power line route which is partially open; you will see a few power poles still standing. Continuing straight (still southwest) a short distance past the power line, you will come out onto a logging road which is quite clear and in relatively good condition. Note that you are now on private land. Turn right (southwest) and proceed downhill a short distance on that logging road, over a stream crossing, then steeply uphill a short distance to a junction with another good logging road. Turn left (east) onto that road, which follows a contour on the north side of Colby Hill. After approximately 1/4-1/2 mile, you will enter a clearing on the east side of Colby Hill. A very old logging road, in poor condition, leaves the east corner of that clearing (do not confuse this with another road that leaves the south side of the clearing, ending in a short distance at an interesting bog).

Now the real fun begins. The old logging road leads east all the way from the clearing to the saddle between Signal and Burnt Mountains. It is featured on USGS topo maps of the area. However, the road is VERY eroded and wet, so much so that you will definitely want good waterproof boots as you hop from rock to rock up the road. Nevertheless, the road provides a somewhat clear route nearly all the way to the summit of Signal Mountain. As you get onto the mountain's northwest slope, the road starts to turn to the right (southeast) and gets steeper and a bit rougher. But eventually you will come out onto the partially open saddle. From that saddle, you can find a decent game trail which heads southwest along the height of the ridge to the wooded summit of Burnt Mountain. Getting to the summit of Signal Mountain is much more difficult. You will need to bushwhack east from the saddle, up a rocky, mossy slope, through dense undergrowth, until you come out on the wooded summit plateau. I could not find any marked peak, although I went to the highest point that I could find. Note that when I visited in the summertime, this summit plateau was infested with LOTS of extremely annoying black flies which drove me crazy except when I was moving. Enjoy!

Reverse to return.

Make sure you bring a good map and compass, and a GPS receiver, too, if you have one. A long-sleeved shirt and long pants, good boots, and lots of water are also critical, as are sheer grit and good senses of direction and humor. When bushwhacking, please be aware of your impact and DO NOT LEAVE TAPE OR OTHER MARKERS.