Tucked away in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York lies a hidden gem that every hiking enthusiast should have on their radar. Known as Indian Head, this scenic viewpoint boasts some of the most magnificent views in the entire Adirondacks. This detailed guide will provide everything you need to know about the Indian Head Adirondacks hike, helping you plan an unforgettable adventure.
1. An Overview of Indian Head Adirondacks
Despite not technically being a mountain — its elevation falls below the 2,500-foot benchmark — the Indian Head in Adirondacks affords vistas that are arguably more breathtaking than many higher peaks. Named for its unique topography resembling the profile of a Native American, the Indian Head offers panoramic views of Lower Ausable Lake and the surrounding High Peaks region.
The round-trip hike is approximately 10.4 miles long, making it a full day adventure that typically takes between 6 to 8 hours to complete. While the trail is not exceptionally steep, the challenge lies in the distance and the rugged terrain you’ll navigate.
2. Planning for Your Indian Head Adirondacks Hike
Preparation is a vital part of any successful hike. With the Indian Head Adirondacks hike being a day-long endeavor, ensure to pack plenty of water — a minimum of 2 liters is recommended — alongside energy-rich snacks and a lunch.
Good quality hiking boots are indispensable, given the trail’s rocky sections. A map and compass can also come in handy as trail markings become sparse beyond Lake Road. And of course, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the mesmerizing views from the top.
3. The Trail to Indian Head Adirondacks
Your adventure begins at the St. Huberts parking area, located off Route 73. Following a half-mile walk along a road, you’ll reach the Lake Road Gate and the trailhead. Sign in at the booth here, a measure that ensures your safety should any issues arise during the hike.
The trail starts along the privately owned Lake Road, offering a gentle, flat walk for the initial part of your hike. You’ll pass through enchanting forests and cross charming bridges over the Ausable River, with views of Lower and Upper Ausable Lakes enhancing the trail’s beauty.
After around 3.3 miles, you’ll spot a sign indicating the Gill Brook Trail to your left. This trail takes you towards Indian Head. A mile along the path, you’ll reach another junction leading you to Indian Head.
The final ascent may be slightly challenging as it’s steeper and rugged, but your efforts will soon be rewarded. As you reach the summit, panoramic views of Ausable Lakes and the encompassing High Peaks such as Gothics, Sawteeth, and Mount Marcy unfold — a spectacular reward for your efforts!
4. Important Considerations
Remember, the Indian Head Adirondacks hike traverses private property. This means camping, swimming, and off-trail travel are not permitted, and dogs are not allowed. It’s essential to respect these rules and ensure we “leave no trace” to help preserve this beautiful area for future generations to enjoy.
The Indian Head Adirondacks trail can get quite busy, particularly during summer and fall, so consider starting early to secure a parking spot and enjoy the trail in relative tranquility.
Indian Head in the Adirondacks is a true testament to the region’s natural beauty, offering an immersive experience in the heart of the wilderness and vistas that will remain etched in your memory long after the hike ends.
(Disclaimer: This blog post is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute travel advice. Always check for the most current information about destinations and trail conditions before you travel.)