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Hiking in Adirondack Park
Indian Head and
Fish Hawk Cliffs
This hike feature views of both Ausable Lakes and the surrounding mountains, including Sawteeth, Mount Colvin, Nippletop as well as most of the Great Range. A hike to Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs is completely located on the private lands of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). There are rules and regulations that you must follow if you intend to do this popular, however long round-trip hike of over nine miles with an elevation gain of over 1400 feet.
The rules and regulations begin with where you are allowed to park. You must park at the public lot along NY 73 located across from the Roaring Brook trailhead to Giant Mountain. Both parking areas are very popular, so be prepared for an alternate destination if the parking areas are filled. There is no parking along the roads and no vehicular traffic allowed on AMR roads. Some other rules you will need to be aware of include NO DOGS or PETS are allowed on AMR property. There is NO CAMPING, FISHING or HUNTING allowed on AMR property. You must stay on the established trails as there is no bushwhacking allowed. There is NO SWIMMING allowed as well as bringing your own boat/kayak for the lakes. They DO NOT rent boats. I also believe that bikes are not allowed by hikers.
From the parking area follow the dirt road that becomes paved for 0.5 miles. Turn left between two tennis courts to reach the trail register. Then proceed past the gate along the private road. A long walk along Lake Road for nearly 3.3 miles, then turning left on the yellow marked Indian Head Trail. The trail soon climbs on switchbacks. After 0.3 miles reach a side trail on the right that will take you a nice view of the Gothics, known as "Gothics Window. Back on the Indian Head Trail continuing up switchbacks, soon you'll be climbing a ladder.
After passing under a cliff you have one last really steep section before reaching the ridgeline and a junction. Turn right at this junction and reach the bare ledges of Indian head in about 0.1 miles. Straight ahead from this junction is Fish Hawk Cliffs (reached in 0.2 miles). The trail on the left is the Gill Brook Trail, which is an alternate route for Indian Head from Lake Road. To find out more on this hike, the Gill Brook Trail as well many other hikes in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks, we recommend the hiking book High Peaks Trails by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). Great views await on this long hike. Be sure to take care while on the cliffs and follow the AMR rules & regulations. The map below features the hike to Indian Head via the Colvin Trail/Gill Brook Trail.
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