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Old 05-23-2021, 10:10 PM   #1
ChrisM
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Hiking around Indian Lake

Good evening,

My family and I are going to be in Indian Lake on the first of June.

I was inquiring into good recommendations for hiking possibilities around the lake and the surrounding area.

As always, I thank everybody for their time and help.
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Old 05-24-2021, 08:32 AM   #2
Dave Bourque
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Lots of ideas and maps here;

https://www.adirondack.net/hiking/ch...-lake-4-3-2-1/
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Old 05-24-2021, 11:32 AM   #3
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Chimney Mountain is a popular spot, but very interesting if you like odd rock formations and caves and don't mind some people around. I don't know what the current trailhead access situation is with the private land being for sale, it used to be a $2 parking fee but I haven't been there in 5 years. Snowy Mountain is also nice, it's on the other side of the lake and has more views, but is a lot longer climb. You're right on the east side of the West Canada Lakes Wilderness which has lots of more remote hiking if you like that.
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Old 05-24-2021, 12:25 PM   #4
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Siamese Ponds Wilderness
+
Okay Slip Falls
Moxham Mountain
Sawyer Mountain
Wakely Mountain
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Old 05-24-2021, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thank you very much gentleman for all the great suggestions.

As a follow up, I was looking at Pillsbury Mountain.

Does anyone know anything about that?

Thanks again.
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Old 05-24-2021, 05:57 PM   #6
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Pillsbury's a nice hike - likely more solitude than other fire towers. When I hiked it about a year ago, Old Military Rd. was washed out and impassable. According to DEC, that is still the case.

https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9199.html

You'll likely have to park at Sled Harbor which adds a 1.5 mile road walk to the beginning and end of the hike.
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:41 AM   #7
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John Pond loop is always a favorite.

https://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=27380
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Old 05-25-2021, 09:01 AM   #8
Dave Bourque
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Go to the Indian Lake 4-3-2-1 page that I listed above. Download the two pages of trail descriptions and the tally sheet. Call the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce and they will mail you the map or stop in and get one yourself. There are 38 hikes in the Indian Lake area listed, many mentioned above. The hikes are sorted from easy to hard.
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Old 05-25-2021, 11:15 AM   #9
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Are you bringing a canoe? There’s a really nice out and back on the Cedar River to Pashley Falls. You could hike the xc ski trail to the falls, but paddling the river is waaaay better.
And with a boat, you can cut across Indian and reach the trailhead for Baldface Mt.
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Old 05-25-2021, 11:20 AM   #10
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I'll second Snowy Mountain with emphasis that it is a longer and tougher hike. It's only a few hundred feet shy of High Peaks status (and in fact it is higher than some of the actual High Peaks).

Wakely might be a slightly easier option.

If you're looking for something flat, Rock Pond and Long Pond in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness- accessed via the Speculator Tree Farm- is a nice hike, albeit a longer drive from Indian Lake (but you mentioned Pillsbury which is a similarly long drive so this may not be an issue for you).

I've heard good things about Peaked Mountain but I've yet to actually make it up there.

It would also be a bit of a drive but Moxham Mountain isn't too far away and has stupendous views for the effort.
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:28 PM   #11
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Blue Mountain is very close and probably an easier hike than Snowy or Wakely. I find it easier than Wakely.
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Old 05-25-2021, 11:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
Blue Mountain is very close and probably an easier hike than Snowy or Wakely. I find it easier than Wakely.
Although that may be true on paper, it never seems to amaze me how people perceive Blue as grueling. My aunt climbed all three and swears Blue is harder. Most people I know get tripped up by the second half of the climb were the trail swings up the ridge in a nonstop 800 foot moderate to steep climb. I ask them, "Don't you remember the violent 1450 foot climb up Snowy on the last mile, especially the last 500 near the top", nope Blue was terrible. Maybe they underestimate Blue, thinking it's only 2 miles and they get caught off guard on the push up the ridge. The other thing is Snowy and Wakely have a few short reprieves on their end climbs and the trail switches and varies on pitch. Blue's second half is nonstop. By the way most maps of Snowy's trail seem to be outdated. There is a reroute near the top. It has a primary switch back at around 3200'. You can see it on Caltopo and many GPS plotted trips. Just by climbing in person you notice it. If you switch to many common maps including the USGS it looks very different. The trail is shown to veer more south.

I climbed Ampersand last fall. I measured the steepest section up the drainage as 800 feet, from 700-950 meters. It was nonstop. That stretch was the longest 800 feet I ever climbed and I got sick to my stomach. It was worth it though.

Last edited by Lonehiker; 05-26-2021 at 01:07 AM..
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:27 PM   #13
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Don't forget Castle Rock and Watch Hill. Castle Rock has a great view of Blue Mountain Lake. Chimney is amazing, especially if you find the herd path to it's bald summit. You face Bullhead Mountain in the back. I prefer Wakely and Snowy over Blue. Remember Snowy and Wakely are over 3 miles in length one way and over 1500 feet of ascent. There is a fire tower on both. People will often miss the one on Snowy, because they think the cliff on top is the end of the trail. It continues on the left into the woods when you reach the cliff clearing on top. Wakely has a superb woods walk, nice in the fall, then you face the final 1200 foot ascent. It's more remote with incredible views from the fire tower. The tower is among the tallest, listed as 70 feet tall from footers to the cab floor and is well beyond the tree line. I don't know if Owlshead qualifies here, but it's another fire tower mountain in Long Lake. That one has a unique multi peak summit with large spanning cliffs. Along with Peaked Mountain there is nearby Balm of Gilead and the Garnet Mines.

For the Hudson Gorge you have OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledges.

In Summary of commonly hiked peaks:

Pillsbury- Fire Tower
Snowy- Fire Tower
Watch Hill
Sawyer
Wakely- Fire Tower
Blue- Fire Tower
Castle Rock
Baldface- Paddle approach
Chimney
Peaked
Balm of Gilead
Moxham

some more distant fire towers along 28N, through Long Lake, Newcomb, and North Creek:

Owlshead
Vanderwhacker
Goodnow

Gore is another one at North Creek. However it's ~5 miles one way using the Schaefer Trail and is a 2500 foot ascent. It's a complex trail that opens up on the ski runs on top. I say complex, because it has several junctions, service roads and parallel ski trails to watch for. There is a lot of ground covered and so far the trail is rarely shown correctly on a map. Maybe that has changed. The tower is closed last I knew. There are a few small waterfalls along the way up Roaring Brook.

Last edited by Lonehiker; 05-26-2021 at 01:48 AM..
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Old 05-26-2021, 07:58 AM   #14
montcalm
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Not to argue because I know everyone is different, but for me, Blue seems like a steady, but moderate climb. Wakely OTOH seems flat until it's not, and then it's steep, and it stays that way until you reach the summit.

I think on Blue you go like 1200 in a mile. On Wakely it's like 1200 in a half mile.
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:29 AM   #15
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I've only climbed each of those mountains once, but my memory of Blue is that it felt like walking up a steep roof for a long stretch, just a continuous solid rock slope, and that Wakely was more broken up into uneven steps, which I find a little easier.
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Old 05-26-2021, 04:42 PM   #16
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I've only climbed each of those mountains once, but my memory of Blue is that it felt like walking up a steep roof for a long stretch, just a continuous solid rock slope, and that Wakely was more broken up into uneven steps, which I find a little easier.
Exactly
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:13 PM   #17
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Not to argue because I know everyone is different, but for me, Blue seems like a steady, but moderate climb. Wakely OTOH seems flat until it's not, and then it's steep, and it stays that way until you reach the summit.

I think on Blue you go like 1200 in a mile. On Wakely it's like 1200 in a half mile.
Blue's first mile is 600' of gain. The second mile is 900' of gain. The trail levels off half way and even dips gently into a drainage. It crosses the drainage, turns left through heavy erosion (like a trench), and starts to climb up the ridge, gradually intensifying. I negated the ~150' gain on the summit plateau to only focus on the rigorous climb from the state wild forest line at 2800' elevation to the 3600' elevation. That happens in a little over a half mile. Caltopo is my source. https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=43.8...443&z=15&b=mbt Why the trail entrance sign says 1300 foot gain, I don't know. Contour maps show it's more.

Wakely is 1200 feet from the junction to the summit https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=43.7...724&z=16&b=mbt. Caltopo says it happens in .77 miles using the measuring tool and the tower is at .9. However, I think it measures as the crow flies without counting the vertical component. It always falls short by a few tenths compared to what the ADK mountain club and NatGeo Map numbers say. They say it's 1-1.1mi

I agree, Wakely is harder. The point I was getting at, is during the climb there are many small quasi switchbacks which can change someone's perception and experience of the climb. People tell me all the time about "that horrible second stage of Blue". It amazes me too. I actually like that second stage climb. It helps me practice pacing and is good exercise.

Last edited by Lonehiker; 05-27-2021 at 02:15 AM..
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:20 AM   #18
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I was using very rough numbers.

I never really thought about the fact that people may find the "slab" climbing of Blue to be difficult, but thinking about, it makes sense. For me it was purely steepness. Neither are really that hard if you are decently fit, but I will say, if you're on the fence, Castle Rock has what I consider a really good view, albeit limited in range, and it's an easy climb physically. Also nothing boring about it with the castle cliff. We took my niece up when she was around 5 or so, and the steep part skirting the cliffs was a bit hard for her, but doable with help. Just something to think about with little kids. I climbed Blue the first time when I was a little kid and it was no issue. In fact I think I ran most of the way up... my Dad was none to excited about that.
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Old 05-27-2021, 10:41 AM   #19
ChrisM
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Recommendations

Gentleman,

For those who responded, thank you all very much.

I've only been a member of this forum for a short time, but it is always refreshing to see the amount of assistance and advice given on this site. If ever a future meeting occurs, the first whisky is on me.

Looks like potential hikes will be Watch Hill, John Pond Loop, and Pillsbury, for now.

To the dude who mentioned a paddle across Indian then up Baldface: I've always had that one in mind for years. Sadly, my father (longtime canoeing partner) passed away back in March from covid. Might have to invest in a solo canoe now, or drag a family member into our beat-up Royalex Old Town for a trip in memoriam.

Once again boys, thank you very much.
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Old 05-30-2021, 11:40 PM   #20
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Gentleman,

For those who responded, thank you all very much.

I've only been a member of this forum for a short time, but it is always refreshing to see the amount of assistance and advice given on this site. If ever a future meeting occurs, the first whisky is on me.

Looks like potential hikes will be Watch Hill, John Pond Loop, and Pillsbury, for now.

To the dude who mentioned a paddle across Indian then up Baldface: I've always had that one in mind for years. Sadly, my father (longtime canoeing partner) passed away back in March from covid. Might have to invest in a solo canoe now, or drag a family member into our beat-up Royalex Old Town for a trip in memoriam.

Once again boys, thank you very much.
For a shorter hike, I'd very strongly recommend Castle Rock over Watch Hill.

From the ones I've done in the area, my ranking in tiers of bang for your buck...

Tier 1
Castle Rock (shorter), Blue (longer)

Tier 2
Snowy (longer)

Tier 3
Watch Hill (shorter), Chimney (medium), Wakely (longer)

Edit: my avatar is my son and I at the top of Castle Rock many years ago.
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