A Half Dozen snowshoe destinations in the Indian Lake Region for the entire family
Indian Lake is home to some the finest snowshoeing available in Hamilton County ranging from tough excursions to perfect beginner destinations. If you are a bit more seasoned you could venture into the Little High Peaks Region and climb Snowy Mountain for a bit of a tougher outing. But if you are looking to have a fun family day out in the woods, these six places to go might be right up your alley.
Chimney's summit can be accessed along a 1.3-mile trail that starts at King Flow at the end of Big Brook Road. Chimney is famous for its massive underground cave system and in particular the Eagle Cave. But what also makes this mountain legendary is its unique rock feature called "The Chimney" which gives the mountain its name. The chimney can be easily accessed along the trail, roughly 0.5 miles short of the true summit, but leave the climbing of the chimney to the professionals. The true summit boasts some outstanding views, but if you wish to stop at the chimney, that's a great destination as well, and the views are also very nice.
Sawyer is one of the easier hikes in the region and its ease of access off Route 28 makes it a very popular destination. This 2-mile round-trip hike will bring you through the lovely hardwoods of the region and over easy to moderate terrain. Only one section of steeper ascending is needed to access the window view out toward the Little High Peaks Region and the Moose River Plains. The sheltered summit makes for a great spot to enjoy a lunch and hot cocoa without the need of shelter from cold driving winds.
Watch Hill is kind of one of those local secrets, but not really, it's just not well advertised. Located off Route 30 between Indian Lake and Speculator the trailhead finding will be the toughest part of the day. You will need to locate an old forest road roughly 1.5 miles past the Snowy Mountain Trailhead. This old woods road is the start of the trail, but no sign would make you the wiser. The trail does get a decent amount of winter activity from snowshoers so it helps to look for a broken trail in the deep snow. The old road is drivable in summer, but in winter it is unplowed. Once on the foot trail the route is not heavily marked but some signs are located at the trail intersections. There is a more direct and steep route up to the rocky overlook, but if you want a more moderate and less icy trail, be sure to use the longer and mellower approach that makes a long sweep up and along the ridge.
This quaint backcountry pond is located off Cedar River Road and surely gets ample use by snowshoers. This less than 1-mile round trip snowshoe adventure is easy and short enough to combine with one of the others on this list. The trail never really has much change in elevation change from car to pond, so take your time and enjoy the scenery and maybe pack a light lunch to enjoy at the shore.
Clear Pond can be found off from Wilderness Lane, which is located off a maze of roads from Big Brook Road. The trail gets a decent amount of activity in the winter especially from cross-country skiers. This 2.25 miles roundtrip snowshoe will bring you toward the heart of the Pigeon Lake Wilderness Area. The trail itself is a very easy one but it does have a bit of ascent near the middle as you crest the shoulder of an unnamed bump separating you from John Pond.
This pond can be accessed from two locations, one is from King Flow, which is a much longer approach and used much less as it is honestly a bit hard to follow at times. The other approach is from Wilderness Lane near the trail for Clear Pond. This 2.2 mile trail to the Shore of John Pond is a bit longer than the others in this list, but the terrain is easy to overcome. Keeping John Pond Brook on your right, you have the option to check out some interesting ice formations as well as have the occasional babbling sound in your ears. There is a nice lean-to located on John Pond for the perfect spot to relax and have a nice lunch, and maybe start a small fire to warm up with and have a hot cup of cocoa.
Indian Lake is not short on Adirondack snowshoeing destinations but be sure to check out other hamlets in Hamilton County to see what they have to offer the entire family. Also, be sure to check out what we can do for you to make your stay as comfortable as possible.