While not all trails in the Indian Lake area are great for trail running, many you will find do fit the bill. Trail conditions and terrain play a huge roll in what's good and not-so-good. Trail running is a sport that is starting to hit the scene in a big way and what better place than here to start out trying something new. Are you a road runner? Maybe consider starting to venture off to the woods and hit the trails in search of a new endurance workout. The varied terrain is unlike what can be found when pounding pavement and with that, it works all different muscle groups -including those stubborn stabilizer muscles that you didn't even think you had.
As for the select Indian Lake destinations outlined below I hope you will find these as adequate points of interest. If you have never tried trail running before, maybe start off with an easier trail and work your way up to a more difficult one. The selected trails below all fall into a moderate category, mainly due to distance; the terrain is considered easy/moderate, just shorten the distance if it is too much.
Remember while trail running you have a good chance of getting dirty and wet, you may trip, you may fall, get bruised up, scratched up and damaged – but that is all part of the sport and a certain part that makes the sport that much more interesting and demanding. You will need to make split second decisions based on terrain, rocks, roots, mud, bridges, blow-down, stream crossings, and other people on the trail. So my recommendation to you is, try it and see if you like it. Don't buy special gear and clothing until you are sure the sport is for you. Consider food that you can take in small bites; energy bars, gels, chews, and chocolates. These will make it easier to get quick energy when you need it without having to take the time to stop. Carry plenty of water; handheld bottles work great but a bladder in a small pack seems to work the best. If you end up really liking the sport then consider going to a reputable gear/footwear shop and get fitted for a good pair of trail running shoes and maybe a small pack designed for running. Other gear such as compression socks and clothing can come later as you advance into the sport.
- 3.5 miles, Round Trip
From the road you will start your run along an old woods road with some areas of washed out conditions. As the road passes through a very green hardwood forest the terrain will steepen a bit as it climbs the shoulder of Cellar Mountain on your left. As you pass over the shoulder the trail becomes much narrower and turns into more of a foot trail than an old road. You will descend moderately to the shore of Cellar Pond.
Directions to The Cellar Pond Trailhead:
From the intersection of Routes 30 and 28 in Indian Lake, head west toward Blue Mountain Lake. Go a little over 2.0 miles to Cedar River Road, which will be on the left, just past the golf course and cemetery. Follow Cedar River Road to its end at the campsite and ranger cabin (approximately 12 miles). This is where the Moose River Plains Road starts (beyond the gate). Follow here for around 3.5 miles to a small Jeep trail, slightly grown up. The Jeep trail is not marked or signed; park someplace off the road.
Puffer Pond Loop
- 5.3 mile loop
From the trailhead you will start a very exciting run through an attractive forest. The terrain starts out flat, crosses a sizable brook, and follows along the shore of a wetland area. Not long after the wetland the trail begins to climb moderately to an intersection with the John Pond Trail. Continue straight and climb to a high saddle. Past the saddle the trail will descend to the Shore of Puffer Pond. Once at the pond take a right and follow the pond and then Puffer Pond Brook on an old carriage road. The trail stays fairly level as it sweeps hard north and comes out to where Kings Flow is within view on your left. The remainder of this is relatively flat and quite scenic. You will exit the trail out onto a grassy field at the trailhead parking.
Directions to The Puffer Pond Trailhead:
From the intersection of Routes 28 and 30 in Indian Lake follow Route 30 toward Lake Pleasant. Continue for just under 0.5 miles to Big Brook Road. Follow here for 7.8 miles to Kings Flow Parking Area. This is the trailhead for Chimney Mountain, Johns Pond and Puffer Pond. This is pay-to-use parking, very informal; pay the small fee at the little kiosk.
Rock River Trail
- 6.0 miles, Round Trip
The trail for Rock River is quite long and is simply an out-and-back – it could be shortened as you see fit. From the trailhead you will be on a lightly used trail that works its way up and over small hogbacks and rolling hills. Rock Pond will be to your left, but no trail leads to its shore. The trail stays higher to keep out of wetter conditions and sweeps through a hardwood forest. After 3-miles you will be at an attractive scenic destination on Rock River.
Directions to The Rock River Trailhead:
From the intersection of Routes 28 and 30 in Indian Lake follow Route 28/30 toward Blue Mountain Lake. Continue for 4.6 miles to the trailhead on the right.
Find comfortable lodging to stay the night after a great trail running adventure!