Indian Head (Adirondacks)

One of the most deservedly beloved and famously scenic hikes in the Adirondacks.

Hike Length: 9.0 miles (14.48 km)

Total Ascent: 1,650ft (503m)

Intensity: Moderate Adirondacks Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail, Rock Scrambles, Road Walk

Parent Indian Head (ADK)

Similar Entries In: Adirondacks, The Best Hikes, The Moderate Hikes, The Most Popular Hikes, , , , , .

View of Ausable Lakes from Indian Head in the Adirondacks

View from Indian Head

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 A straightforward out-and-back with many fun sections.

The hike to Indian Head Adirondacks takes you deep into the heart of the ADK High Peaks, where the serene beauty of the region is on full display.

One of the most distinctive features of the Indian Head Adirondacks hike is its vantage point overlooking two pristine mountain lakes: Lower Ausable Lake and Upper Ausable Lake. These glimmering bodies of water, cradled by the mountains, create a picture-perfect setting that photographers and nature enthusiasts cherish.

The Indian Head Adirondacks hike offers both challenges and rewards. With its varying terrain and elevation gains, it’s an ideal adventure for those seeking a memorable trek. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, the trail accommodates a range of skill levels, making it accessible to all who wish to explore its wonders.

So, prepare your hiking gear, pack your sense of wonder, and venture into the Adirondacks to experience the Indian Head hike—an adventure that promises unforgettable moments amidst the captivating beauty of the Adirondacks.

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Indian Head Adirondacks Hike

The Indian Head hiking trail includes…

  • Relatively easy mountain trails
  • A short mountain ladder
  • One of the most famous views in the northeast
  • Enormous double-ledge
  • Incredible views of the surrounding high peaks
  • Access to Rainbow Falls to extend your hike
  • Access to the Lower Great Range to really extend your hike


Somewhat confusingly, there are several Indian Heads in New York State. This trail guide is for Indian Head Adirondacks. (See also Indian Head in the Catskills at the eastern end of The Devil’s Path. Extremely confusingly, there is also an Indian Head overlook—which is a ledge, not a mountain—in the Catskills!)

Adirondack Mountain Reserve gate

Indian Head Permit

From May 1 until Oct 31, advance reservation is required to park at the AMR lot. This is the only way to access this hike. Visit for full details and to secure your parking reservation for Indian Head.

Indian Head Adirondacks Parking

See the bottom of this page for precise location information and a Google Map link.

Indian Head Difficulty

Allow 4-6 hours for this hike. This hike is not technically difficult. However, at nine miles total, and 1650 feet of elevation gain with a few short scrambles, I’ve marked it as moderately challenging. A full breakdown is provided in the trail notes below, with 16 spectacular photos.

Indian Head Hike Notes & Gallery

Unbelievably, on a weekend summer’s day, I had the entire main ledge to myself for at least 30 minutes. I lay down on the bare rock and had a short nap!

It really is the most absolutely amazing spot, and it rewards a long stay, with several very cool angles from multiple levels. The views all around are literally stunning…

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Similar Hikes

With its long hike in to a large ledge that offers an amazing mountain/water view, the Indian Head Adirondacks route reminds of the hike to Wittenberg in the Catskills.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Indian Head (ADK).

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Large parking area that May through October requires advance reservation via

Google Maps Location: 44.149884, -73.767865

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

You should allow for having zero cell service for the duration of this hike. My network is Verizon. YMMV.