Backpacking to Indian Head & Fish Hawk Cliffs

 You start by hiking up a two mile dirt road.

You start by hiking up a two mile dirt road.

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 The first outlook we came to on the trail

The first outlook we came to on the trail

 The second outlook we came to, right above the main cliffs & the first view of the Ausable Lakes

The second outlook we came to, right above the main cliffs & the first view of the Ausable Lakes

 Indians Head overlook from the top cliff

Indians Head overlook from the top cliff

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 The Gothics are up to the left in the shot.

The Gothics are up to the left in the shot.

 Me at the bottom cliff on Indians Head

Me at the bottom cliff on Indians Head

 Fish Hawk Cliffs to the bottom left of the shot

Fish Hawk Cliffs to the bottom left of the shot

 A full panorama of the Indian Head overlook looking out to the right. You can see how the lake wraps around.

A full panorama of the Indian Head overlook looking out to the right. You can see how the lake wraps around.

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 The fourth overlook we came to after leaving the main outlook. This is on top of Fish Hawk Cliffs

The fourth overlook we came to after leaving the main outlook. This is on top of Fish Hawk Cliffs

 View from Fish Hawk Cliffs

View from Fish Hawk Cliffs

 Our campsite right beside the creek. 

Our campsite right beside the creek. 

 Dinner!

Dinner!

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for directions for this hike click here

At the beginning of October, Michael and I headed to New York to do some backpacking and camping in the Adirondacks. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to swing the trip but we ended up having the free time so we packed up our gear and headed north. We left at 4:00am in the morning meaning we were up and moving at around 3:15am. I am SUCH a morning person and I can roll out of bed at any hour and go. For the first few hours of the trip Michael slept while I drove. It was such a gorgeous sunrise and the further north we got the more the colors started to change. Driving in it was sunny so while the colors looked gorgeous, they didn't really "'pop" until the skies became overcast. On this particular backpacking trip the odds were in our favor and the temperatures were cool and the sky was gray. The colors were neon and incredible! We started our hiking in the rain but it quickly stopped and we didn't get rained on again our whole time hiking. The trail winds beside a little mountain river and we saw quite a few fish in the water, I think Michael was kicking himself for not bringing his rod along. We also saw a pair of deer, a mama and a fawn. They stared at us with wide eyes and even walked towards us; we quickly hiked away. As tempting as it is to pet and feed wild animals (horses, ponies, deer, squirrels...) it's always best to leave wildlife wild.

The hike was a bit challenging towards the summit only because it's incredibly steep, one part even has a ladder you have to climb up to get up the rock face, and with backpacking packs on steep climbs are always a little more tedious. However, when we got up to the top of the mountain we were rewarded with view after view, the most spectacular being the view at the top of Indian Head. The lake wraps around the mountain and you can see for miles through the narrow valley. Below the cliffs you can also see the boat launch and we saw a tiny speck on the lake that was a kayaker. Michael waved to him but we doubt he saw us. We spent some time on the summit taking pictures and taking in the view. We had it to ourselves! Which is incredible considering the fact that it's one of the most popular hikes in the area... it probably helped that we hiked it during the week. After seeing all the overlooks we looped back down and around to the river and found a perfect campsite. Before taking off I dug through blogs to try and figure out where the best site would be. I got lucky and found a snipit of information that there was one campsite across the river. We found it and had it to ourselves! The river was low so crossing with our packs was incredibly easy and we got to listen to the water rushing by all afternoon and night. We made dinner and Michael relaxed by the water with a book. It was a very relaxing afternoon and evening. The next morning we rolled out of bed... errrr sleeping bags and lazily made breakfast before packing up camp and heading to our next destination!

I highly recommend this hike as a day hike or an overnight trip. The trail is very doable, but I would recommend if you are a beginner backpacker to maybe do one other hike with you pack before doing this hike. While it is mostly easy, there are a few steep sections and steep rock climbs up the side of the mountain as well as some pretty steep downhills when you loop back and around. Overall I really loved this hike and I'm so happy we picked this one! We had a few on our radar and weren't totally sure what we wanted to do until we got up there and decided... we both loved it!