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Indian Head and Rainbow Falls is a 11 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Keene, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October.

Length 11.0 mi Elevation gain 1,998 ft Route type Loop
Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Bridge out No dogs
Description
Waypoints (8)
Getting There

Note: The bridge that accesses Rainbow Falls is open as of 8/5 as is the East River Trail. ATIS sends a thank you to everyone as they worked hard on rebuilding the 50-year-old piers that were either leaning or crumbling. A great family hike. Park at St Huberts in Keene, follow Lake Rd from Ausable Club to Gill Brook Trail. This pristine trail is dotted with waterfalls and great views. The destination -- Indian Head -- has amazing, iconic Adirondack views. It's a long, but easy hike with no rock hopping or scrambles. Beware that no dogs are allowed and this restriction is strictly enforced. The parking is across the highway from the Roaring Brook access to Giant Mt. and is at the southerly of the two junctions of Rt. 73 and Ausable Rd. (not "Ausable Club Rd.") On a busy weekend, you will likely have to park on the highway. From the parking area, walk 1/2-mile up the road past a golf course. Just before reaching he large clubhouse, turn left and down between two tennis courts to the gate house and trail register.

The parking is across the highway from the Roaring Brook access to Giant Mt. and is at the southerly of the two junctions of Rt. 73 and Ausable Rd. (not "Ausable Club Rd.") On a busy weekend, you will likely have to park on the highway. From the parking area, walk 1/2-mile up the road past a golf course. Just before reaching he large clubhouse, turn left and down between two tennis courts to the gate house and trail register.

Weather
UV Index
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Reviews (789)
Photos (2174)
Recordings (594)
Completed (1780)
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Katie Daugherty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

I’ve hiked 4 high peaks so far and this view is unbeatable! Even though it’s not part of the 46, the views throughout this hike are incredible and 100% worth the longer mileage. I would definitely suggest taking one of the trails off lake road, much more scenic and less boring. We had originally planned to take the west river trail up and check out rainbow falls before getting up to Indian head, but we missed the turn off for that trail and took the gill brook trail instead. I really enjoyed this route because stopping at Rainbow falls on the way down made it much more enjoyable. This hike was very scenic the entire way walking along side of different rivers and terrain with some pretty quick and easy scrambling towards the top. Trails were really well maintained and marked, just make sure to keep an eye out for the trail markers because it is easy to go off trail if you aren’t paying attention. Also, loved how quiet this hike was, only saw 2-3 people the entire time on the trails and no large groups. I clocked in at a little over 12 miles with the walk to and from the car. We spent around 6.5 hours total, with some stops for pictures and a break at the top. Would definitely suggest bringing lots of snacks and water because it is a long day out there!

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Jessica Page
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
Hiking

Amazing view!

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Danni Murtaugh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

Breathtaking view! I will say the parking situation is annoying. We arrived around 10:30 am and the main parking and extra parking lots were full so we ended up parking about a mile down 73, which we kind of figured would happen since we got there later in the morning. Parking aside, we took lake rd up to the second sign for indian head, which was about 5 miles from where we parked. Then hiked up to indian head which was only about another mile. However, this view was totally worth it!

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Chris Manno
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Really enjoyed this trail. My advice for getting the best out of this trail- 1. Get there early. We did this hike on Saturday 9/19. We got to the parking lot at 7 and they were completely filled (both trail head parking and roaring brook parking across the street) which forced us to park further up on the side of 73 which was absolutely brutal coming back too. Straight up a mountain after an 11 mile hike is not ideal. 2. Leave Lake Road for the side trails. Heading towards the Indian Head- we ventured off to the gill brook trail. Much more of a hike than walking down a dirt road. You can take this route all the way to the Indian Head vista. You can also take the west river trail which will allow you to see another waterfall on your way back to avoid lake road. Personally wasn’t a fan of lake road and glad we did more of the scenic routes. 3. If your doing the vista, definitely check out rainbow falls. Not far to get to once you get back down to the lake road from indian head vista and 100% worth it. All around great hike. Not to strenuous but pretty rewarding. Worst part was coming back in lake road and walking back to the car(again there early).

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teresa gil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Amazing

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Kailyn Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

I loved the summit of this hike! It was totally worth it. I give this hike a 4 star because of the confusion of getting to the peak and the lack of actual mountain hiking. We arrived at 6am on Friday 09/18 and there was 2 parking spots left. The parking lot is small and there are many mountains to hike in this location so get there early if you don’t want added mileage to your hike. For those looking for details to get to the beautiful view of the lake with the mountain on each side ; take the road up to the club and head down lake road. From the parking lot to the trail head is about 4 miles (about 3 miles once you goes past the club). This is a beautiful dirt road with much scenery however I was disappointed that most of the hike was dirt road and not actually climbing the trail to the peak. You will see a sign that states “Indian head, fish hawk, and colden” this is the trail you want!!! Earlier in the dirt road is another sign for Indian head but I was told it does not bring you to the same summit with the lake in between two mountains. We didn’t try it so we aren’t sure. Another review on here states to head down to the dam and take the bridge to rainbow falls and “swing up” this is where our party was confused and we ended up taking the wrong trail and adding 1.5 miles to our hike; make sure to come back over the bridge and up to the Indian head sign after viewing the falls!!!!! The falls are totally worth the view and the little added mileage!! The actual hike from the trail head to the summit is about 1 mile. So this was another disappointment I had. It was a great hike; Easy and plenty of natural steps but it was just too short. The 4 mile dirt road back is nice and flat and easy but is dread after hiking Soo many miles in and up. Over all this is a great hike and a great peak but just be prepared to walk 7-8 miles of dirt road and only 2 ish of actual mountain. Highly suggested to bring a map or download the map from all trails as there are many turn offs to other locations which we would have loved to try but didn’t know how long they were or what mileage they would add to the already 11 miles.

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Frances Sturdivant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking
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Patrick Aveni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

Long day out. Clocked 15 miles with the waterfalls and bit extra. Beautiful dry conditions. Cool start. Warmed up though. Start early!

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Benjamin Rosenthal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Hiking

Arrived at 7:30 a.m. to a full parking lot. Still one of the best hikes I have ever done.

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Kimberly Morse
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Hiking
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Jennifer Heffernan
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Hiking
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Shabnam Arzani
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HikingMuddy
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Briana Lynch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 13, 2020
HikingGreat!Muddy

This hike was awesome. Glad I read some reviews before going and got a few great tips. The long walk on the dirt road added extra mileage and wasn't bad on the way in but was somewhat of a chore on the way out. We arrived at 6:15 on a Friday morning and was able to get a parking spot with a few others remaining. It was a damp cloudy morning so we opted to do rainbow falls first. It was majestic and totally worth seeing. Wet rocks to get up close to the falls but well worth it. After rainbow falls we walked back to the Indian head trail. Was not too difficult and the views at the top were incredible. Took the Gill brook trail down and opted for the scenic routes when prompted. Many waterfalls. When all was said and done, fitbit tracked almost 15 miles. Again, alot of the added mileage was on Lake Road which was the dirt road to the trails. What I enjoyed most about this hike is that there are so many trails in the same vicinity that everyone seems to have a different agenda and the trails and summit are NOT crowded at all.

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Ivonne C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking

It says it’s moderate but sometimes it is hard, when you are climbing the mountains by the side there are at least 3 difficult spots. The scenic views were incredible, notice that there are two spots for the view of Indian head ... one of them is the most amazing but both are very nice.

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Karin Toomey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 12, 2020
HikingMuddy

Took Lake Rd to gill brook trail to Indian head. Amazing views throughout! Returned via west river trail, seeing rainbow falls and beaver meadow falls. The falls are amazing! The entire hike out and back from our car on rte 73 was more than 16 miles. Really long. Our family, including teens, enjoyed most the hike, but the last 3 miles were a chore.

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John Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
Hiking

Was my first hike in the Adirondack High Peaks in 2019 with my brother Mike. What an experience. We went straight up the road to Indian Head. Then Hit the falls, then went down a trail along the river/stream. Spectacular.

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Jared Brunswick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

Without a doubt , this has to be one of the best views in the entire Adirondack Park. I have been wanting to do this hike for years and was able to do it on Sunday 9/7/20. A few things to note for those looking for more detailed info about the hike. I completed this 2 days after doing Giant, so my legs were still sore and I was pretty worried about this being 11 miles total. You do not have to follow the trail route as depicted, you instead can walk lake road all the way to the dam, and there you can do rainbow falls, which is absolutely worth it and massive, which is pretty easy but Rocky... wet rocks... and then you can swing up to Indian Head. The way we did was follow the route as depected on AllTrails and the trail was beautiful, followed a creek most of the way, but this had ups and downs and lots of roots, so if you are sore or have bad ankles and want a easier path, I would recommend taking Lake road all the way. And to clarify, there is Indian Head summit which has no view, there is Fish Hawk cliffs, which is a VERY seep out and back, this view is not the typical view of the lake, but very similar and more off the the left, so if you are looking for that photo with the lake centered and the mountains on both sides, you want Indian Head south outlook, this is the view you are looking for and you can skip Fish Hawk cliffs as it is just added mileage and a very seep up and down for a view that is still great, but not what some people might be expecting. Other notes to add, we arrived at the lot at 4:15am and the lot and the secondary lot across the street were completly full, so we had to park about a quarter mile up the road at another lot, which wasn't ideal because we didn't want to add additional mileage. The main parking lot to the trail head is about a mile walk one way on a paved road that goes through a golf course. If you have someone not hiking available, have them drive you up to the trailhead and drop you off, this will cut 2 miles off the trail. However it might be tough getting them to pick you up there as there is limited phone signal there. Even though the lots were completly full, we didn't see a single person on the trail or the view points, so lots of hikers are probably doing other trails in the area, not just Indian Head. Lake road is a dirt road and it's pretty busy, even though we didn't see anyone on the trail portions.. We saw a ton of people on Lake road, some runners too. Seems to be a local path for people running and walking. Take aways: if you are sore or worried about the mileage, play it safe and stick to Lake road all the way. I would also recommend if you are worried about parking to get dropped off or get there earlier than 4:15am. This was also a holiday weekend so it was definatly more busy because of that.

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Tyler J McL
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

Parking is annoying. The majority of the trail is an active roadway. We took the alternative trails to not deal with the cars. The actual hike is about .5-.7 , kind of lame. Crowded summit area. Beautiful views, but I think this hike is overhyped

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Sheree Adams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

This was my first hike. EVER! I thought since I workout everyday I would be ok. I survived but I was not prepared for steep climbs and the level of difficulty. The walk from parking to Gilbrook Trail is pretty long. The view from the top was worth it!

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Erica Page
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

Enjoyed the hike up. Lake Road is closed to public cars only private cars. The Indian head was the best view. Probably wouldn’t do rainbow Falls again. Took the scenic view on the way down. Parking was abysmal. Trail wasn’t too difficult to navigate. Lake Road was wide and even.

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Jake Nicholson
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Hiking
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Darren Pfeil
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Hiking
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Chrisopher Lennon
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HikingMuddyPrivate property

Very enjoyable hike, very long. The first 2-3 miles is on a road that is private property with an easement for hikers only, the remained of the hike (5-6 miles) is a normal hike. Lots of small animals that were very normalized to people. Parking was abysmal.

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Rosa Chavez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great view! Wished I had packed my running shoes to run the first 3 miles in. The view is worth it.

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Jason Grout
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Definitely a bucket list hike! Parking was insanity tho...arrived by 7:15am and had to park a mile away from the main parking area. Still worth it. Highly recommend coming back on the West River Trail back from falls. You can take it the entire way without having to get back on Lake Road and it comes out right by the Ranger office.

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Peter Cohen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Great trail. Walking a few miles from parking lot was easy, coming back those few miles was never ending!

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Kellie Engelmeier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

This was an amazing hike! We chose to do the loop so that we saw rainbow falls on the way down/back. I loved doing it that way. The little side hike to the falls is well worth it! My first mountain in the ADK.

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