Baldface Mountain is a short paddle across Indian Lake to a short hike to an open mountain summit with sweeping views of Indian Lake and surrounding mountains
0.8 miles (1.6 round-trip)
Indian Lake, Hamilton County
Jessup River Wild Forest
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Hike Up Baldface Mountain
Baldface Mountain is a 1.6 mile round-trip hike that starts with a paddle across Indian Lake to a short hike on the east shore. Baldface Mountain is only accessible via a short paddle across the lake of just over 1 mile, but for those able to do this, it’ a fun paddle and hike. The most popular launch site for this hike is the Indian Lake Marina on Lakeshore Drive, south of the town of Indian Lake on Route 30, which requires a $10 launch fee.
Once on the lake paddle straight across Indian Lake to Norman’s Cove, just to the left (north) of a series of small islands. The beach and DEC trail sign are visible from inside the cove and the beach has plenty of room for boats. The hike itself is short but packed with an exciting mix of different forests, winding up around the tall rocky cliffs onto the beautiful summit. The trailhead register stands on the lakeside in Norman’s Cove.
The hike begins by climbing out from the beach through the hardwood forest. There is no register, but the trail is easy to follow and guided by red trail-markers. The trail soon flattens out for a stretch before dropping down to cross over a muddy streambed. The hike continues to wind slightly alongside the creek and then opens into a mature, open forest.
The Summit of Baldface Mountain
The trail then climbs steeply over a narrow stretch where white pines, hemlock and balsams grow over the path. After about 0.6 miles, the mountain’s characteristic “bald” cliffs rise up on the left. The exposed rock face is impressive. As the trail continues on, it passes through an older forest, laden with pine needles on the forest floor, abundant with interesting fungi on trees. The final tenth of a mile is steep and rocky as the trail enters into the mixed forest near the summit.
From the summit, Indian Lake spreads out to the southwest to north. Red pines and spruce line the wide and rocky summit. The calm waters of sheltered Norman’s Cove is clearly visible. The summit area is open and sandy with a number of trees blown down. The hike out follows the same path back to the sandy shore.
When You Hike Make Sure to Practice “Leave No Trace” to be Prepared and to Protect the Forest Preserve
Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow other Leave No Trace principles when hiking in the public Forest Preserve and other wild areas. The seven Leave No Trace principles are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Stay on hiking trails and camp at designated areas; 3) Dispose of human waste and trash properly; 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimize campfires; 6) Respect wildlife; 7) Respect other hikers.
Educated hikers do not damage the environment. Prepared hikers do not need search and rescue unless injured.
Winter Use: Baldface Mountain is difficult to reach in the winter.
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