Rock Lake Trail is popular for hiking, camping, canoeing and fishing, as it’s an easy carry with a light-weight boat
0.5 miles (1 mile round-trip)
Blue Mountain Wild Forest
Indian Lake, Hamilton County
Level of Difficult: Easy
Hike Rock Lake
The 0.5-mile hike to Rock Lake is perfect for families, casual hikers, and general lake enthusiasts. The trail is on public Forest Preserve in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest area. The Rock River Trail is also a popular trail for people who like to fish and paddle, who carry in their canoes. The hike to the beautiful beach on Rock Lake is 1-mile-long, a 2-mile hike round-trip. No motors are allowed on Rock Lake.
Rock River’s trail begins at a roadside trailhead on Routes 28/30 between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake. From the trailhead, the trail leads to a DEC register before declining gently for 0.1-mile. The trail then flattens where boardwalks have been installed over wet areas, followed by a smooth stretch surrounded by large pine trees.
This path is beautiful, cutting through mature forests with large white pines. Many sections of the trail are carpeted with pine needles. After a quarter of a mile along this stretch and approximately half-way through the hike, the trail runs alongside a stream to the right. At 0.4 miles the Rock Lake Trail intersects with a major snowmobile trail. Turn right. There is a bridge to the right and provides stellar views of the stream and Rock Lake.
After the bridge, the trail rises up a short hill. There are campsites to the left, between the trail and the lake, that provide filtered views of the lake and access to the lake.
The Rock Lake Beach
Other such views appear farther along the snowmobile trail that curves gently up and down. The best view, though, shows up after about 0.4 miles down the trail, where there’s a lefthand spur trail off of the snowmobile trail that leads to a large sandy beach with a prime view of Blue Mountain and a host of other nearby peaks. Many hikers reach the beach and enjoy this secluded and beautiful spot and then hike back over the same route.
Back on the snowmobile trail, after a short distance, the trail leads to a large clearing full of tall grasses and a large wooden snowmobile bridge.
After the clearing, the trail winds through coniferous forest and curves up and around a small hill and intersects with the Rock River trail. More ambitious adventurers can also hike to the Rock River trail, close to 7 miles round trip.
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: Rock Lake is a popular trail for snowshoeing and ice fishing in the winter. The nearby snowmobile trail is heavily used as well.
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