The 3-mile hike to the Rock River traverses beautiful, mature forests, a beach on a remote lake, and leads to a beautiful, meandering river

Rock River
3 miles (6 miles round-trip)
Blue Mountain Wild Forest
Indian Lake, Hamilton County
Hiking, Snowshoeing
Level of Difficult: Easy


Hike Rock River

The 3-mile Rock River trail is located just north of Indian Lake on the east side of Routes 28/20, just north of the Sawyer Mountain Trailhead. The trail is on public Forest Preserve in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest area. The trail winds through beautiful forests to the banks of the Rock River, a remote and wild area in the Adirondack Park.

Rock River’s trail begins at a roadside trailhead on Routes 28/30 and continues a short distance before reaching a DEC trail register. It then descends immediately amidst a classic Adirondack forest of beech, birch, and sugar maple. There are several small stream crossings.


The trail arrives at a small bridge at approximately 1-mile. It is sturdy, easy to cross, and leads to a trail junction about 100 yards ahead with a wide snowmobile trail. The snowmobile trail connects to Rock Lake. This snowmobile trail can lead to a side trail to a sandy beach on Rock Lake.


The Rock River Trail crosses the snowmobile trail and continues northeast. The trail follows a moderate ascent that carves alongside the slopes of some small mountains. During this stretch, hikers can view Rock Lake through the canopy on the left. Click here to read about the Rock Lake Trail as there is an open sandy beach on Rock Lake about 0.4 miles from where the Rock River trail crosses the snowmobile trail.

After this, the trail flattens out, pushes through more beech, birch, and maple forests, and crosses over a handful of small streams and some muddy stretches. It then arrives at a cool tree that hangs nearly low enough to block the path at the 2.5-mile mark.


The Stunning Rock River

In the final 0.5-mile stretch that follows, the trail rises mildly and passes by a few erratics on the left. The trail then drops steeply, cuts right, and arrives at the main destination: the wide, slow, and meandering Rock River.


This river appears next to a clearing full of tall ferns, large sugar maples, and a variety of colorful flowers. Quiet and distant from the Adirondacks’ busier parts, it is an ideal place to relax after the three-mile hike.


To make it back to the parking area, simply turn around and follow the same out-and-back path out.

Click here for a map and directions to Rock River.

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: The Rock River Trail does not see much use in the winter.

Click here to become a member of Protect the Adirondacks.