Indian Pass Trail

  • Heart Lake, Lake Placid

Hike Features


Summit Rock and Indian Pass is of historical significance for the Adirondack Park and was the key passageway to the discovery of the Tahawus Mine in the Upper Works Region. While the lower portions of this hike, from either direction, are easy to moderate, the upper reaches of the pass can be very difficult and somewhat overwhelming to some. Plan most of your day to be spent exploring this area and bring your camera. Plan a car spot on both sides and hike through from Lake Placid to Newcomb for an extended hike with many rewards.

Getting there

Adirondack Loj Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 73 and Route 86 follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue to Adirondack Loj Road on the right, follow here to the end, and park. ($10 per day parking fee as of 2019.)

Upper Works Trailhead: Our friends at Open Space Institute have announced that effective June 18, 2021, please use the new parking lot adjacent to the MacNaughton Cottage. The old parking lot (terminus of Upper Works Road) will is closed. Unauthorized vehicles in the old parking lot after June 18, 2021 will be towed away at vehicle owners expense. Signage has been placed throughout the old parking lot. They, and we, do not want any surprises for anyone. Thank you and Happy trails! This new parking will not add significant milage to your trip.

By the numbers

  • Distance: approx. 12-miles round trip
  • Elevation of summit rock: 2,880-feet
  • Ascent from Adirondack Loj: 703-feet


This 5.9 mile, one way, hike is over easy to difficult terrain. From the Loj parking walk back to the toll booth and cross the road, the trail is on the opposite side. Follow this over a gravel road to Heart Lake and make a right. This trail will now lead you around Heart Lake on a gradual hike. Do not take the right toward Mount Jo along this section. Once you pass the trail register at 0.4 mi. from the parking area, stay left at the next intersection and the straight at the next intersection. You will climb a bit to yet another trail on the left at 0.6 mi. Stay straight again toward Indian Pass.

From here the trail is gradual with only one really aggressive uphill to a junction at 2.1 mi. with a trail leading right to Rocky Falls. Bearing left, you will pass by another trail on the right, to Rocky Falls; avoid this unless you want to go for a quick swim. Beyond here the trail has a couple brook crossings and passes by a lean-to at 3.8 mi. Not far past the lean-to is Scott's Dam and a trail intersection. Right leads to Wallface Ponds and straight leads to Indian Pass. Once you pass through Scott's Dam you will come to another trail intersection in about a mile. Left leads up over Cold Brook Pass to Lake Colden and straight again is Indian Pass.

After this intersection the trail begins to climb into the pass and eventually starts going through a boulder field with hands and feet scrambling. This final approach to Summit Rock is an adventure to remember. The views from Summit Rock are some of the finest. With the sheer cliffs of Wallface Mountain above and the boulder fields below you are sure to have a moment of awe.