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When and how to visit Fish Hawk Cliffs and Indian Head....C&B or D&N day?

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  • When and how to visit Fish Hawk Cliffs and Indian Head....C&B or D&N day?

    So Colvin Blake is a day, and Dial Nippletop another, all else being equal, are they similar days? Do folks take the first left to Colvin from the lake rd, or the shorter path, the next left a bit further down the road? Either drier or better in early season?

    And back on topic, reading the books (ADK and Barbara's) and reviewing the maps still confused - what is the preferred way to visit these two locations? On a C&B trip? How, which trails? Or, on the return from D&N? Thanks!

  • #2
    C&B's dimensions are around 13 miles and 4000 feet whereas N&D is 12 miles and 4200 feet. These values are calculated starting from the trail-register (from the parking area: add 150' and 1.5 miles). In other words, not much difference. However, I think C&B takes a bit more effort overall because my best time for N&D is shorter than for C&B.

    ​The Gill Brook Trail (the 1st left you mentioned) is more scenic because it parallels the brook. It also has a few forks along the way offering the option of taking "scenic" (i.e. even closer to the brook) or "non-scenic" routes. After a hundred yards or so, the two options converge back into one. It's tiny detail and doesn't show up on most maps.

    The Gill Brook Cutoff Trail (the 2nd left) isn't scenic but I find it faster ... maybe because there's a lot less to see.

    ​I think I've been to Fish Hawk Cliffs and Indian Head more often on trips to C&B than to N&D ... but there's no real difference. What I like to do is visit them on the return leg of the trip. Heading north, I take the first left (shortest path to Fish Hawk Cliffs) and then on to Indian Head (there's a steep ~50-foot rise between the two). After Indian Head, I descend the steep, switch-backed trail that leads directly to the Lake Road and then coast downhill all the way to the register.

    Looking for Views!


    • #3
      Perfect - thank you!


      • #4
        Blake? GRRRRrrrrrrr..................


        • #5
          Or you can do it all in one long day. Got an early start last September. Hiked the lake road to Gill Brook Trail. Visited Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs. Over Colvin, Blake then Colvin again. Over to Nippletop, Dial, Bear Den and back out. Ended up just short of 12 hours overall.


          • #6
            Hmmm....sounds interesting. Although 4k plus 4k doesnt equal 8k, curious what your overall gain and mileage was


            • #7
              CBND is about 6050 feet and 17.2 miles (measured from the Ausable Club's hiker parking area next to route 73). The ascent was calculated using Google Map's DEM in

              Garmin Connect claims 5952 feet.
              ​Caltopo provides two values: 6072 and 6490.

              ​So, at least 6000 feet of ascent. JoeCedar may have a more accurate value based on barometric altimeter measurements.
              Looking for Views!


              • #8
                Do it all in one epic day. That was my first big day last year, and it was incredible!
                ADK - 35/46
                Whites - 25/48
                North East - 68/115
                Catskills - 9/35


                • #9
                  Any high water issue areas during the melt w/ Colvin and Blake? What about along the trails to the cliffs and or Gill Brook options? Same question for Dial and N. General question, not specific to a certain day.


                  • #10
                    We did Colvin and Blake in the pouring rain last fall. Granted its not the same thing given that spring melt can be greater than even an all day downpour such as we saw, I can't think of any places in hindsight where high water might have been a concern. Naturally I defer to the locals who have a more intimate knowledge of the area in spring.

                    We were robbed of views doing those peaks but the rain broke through the night and we had clear sky's for Indian Head on our exit the next morning;a truly worthwhile and wonderful spot. Enjoy!
                    [17/46] Giant, Rocky Peak Ridge, Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolf Jaw, Lower Wolf Jaw, Big Slide, Cascade, Porter, Wright, Algonquin, Iroquois , Marcy, Skylight, Colden, Colvin and Blake.