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Mount Marcy peak is the highest point in New York state, standing at 5,344 feet in elevation. The summit of Mount Marcy is located in the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks Region in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. It is the tallest peak on the official Adirondack High Peaks 46ers list. Here is a list of all 46 high peaks in the state of New York.
Elevation: 5,344 feet
Elevation gain: 3,166 feet
Distance: 14.6 miles roundtrip
Duration (book time): 10-11 hours
Van Hoevenberg Trail
The shortest and most frequently used hiking route up the mountain is the Van Hoevenberg Trail. Start your hike at the Adirondak Loj near Heart Lake. From the base, it is roughly 7.3 miles to the summit of Mount Marcy, making it a very long day hike. Start along the trail until you each the Marcy Dam. Up until there the trail is easy overall. After you have passed the dam, you will begin climbing up boulders, with rocky terrain that lasts until you reach Marcys summit. Continue along the Van Hoevenberg for several miles. For the last 1.2 miles of the trail, there is steep, slanted bedrock that is challenging and should not be attempted when wet or icy. After climbing 1.2 miles you will reach the summit of Mount Marcy, the highest point in New Work state with outstanding views of the Adirondack high peaks, Mont Royal in Montreal, Canada, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. To descend, retrace your steps carefully and follow the Van Hoevenberg Trail until you reach the trailhead parking area where you started.
Johns Brook Trail – 18 miles round trip
A longer approach to summit Mount Marcy would be by the John Brook Trail. From the parking area, it is a nine mile hike to the summit of Mount Marcy via the John Brooks Trail. Many hikers will spend a night at Johns Brook Lodge to break up the distance as a multi-day backpacking trip. You can take an even lengthier approach by starting at the Upper Works or Elk Lake trailheads to the south.
Camping and Overnight Hiking Options
The Wilderness Campground located at Adirondack Loj is an option for hikers looking to make their hike a multi-day backpacking trip. Marcy Dam has roughly 20 designated campsites in the area and 4 lean-tos. Primitive camping is permitted on Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks, but your campsite must be at least 150 feet from a water body, road, or trail. Do not camp in areas posted with “Camping Prohibited” signs. Camping for more than three nights or with a larger group of people will require a permit from a Forest Ranger. Call 518-897-1300 for more info.
Hiking in Winter
The hike up Mount Marcy is extremely challenging and should only be attempted by experienced hikers, especially during the winter moths. Snowshoes, crampons, an ice axe, and microspikes, are a must for much of the route. The summit of Mount Marcy is exposed to the elements and is extreme during winter. The weather can become brutal, sometimes even fatal when unprepared. Hiking in winter requires special skills and equipment. Know before you go.
The parking area for the Van Hoevenberg Trail is located at the Adirondack Loj, roughly 20 minutes outside of Lake Placid, New York. There is a parking fee to use the parking lot. The parking area for the John Brooks Trail begins at the Garden Parking Lot in Keane Valley. This is the same parking lot for hiking Algonquin, Wright Peak, and Iroquois Peak
To get to the Van Hoevenberg Trail parking area
Driving directions: Leave Lake Placid on Route 73 and take a sharp right turn onto Adirondack Loj Road. Continue to follow the road until its end. At the end of the road, you will drive up to a booth where you are required to pay a parking fee, You must pay the fee even if the booth is unstaffed. The trailhead parking area is nearby the booth.
It is very important to know weather can be harsh and change quickly. Always be prepared and check the forecast before hitting the trail.