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This is an excellent hike. We split it up into two days and did a few of the side trails. Spring thru fall you will get wet and very muddy. It’s a tough trail and unfortunately I did see a lot of miserable faces on the way back. It is not a flat perfect gravel trail. If you are in poor shape or have bad knees this hike is not for you. But the views are amazing, the trails diverse. And you are required to carry a large heavy bear can that takes up a lot of space. Even if you never see a bear at least you have a nice stool to sit on?

Hiked on 11/4, it was a nice day,sun was shining a little cold but no wind. Did the loop scenic trail first. Excellent views from the look outs. The scenic trail was hard to follow for the first half mile or so, mostly due to all the leaves down. Once above the 3000 foot mark (give or take a few feet) there was snow and ice. Rocks were covered in ice . Had to stop and put on the spikes to continue on. Snow did get deeper in some spots toward the summit, but was doable with spikes. We had the summit to ourselves the entire time. That is unheard of in the high peaks!! We did hear voices getting close but no one showed up. I am guessing they did not have the spikes to make the final push up the ice snow covered rocks and had to turn around. Over all a great day. The trail down was easier than the scenic trail up. The only down side if there was any was the long walk on lake road. The feet were hurting !!
Now that the weather is heading into more winter conditions it would be great if more people would post the trail conditions when a review is posted . Also it would be cool if the all trails app. Would show the elevation on the map when in use. That would be cool

Hiked Phelps and tabletop sept 30th, great hike a little mud on the trail but at the top of Phelps there were some awesome views as well Indian falls is a must to stop at you get some incredible views and a great spot to take a lunch break or snack break! I have a feeling before I finish the 46 those will get done again ! This weekend porter and cascade for the second time !

Today was a perfect fall day in the Adirondacks! Really enjoyed both mountains very much despite the mud on Tabletop! Views were absolutely stunning on Phelps! Tabletop didn’t disappoint either; how can staring at Marcy be a bad thing!?

Given the rainy weather lately this was always going to be a climb up a running stream. Very muddy along the top. I’m sure the view is wonderful on a good day.

Okay let's level-set here. I've been all over the world, for example the Wind River Range in Wyoming, or the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, or up Denali. So I'm probably spoiled. Or something. So be forewarned.

But having said that: this hike is kinda miserable. I hate to rain on everyone's parade. I mean there are some beautiful views, especially from the top of Marcy, where I was above the clouds on a beautiful morning.

But the hike up and the hike down were some of the toughest most un-walkable "trails" I've ever seen. And that's before I tell you about the bear problem.

So let's get started. The walk out of the Adirondack Loj to Marcy Dam is a nice little jaunt. And it's a trail, by which I mean a somewhat dirt based path through the woods.

But then you start up. I did this in late September. It was a dry summer. But it had rained a few days. The trail gets wetter and wetter. You're basically hiking up a creek in the woods. In one place that everyone here mentions, just past Lake Arnold, the water was almost to our waist on the trail. Our dog was swimming. And she's not that small.

Now I know what you're thinking: "Who cares, you're hiking!" Sure. But I'm talking four miles of muddy rocky slosh with no views. Just know what you're getting into.

Ok now for the bears. We stopped to camp between Lake Arnold and Marcy. A nice black bear walked into our cook site. I won't bore you with the details but let's start by saying I was camping clean, meaning that all my smelly stuff, including sunscreen and toothpaste and whatever, was in my bear canister at the cook site.

The dog went nuts. I was calling Hey Bear and trying to scare him a bit. But he walked straight up to us and luckily past us to go for the food. I backed away carefully to the lean to, thinking we were safe and he was just looking for food. But guess who showed up to the lean to 30 minutes later? You guessed it. Ursus major. And there he stood for two hours. Sniffing the air. Dog barking. I put loud music on my phone. I waved my arms. Etc. He just kept sniffing. Very close. He came and went throughout the night.

Okay so you're thinking he was a black bear and he wasn't going to hurt us. You try sitting in a lean to with a bear 20-30 feet out all night, those yellow eyes in your headlamp light, his breath steaming up in the air.

Next morning we got ready to go but again, the bear was on the trail out, so we continued up the peaks. I'll say this: THE VIEWS ARE BEAUTIFUL. It was pouring rain when we set out but amazingly cleared just as we summited Marcy and we were above a cloud layer in the sun. They don't call it a high peak for nothing. You'd think you were 10,000 ft higher. Just gorgeous. Fall colors. Mist. Real Lord of the Rings stuff.

But now the walk down. It's a six mile, boulder hoping, sopping wet, creek bed, one slick rock to the next, in the trees. It's not a trail per se, if by trail you mean that dirt thing that you walk on. It's just wet rock after rock, with a bunch of mud in between them. If you want to do the hike bring some beefy boots. This isn't for your trail runners.

Well that's about it. I'm still glad I did. It's a real wilderness. But anyone who thinks the White Mountains are tough, or has put off of a pass in the Winds, or whatever, better know that this thing is the real deal.

Have fun!

Nice, but strenuous hike. We did Tabletop first, which was a muddy and slippery hike up an unmarked trail. View was ok at the top but partially blocked by trees. The “one mile” up Phelps felt like the longest mile of my life! There are lots of locations to replenish your water. There are lots of false summits but once there, the views are excellent! Garmin logged our hike of both at 13.20 miles.

Would not suggest doing this range unless your going to be a 46er. Its a very hard climb up ward brook getting quite steep for the last mile or so, your next to water most of the time up to Seward so there is a lot of wet rock slabs and mud to maneuver around. Going between the mountains in the range is no picnic either (do Seymour another day) after Seward you have to climb down a very steep section before hooking west down into mud just to come back up again. The map shows a more direct route between the peaks than you actually take. in reality it does take about an hour to reach each peak because you have to swing out down the mountain before heading back up to the next summit. There is an astounding amount of mud that stays between these peaks, we went when there hadn't been rain for a week and there mere multiple sections with mud 6 inches deep or more even. All and all it was an experience to be remembered total trip from ward brook lean to emmons and back took 10 1/2 hours, we came back in the night time after leaving at 9 am so bring your head lamps just in case. Just make sure you give yourself enough time and water to make the trip, and your boots need to be in top condition, otherwise good luck...
P.S. keep you eyes out for small cut arounds near harder sections for rocks and mud, found quite a few extra ways to avoid wet slabs and mud pits

A challenging day but great hike! Don't get bogged down by negative reviews on here, go hike it and decide for yourself. I'd actually do this again, and I use that sentence sparingly.

Phelps kicks butt, it's the most deceptive "1.0 mile to the summit" I've ever experienced. Terrain gets gradually steeper, make sure to turn around once in a while to see the views behind you. Lots of "I think this is the top.... wait here's the trail again." Great summit views and worth it.

Tabletop was unmarked, following running water and lots of mud the entire way up. Definitely recommend gaiters and/or trekking poles to poke and test how deep mud is before you step. Easier than Phelps but the view payoff isn't as great. Say hello to Marcy while you're up there.

Our group of four took 9 hours including an hour spent on the summits. 7am - 4pm. Great day, 13/46.

We camped at the sites right before phelps, dropped our packs then continued up phelps. Bugs were really bad at phelps. Tabletops view wasn’t quite as good as phelps, the trail going up was unmarked and really muddy, but wasn’t a problem for us. About a mile after the trailhead to tabletop is indian falls, which is a way better view than phelps or tabletop, so i highly recommend checking that out while your there.

Did Phelps then TT. Phelps is a bit more open at the top with about 200 degree view, whereas TT was a bit more narrow but awesome view of Marcy. TT was a bit muddy as you get close to the summit so be prepared for that. I would consider both easy to moderate, no significant rock scrambles but it could be trickier when raining or slick. Overall an awesome workout with nice reward at the top!

I did this trail in 11.5 hours, I didn't think I would make it as I didn't bring a head lamp but that was good motivation to move fast. It was raining and half the trail was flooded. Was tough but I was super happy I was able to do all 3 summit. Also the view was amazing and the best training mountain for high altitude if you in Ontario.

This was definitely a tough hike. I left the ADj lot at 7:30am, and arrived back at 4:00pm. Tabletop was an interesting experience, and a nice introduction to the unmarked and unmaintained trails. That being said, I wouldn’t do it again, just got it for the 46 count. Phelps is tough from the start. It’s a long, steep climb with several challenging sections. Beautiful views. I chose to do Tabletop first, and then Phelps on the way out. Even with the difficulty, it was a great day!

Very challenging hike. I clocked 18.2 miles. Gray had a much better view than I was expecting. The Four Corners was my favorite part of the hike; being able to shoot up Gray, Skylight, and Marcy in a short amount of time was very rewarding.

As far as herd path hikes go, I’d say this is the best one and my favorite. Trails feel like maintained trails. I finished all 4 peaks, car-to-car, in 12 hours 20 minutes. Took Calkins Brook trail up to Donaldson, 3 hours, has a clearing and good views but not a big summit (best of the day though). Then 45 minutes over to Emmons which was uneventful. Fully wooded summit. Took 90 minutes to get from emmons (back over Donaldson) to Seward. Another fully wooded summit. Very steep trail down Seward back to the trail at the bottom. Took a right and went the .5 mile to a cairn on the right marking the start of Seymour. Seymour was relentless, very steep, never lets up, lots of steep slab climbing via roots and praying your shoes grip do not slip. There’s a false summit that was devastating at the end of the day. The true summit is nice with great views and a clearing to hang out. A long, hard day but a very fulfilling one as accomplishing this whole range in one day is very respectable. Definitely does not need to be done in two trips or via camping, though it certainly could be thanks to multiple lean tos and camp sites.

One of my favorite trails

One of my favorite trails

Nice smooth 4 hours hike to reach bottom of Cliff and Redfield. Cliff is steep with partial views. Redfield is nice walk up river bed - super windy and rainy when we reached the top. Was fun however with great company:)

I just hiked this trail on Thursday of this past week. It was great ... and despite the description, there are beautiful views to the south if you follow a short little trail behind the "Mt Marshall" sign on the big rock at the summit. We encountered some mud towards the top, but by no means impassable or difficult, the waters were generally low along the brook and it wasn't buggy at all. The steepest climbing took place right before we reached the summit. We actually clocked our trek at 19.2 RT from Upper Works trailhead. A fun day ... albeit long! Great views of Iroquois as we descended!

8/18/18: very foggy from storms the previous night. Left from the S Meadows lot (Loj was full by 8AM). We followed the Truck trail to Marcy Dam. This was easy and mostly flat. There were a bunch of people at Marcy Dam, as expected. Continue around the Dam and to the left to find the trail towards Marcy/Phelps. The hike from the Dam towards the Phelps split was very straightforward, nothing technical. We hit TT first, so we followed the VH trail (vs the VH Ski trail) towards Marcy/TT. Once on the TT trail, the trail itself changes from dirt/rock to roots, bedrock, and running water. You basically follow a run-off stream to the top. Ascent wasn't anything crazy compared to other High Peak hikes. The summit was covered by clouds so after a snack and pics, we descended and headed towards Phelps. Phelps trial had less running water, but much more standing water/mud, especially towards the summit. Phelps summit was just under the cloud cover, so we had some decent views. Rested a bit on the summit (shared with 3 other groups) then headed down. Would like to revisit Phelps on a clearer day. Left car at 9:30AM, returned around 6PM. Recording was started/stopped at odd times due to phone battery.
Trail itself: moderate - hard
Views: average (given the fog)
Privacy: not much, saw several groups

Amazing trail!! Gorgeous hike along ausable lake...many viewpoints as you get higher in elevation as well. Long hike in on Lake Road..was roughly 4 miles and took me a little over an hour. Hike up was challenging but not too difficult. Glad I chose the scenic route like I always tend to do!!

Mount Sasquatch was a treat. We ran out of candy corn as we reached the peak which was very sad. We met the Sasquatch and he told us in reality he was a yeti. That’s fine. Not as cool. He offered us more candy corn in his white van and we gladly accepted. Great hike for anyone who likes to look at objects, preferably trees or rocks.

hiking
5 months ago

Phelps and Tabletop are a good in and out if you want to tackle a couple of the 46 in a day. Visibility on Phelps was very limited but zero wind. Tabletop had very nice views when the clouds cleared. Pretty straight forward climb made more difficult with a full pack. We intended to summit Colden and camp at Lake Colden but a thunderstorm kept us at Lake Arnold.

I actually really liked this trail. 14.2 miles** So many great places to explore, and the trail isn’t actually too tough, just loooong. At both the cairns on the trail, turn left, and make sure to follow them for all the stream crossings and you’ll be fine. Also beware of deep mud near the summit! It doesn’t look too bad, but i stepped in knee deep. I don’t know if I’ll summit Marshall again, but will definitely be back for the flowed lands and to see Hanging Spear Falls.

Very muddy today, not the best view, easy to follow

I loved this hike as a solo; what a day. Yes you have to walk miles on the lake road to get in and out but it’s so nice. Absolutely take the scenic trail up. The effort is worth it, great views, changing and sometimes challenging terrain. Not hard for a confident and reasonably fit hiker. I happen to like wooded, narrow, technical terrain. Walking around and seeing the lake, hearing the loons from multiple vantage points scored this trail some bonus points. Ascending via scenic is harder and longer to the summit, making shedding elevation and the hike out a piece of cake. What a day. I ❤️this hike.

Not a bad day at all. Much easier than I expected. Much easier to navigate than expected. The cairns are key, follow them and you really cannot be lost. I wouldn't consider this a hard hike, maybe moderate? Also, to be straight, this is 14.2 miles - that extra mile may not seem like much, but mentally, ha, my brain was going crazy when I hit 13.3 miles and still had a good mile vertical to go :)

A solid day with solid mountains. Gray has lookouts on a Boulder but plan to spend your time hanging out on Skylight and Marcy, two of the best summits around. Long walk in to the Marcy trail but once you get there it’s not long before you’re taking the herd path to gray, and at that point you’ll summit all 3 in just a couple hours as that point a lot of the leg work is done. The bog on lake Arnold trail with floating logs was atrocious to cross and of course both shoes were soaked. If doing this loop I’d recommend bringing flip flops/Crocs/etc in your pack for this section of the trail. Just take off the boots and switch to sandals. Other than that section of the trail this hike was great.

Having hiked Marcy multiple times in the past I decided to do Skylight and Gray as an out-and-back, sunset hike from the LOJ via Lake Arnold trail. It had rained heavily the past 3 days so I was a bit concerned about going through the floating bridges area near Feldspar after dark. Yep... I was soaked up past the knee-both times. It may have been due to the recent rainfall but the water level even while on the bridges was deeper than 2.5 feet at times. Easy enough to find your way through it, just know you are going to get wet and (though I didn't use them) trekking poles would probably help.

I was on Gray during sunset and made it to Skylight just before the sun disappeared behind the MacIntyre Range. Sitting on top of Skylight by myself after 9:30pm as the stars came out was a magical experience.

The last 9+ miles back to the LOJ were in darkness. Eerily silent between Feldspar and Lake Arnold- no wind due to the surrounding mountains, no toads, no bugs, no birds, no streams- it was a natural deadzone. I turned off my headlamp at one point just to experience it with all senses and the silence was almost deafening.

I did not see any hikers out on the trails past 7pm (near Lake Arnold and they were descending quickly). Was nice to have what would normally be a busy trail to myself at sunset. It didn't start to rain on me until 1:45 am which was about 15 mins before finishing.

For me this is one of those peaks you hike because it's on the list. The trail is pretty easy, the payoff is limited views on a treed summit. The description says this is a 13.3 mile hike. My new Garmin Fenix clocked it at 15.2. Trail was easy to follow and very dry as there's been little rain this summer. No bugs.

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