Avalanche Lake Mount Marcy Loop Trail

HARD 19 reviews
#13 of 46 trails in

Avalanche Lake Mount Marcy Loop Trail is a 16.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

16.9 miles
3523 feet

dogs on leash





nature trips







wild flowers






This is an epic hike that will gain you three more Adirondack 46er peaks of Gray Mountain, Mt Skylight and Mt Marcy; the State Highpoint. Be sure to pay attention to the trail junctions as there a few. You'll pass by a few lakes and the start of the mighty Hudson River. This is a long day trip which will take about 10-12 hours and 17 miles of hiking. Start off my heading towards Marcy Dam which is about 2 miles from the lodge/parking area. The dam will be the start and end of the loop. Make sure to use bear canisters as black bears frequent the area if your spending the night. From here you want to head out on the trail towards Avalanche Pass which you will leave before you actually reach Avalanche Pass. You will come to a trail junction and head towards Lake Arnold on the east side of Mt. Colden. There will be a trail heading off to your left to Indian Falls. Ignore it and keep heading towards Lake Arnold. When you reach Lake Arnold you'll see the trail heading up Colden. Ignore this as you definitely won't want to add another big peak this hike. You'll start heading downhill from Lake Arnold until you meet up with the Feldspar Brook Trail that will bring you up to Lake Tear of the Clouds between all the summits. This is the start of the Hudson River and also the start of Gray Peak. There are a few cairns that marks the trail for Gray Peak (#9 on 46'er list) so be sure to keep you eyes peeled for it. The hike up is steep and there is some hard hand over hand climbing so take your time. It only takes about 25-30 miles to the summit. From there you can see Mt Marcy and Mt Skylight and several others. Once your back down, keep heading down the trail to 4 corners. From there, turn right heading up Mt Skylight (#4 on 46'er list) which is about another 20-30 minutes to the bald summit. More amazing views from there so take your time and enjoy. Climb back down the way you came and now you can climb up the back side of Mt. Marcy. Once you are past the tree line it can be very windy and cold so be ready. Your now on top of the tallest mountain in New York at 5,344ft (#1 on 46'er list). Once you've taken all the pictures and videos of the most amazing views you'll see, don't back track. Head toward the Von Hoevenberg Trail towards Indian Falls / Marcy Dam. Indian Falls is a short trek off the main trail but a good resting spot. Keep heading towards Marcy Dam and then back to the lodge to finish your day.

18 days ago

Great trails but really need snowshoes in the avalanche pass , be well prepare in winter . A lot of « lean-to » near the trails. Enjoy !

7 months ago

We've done a variation of it: from ADK Loj - Marcy Dam - Marcy - 4 Corners - Skylight - Tear of Clouds - Colden lake - Avalanche lake - back to Dam and Loj.
~3 hours to Marcy summit. Break for 30 mins. 1 hour to Skylight and back to 4 Corners.
We were moving at a good pace although mud slowed us down and completed the loop in ~ 11 hours.
It is a great hike, excellent views from summits and by the lake shore. Nothing too difficult but requires quite a bit of stamina.

7 months ago

Did the loop as an clockwise overnighter staying at Feldspar after summiting Mt. Marcy. Was a beautiful hike and the views from atop Marcy are breathtaking. Liked the clock-wise direction because it gave us plenty of time to enjoy Marcy and then having more time at gorgeous Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake the next day. Wasn't easy and it's not a hike if you're looking for solitude during the summer months, but it's a trip that I'd happily do again.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Hardest hike I've done in my life! The section around the lake is both technical and fun. So many views. This hike took 11 hours so start early. I'm not a slow hiker either. This one will challenge you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

great hike on a August weekend. a little bit of an adventure at times but made all three gray skylight Marcy in one day with my gf.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Incredible and beautigul -yet also, for a day hike ,long and physically demanding -worth it

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Awesome! Highly recommended!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Great hike. Started at 10 and ended at 7:30 in the dark. Challenging but doable in a day. Bring a headlamp unless you start earlier. GPS said over 18 miles and 5,000+ feet of elevation gain.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Mt Skylight only from the loj. Definitely a long hike, start early. Very peaceful and quiet the entire Sunday. I think I only saw a handful of other hikers.

Monday, May 25, 2015

It was a great trail. Lots of amazing views. Not too much snow. In the 18 miles there was maybe less then a mile of snow, less then a foot deep and it was thinning pretty quickly. Gray peak was a little hard with the climbing. There was no trail, but a pretty decent herd path. Gray and Skylight both took about 30 minutes to summit. Marcy took about 45 minutes because of how steep she is. But coming down off Marcy was long, with lots of boulder hopping. Overall, it was a great day.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

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Saturday, August 08, 2015