Mount Marcy from Johns Brook Lodge is a 16.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Keene Valley, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length16.6 miElevation gain3,979 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingFishingHikingNature tripsBird watchingDog friendlyForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeBugsMuddyRockySnowFee
Description
Waypoints (5)
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Getting There

Mt. Marcy is the Highpoint of New York State. This is actually the slightly longer approach to Mt. Marcy but many people think it is a better one because it offers a loop hike at the end using two different trails. If you were to do a loop hike from Heart Lake you would need to climb over a pass behind Colden and descend quite a bit before ascending Marcy (more elevation change). Also, going this way allows you to camp overnight in the amazing Johns Brook Lodge area where there are plenty of campsites and some great swimming holes in the nearby river of the same name. This is difficult full day but if you want to make it an easy hike you could camp and leave your camp gear around Johns Brook or along several of the lean-to's you will pass by on the Phelps Trail.

Parking is in a paid lot run by the Town of Keene. In the summer the parking lot can fill and hikers are required to park in Marcy Field down in Keene Valley. A shuttle service runs from Marcy Field to the Garden during the summer.

The Garden Parking lot is easily found by following the signs for it in Keen Valley on Route 73. To get to Keen valley Take exit 30 off I-87 and head towards Lake Placid. There is a $7 a day fee to park in this lot and if it is super busy there is an overflow lot with a shuttle.

Follow the "Trail to the High Peaks" sign from the center of Keene Valley. The winds up the side of Keene Valley to the Garden parking lot.

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Reviews (35)
Photos (1,866)
Activities (12)
Completed (261)
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Jim Guarino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

I had a nice weekend backpacking in the Adirondacks. Friday afternoon I hiked from the Garden parking lot to the Crandall Lean-To at John’s Brook Lodge via the Phelps trail. Saturday morning I was on the trail at 6:30am and arrived at Marcy at 10:00am. The wind was strong, but the view was great. I then summited Skylight at 11:45am and Gray peak at 1:00pm. I tackled Haystack via the south end, tackled the rock slides up, and arrived at the summit at sunset around 4:30pm. The summit at sunset was beautiful. I got back to JBL after dark having hiked 16.5 miles in 13 hours. Sunday I hiked out to the Garden parking lot via the south side trail. The caretaker at JBL told me that this trail is no longer maintained due to storm damage, but that it’s still a beautiful trail. I enjoyed the trail back to the parking lot and I did not see a single person the whole way, 4.2 miles. Total mileage for the weekend was 25.6 miles.

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Michael Kreha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

Tough trails - especially Hopkins on the way down. Completed after a storm the day before - lots of water and mud. Marcy is a blast, but crowded. Outside of the Marcy summit we ran into very few people on the trail. A great alternative to hiking Marcy from the Loj.

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Sean Gemerek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingBlowdownMuddyOver grownScramble

The only reason this trail gets a 4 is because, well, Marcy. Wife and I did this trail to specs, never seeing a single soul between the Phelps/Hopkins junction and the Van Hoevenberg junction leading to the summit, either on the ascent (Phelps) or the descent (Hopkins). The trails are clearly not maintained, as sections of the Hopkins trail were nearly impassable in sections due to fallen trees and brush. Marcy’s summit was incredible, but Hopkins trail made trip longer than expected. In hindsight, it would’ve been better to just go back down Phelps back to JBL. Trail took us 9 hours excluding 40 minutes at summit and we’re both relatively fit. Leave early and pack extra socks. Great hike, but could be too much to bite off for many in one day. Take care and come prepared.

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Sam Cherubin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 7, 2020
HikingBlowdownMuddy

Trail condition was in rough shape up the Hopkins trail (after Bushnell falls and before the Van Hoevenberg junction). Lots of blowdown (most of it is easy to traverse up and over, but still a real pain to deal with). Trail was very wet and muddy on the Hopkins trail and Van Hoevenberg trail when ascending Marcy. No snow at all, so spikes are not necessary. Bring extra socks, wear pants if you can and prepare to get wet and muddy.

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Ethan Smalt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 27, 2020
HikingBlowdownMuddyOver grownRockyScrambleSnowWashed out

BE WARNED!!! I attempted this trail today and only made it to about a half mile before the Van Hoevenberg junction. The trail is basically impassable. The snow pack is too deep and you keep falling through it, about 3ft into the stream below. There is really bad blowdown where you literally need to crawl through fallen tree branches to keep going. The trail is not clearly marked and it is not easy to find. It was obvious I was the first person to attempt this trail in months. I would only attempt this trail right now if you have hiked it before and have a lot of experience.You will definitely need waterproof hikers and microspikes.

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Kev U Know
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 27, 2019
Hiking

we did this loop in 9 hrs. everyone was in fit condition., We took Phelps trail for our decent, unfortunately after a sudden rain storm. Fairly unpleasant considering this trail is basically a small stream with many slick rocks. Also become very tight at times with very dense vegetation so pants and long sleeves can help to protect the limbs. be prepared to get wet and muddy. once u drop elevation, the trail becomes difficult to follow the markers, so take your time and keep your eyes peeled.

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Amy van Loon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 15, 2019
Hiking

So glad we chose this hike! Breath taking views, well kept trails, high meadows, wildlife and more! Stayed at the base the night before, plenty of camp sites especially if you aren’t picky. Lots of water along the trail. Can be done in a day, or can be made into a one to two overnight if needed! Love it!

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John Manaresi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 19, 2018

This was a beautiful hike all around!Not too technical, just steep climbs and rock scrambles towards the summit. Started the hike at JBL and almost reached the summit but had to turn around 200 yd from the top due to impassable sheets of ice. We took Phelps trail down to descend, and I found a red mossy rock near a waterfall to where I proposed to my fiance. (she said yes!) The only reason I took one star away was because Phelps trail needs better blazes in the areas that need it most and less in the more obvious spots. Highly recommended hike!!

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Mason Kneedler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2018
Backpacking

Made this route into a 3 day backpacking trip. I myself am not in peak physical condition, but breaking it up made it doable. Beautiful sights, astonishing really. The trail itself is a little rough, especially with a pack on. Majority of the trail was river/ creek bed with decent boulders. Deffinatly being a good pair of hiking boots and a camera.

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ari del Tufo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2018
Backpacking

Got to Keene Valley off the bus around 5:30 on the first day and hiked up to dear brook lean-to and slept there. Hiked up Marcy on day 2 (made it to the summit around 3:30), then hiked back down to slant Rock lean-to for the night (did this loop "backwards" according to this map). Headed out the next morning. Great solo backpacking trip! The last few miles were really hard with my 30 lb pack but it was worth it!

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Steven Avila-Sosa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2018
Hiking

I did this as a all day hike, great experience but very strenuous and I loved it!!! Great Trail along the river, very muddy, I did the hike and came back to parking lot via the south trail and cut across the river. 13-14hr hike and my recording said 18 miles I believe, I started at 4am and summited Marcy around 11-11:30pm. Great Views. No water on trail but I did see signs for bathrooms.

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Lizzy T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2018
Backpacking

I love this hike and have done it multiple times now as a three day trip: hike into JBL and sleep over, Marcy loop the next day, and hike out from JBL the third day and it’s a perfect trip in my opinion. Love Mt. Marcy and JBL!

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Jim Zack
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2018
Hiking

We hiked in from the Garden using the North Side Trail to Grace Camp on the first day and slept in the cabin near Johns Brook Lodge. The next morning we hiked the Phelps trail to the summit of Marcy for my sister's 60th birthday and then descended via the Hopkins trail back to Grace Camp where we got some well-deserved rest before hiking out on the disappearing South Side trail back to the Garden. Beautiful hike/camp experience. First 46er for me as well. My boots completely disintegrated (25-year old Vasques with dried out glue), so I hiked out in Chaco sandals, adding to the adventure. (Hike date was 9/12/2012)

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Frankie Mad Dog
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 5, 2017

La difficulté ici est la distance. Nous sommes dans la soixantaine et l avons fait en 9h30. Une vue incroyable ! Un must.

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bryan phillips
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2017
Hiking

There are some great views on this trail; as well as a fair mix of hiking / climbing. This trail is pretty unforgiving on the knees. I'm active military, in great shape, and still had a difficult time with this one. Felt like I got hit by a train when I woke up the morning after. Waterproof and non-slip boots are a must, and extra socks just in case. Recommend hiking poles, but not necessary. It took me and my friend about 10 hours to complete it with about an hour of rest total.

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Allison Haskell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2017
Hiking

Beautiful and fun hike if you are up to the challenge! Get there early because the parking lot fills up quickly (at least on Saturdays). Round trip, Including a long stop at the summit, It took a friend and I 9.5 hours to complete the hike. We are both very fit, experienced hikers. The first two-thirds of the trail are very easy but the last third is very difficult. My advice: be prepared and give yourself PLENTY of time, especially if you are not in good physical condition!

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Joy Tovås
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 24, 2016

Hard, but so worth the struggle. Marcy makes you work for it! Very hard on knees and ankles on the descent... bring good poles & use them well!

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James Crumm
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Great trail. Kinda sucks in December during a blizzard though.

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Jeremy Hobson
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Hiking

not as bad as I thought. definitely put up a fight going back down.

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Francis Beauchamp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2015
Hiking

Fantastic! Did it two years ago and planning on doing it again this fall. Don't do like me, pack light. Plenty of places to fill your water bottle so no need to carry a ton. Make sure your boots are waterproof as the trail goes up a stream for a part of it.

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