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Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg Trail is a 15.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 15.4 mi Elevation gain 3,562 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Rock climbing Snowshoeing Running Forest Lake River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Rocky Scramble Snow
Description
Waypoints (6)
Facilities
Getting There

Mount Marcy peak is the highest point in New York state within the High Peaks Region. This is a challenging hike due to its length. Starting on the Van Hoevenberg Trail from the Adirondack Loj or near Heart Lake, the trail is easy until you reach Marcy Dam. Once you have reached the dam, you begin climbing up rocky terrain, as the trail is mostly boulders, and this persists most of the way from there on. Stop and take a rest by Phelps Brook and Indian Falls to take in some excellent views. You will want to refill water bottles here as there are no streams the rest of the way. The hiking gets harder as you get closer to the summit. The last 1.2 miles is the toughest climb of the hike and the last push is bedrock that feels steeper than it is. However, the payoff from the Mount Marcy Summit is a fantastic view of the Adirondack high peaks, Mont Royal in Montreal, Canada, and the Green Mountains in Vermont all from the highest peak in the state. This is a popular route within the Adirondack Mountains is heavily traveled, well maintained, and very well marked, however it can be rough on weak ankles. Hiking boots with good ankle support are recommended.

Take Adirondack Loj road in Lake Placid. Turn left onto South Meadows Road and park near the gate if there's room. If there is no parking, add on an extra mile or so to your total distance.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1001)
Photos (4016)
Recordings (593)
Completed (3210)
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Mayu User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 24, 2020
HikingIcyMuddyRocky

First thing first, bring micro spikes!! Hiked this trail yesterday and it wouldn’t have worked without micro spikes! IT SAVED OUR LIFE! Started off at 6:30am and came back right at 5pm. The summit was super cold and windy. Would recommend to wear a lot of layers for the summit!

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David Unsworth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 21, 2020
HikingIcySnow

I hiked this trail on November 21st. I was concerned about the temperature and the wind, neither of which proved to be a problem. What is problematic is not even the length, but the nature of the trail. Everything up to Marcy Dam is flat and easy. Thereafter, the steepness is not so much the problem; rather it is the nature of the terrain you face, particularly in late Fall: a heady brew of boulders, roots, mud, and oodles of snow and ice. Nearly the entire trail was covered with ice. Most curious of all, this is the only mountain in my life which took me longer to descend than to ascend. It was 4 hours and 47 minutes up, and 4 hours and 49 minutes down. Many on the trail were scared off by the icy terrain; although the parking lot was full, most were doing other trails, and only a handful of people summited. The trail is fairly easy until you get to the final portion (where you turn right/West to the summit). There it got quite interesting, and it would be difficult (but not impossible) without poles and microspikes. A lot of the trail is pretty routine forest terrain, but it's not until the final portion (about 600 feet of vertical gain) that you get to see the spectacular beauty of the alpine-arctic tundra, and breathtaking views. This would probably be a fairly standard day hike in the summer, but take special precautions if you expect to find frozen conditions, and don't summit without poles and microspikes unless you enjoy slipping and falling. Even with microspikes, I fell twice (hard) and had about a dozen near falls. That being said, there isn't any exposure on this trail...and it's not like you could kill yourself...but you certainly could get some nasty cuts and bruises (at best) or a broken limb (at worst). The ascent was (I dare say) fun! But the descent went from enjoyable to grueling to miserable to utterly wretched over the course of the next nearly 5 hours, culminating with me spending the last half hour furiously speed-walking through the woods with my dimly-illuminating headlamp to try to reach my wife who was waiting for me by the Adirondack Loj. Get a very very early start in the winter months. It didn't help that I blew out my left knee (happens from time to time) about 1/3 of the way down the mountain, so I was basically operating with only 1.5 legs. Expect the descent to be extremely hard on your knees. All in all, it was good experience for winter mountaineering (my first time really climbing a mountain in winter conditions) and I hope to come back with a group in the late spring/summer. Under "normal" conditions, this would probably be around a 6 hour day hike...something comparable to a Mt Washington (NH), Wheeler Peak (NM), or Humphreys Peak (AZ).

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Christine Roethel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 15, 2020
HikingIcyMuddyRocky

Hiked up on 11-13. Spikes needed once you’re about half way up, slabs of rock were completely covered in ice. Would have been extreme difficulty to navigate without. Temperatures were low towards summit, wind making it worse. Definitely need appropriate gear & layers. Muddy on the way down. Challenging but fun. We took a casual pace & took about 10 hours.

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Joe Frederick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
HikingIcyMuddyRocky

Hiked up on 11-13-20 started just after 6am and it was a bit chilly 25degress but once you started really moving layers had to be stuffed in bag. As everyone mentions trail is wet and muddy but there’s enough logs to help navigate. Spikes are needed after Indian falls enough ice on rock faces to turn you back down if you don’t have. We made the summit at 11:30 and it was a sheet of ice. We were blasted by sleet and gail force winds the whole climb to the Marcy plaque. It was a hard climb but super rewarding. Made it back to the loj by 3:30.

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Robin McLaughlin
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Hiking
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Chris Ottenstroer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 8, 2020

Hiked on Saturday, November 7. A perfect day to hike. Temps started in the 40’s and hit 65 by noon. First few miles were perfect. But the top 2/3 was increasingly more wet as you approached the top. Thankful I left the trail runners and went with more of a waterproof boot. Spikes and poles were a huge help near the top today!

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Robert Gleason
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Hiking
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Jon Crevier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 6, 2020
HikingFloodedGreat!IcySnow

So rewarding and absolutely beautiful! Started a little after 6:00 AM finished just after 4:00 PM. Spikes are necessary about halfway up. Didn’t use poles but would have been useful.

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Morgan Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 3, 2020
Hiking

Only ones on the trail. 11/3/20. 8 inches average snow fall. In some places hip deep. Broke trail all day. 13 hours total. No view. Marshall was very hard to navigate as you can’t see the logs. Got wet which made it hard. Did loop backwards as I wanted to finish on Marcy. Officially a 46er now!!!

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Ben Mena
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2020
BackpackingGreat!IcyMuddyRockySnow

10-31-2020 I’m experienced in the Catskills. First time in Adirondacks. My now fiancé and myself did it in 12 hours. 6am to 6pm. Physically demanding and emotionally demanding. Ice ice ice from Marcy dam and up. Not too much snow on trail. Crampons are mandatory and I’d suggest also using trek poles. Never got too cold. Def layer up. Tough hike but very rewarding .

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Ian Shuttleworth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 31, 2020
HikingGreat!IcyScrambleSnow

Long and fun! I think this time of year is the best time to go. didn't get wet because all of the trail was ice. microspikes absolutely required, saw people give up toward the top without them. trail was less crowded than expected on a Saturday, forecast was 40/25 on the ground, 25 at summit, but never got cold with proper layers + balaclava. 2 moderately fit mid 20s guys here, took us 11hrs at leisurely pace, we stopped briefly ~4 times, for snacks and photos, 30 min at snowcovered summit.

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Christine DeSanno
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 26, 2020
HikingFloodedMuddyRockyScrambleWashed out

Hard for the average hiker and decently fit person. Very accomplished feeling at end. Wet trail. Cold at the top in October. Recommend for those that want to achieve. Not recommended for those just trying to have a day. My body hurts.

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