Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg Trail

HARD 407 reviews
#1 of 38 trails in

Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg Trail is a 14.1 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.

DISTANCE
14.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,513 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

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.

hiking
17 days ago

Do it in the fall. The foliage will be amazing. I hiked the trail in the peak of summer and regretted it. Unless you are avid hiker -- you will find this to be difficult. The 'hard' rating is accurate. But if you're fit and up for a challenge -- this stroll through the woods provides an excellent reward.

hiking
25 days ago

There isn’t much to add that others mention here. This hike will humble you and then reward you with spectacular views!

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Amazing hike. Trail was very packed down and easy to follow. It gets really steep after you cross Phelps brook. The approach to the summit above tree line was very technical and needed concentration and skill. Very steep and icy at some points. Once you reach the summit the views are amazing but the wind makes it so you cant stay very long. Overall the hike was long but gradual and well worth the views.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked the trail round trip in about 7 hours. Beautiful trail and amazing view at the top! 95% of the trail is uphill, so bring plenty of water and be prepared for quite a workout.

1 month ago

Absolute best view you can ever have in New York State 2 of my friends and me just completed it yesterday on December 29th, 2018 it took us a total of 5 hours and 36 minutes up and about 5 hours down. Absolutely amazing hike. We have not done another high peak ever so this was incredibly difficult for us but we did it. The summit average temp was at -20°F with winds somewhere around 8mph it was amazing I highly recommend this to anyone with experience.

hiking
3 months ago

Completed 10/30/18 - the trail is long and gradual. If you like to get the climbing out of the way, this trail is not for you. There was a couple inches of snow from the loj and once we reached the top there was more than a foot of snow. Clouded-out conditions once we reached the top, but the alpine zone was unbelievable, even without the mountain views it felt unreal. I wouldn't do this hike without spikes or snowshoes in the winter. Probably don't need snowshoes right now since there was huge rainstorms past couple of days, but waterproof hiking boots and spikes will be much needed. Lots of hidden puddles, mud, and run-off all under the snow tuesday made this trail a lot more daunting. The overall experience and trek of this hike made this my favorite journey I've ever embarked in Nature to date, the high peaks are surreal.

hiking
3 months ago

Mount Marcy was a great hike. My wife and I just hiked the mountain on Nov. 1. The temperature was high 30s and a mix of precipitation. The snow started halfway and got a bit deeper as we went up. The trail changed from thick mud to seemingly endless boulders. There was a lot of snow covered ice and we needed to put on the microspikes to get traction on the rocks. Water streamed down the entire trail and could be seen in spots not covered in snow. There are a couple river crossings that required rock hopping. The water still came over our boots. My feet were wet for most of the trek thanks to leaky goretex boot linings. Wool socks made this more tolerable.
I'd say the trail wouldn't be technically difficult on a good summer day. However, the ice and snow made it a tougher and more time consuming trek. The mileage also made Marcy a physical challenge.
The summit area was completely covered in thick clouds that poured icy rain. We could barely see the trail behind us through the heavy fog. One must be careful not to lose their way in these conditions. Needless to say, we never encountered another soul on the trail throughout the hike. It was still worth the journey.

hiking
3 months ago

I'm an early Boomer who just had spinal fusion surgery in April....so I was a little apprehensive after reading reviews. We started at 7:30. Rainy and chilly in the parking lot. It stopped raining because it turned to hail and ice pellets. It's hard work after the first few miles. The rocks and roots and mud made it quite slippery. And worse when the snow started. We made it to Indian Falls where we bailed as the stones were almost underwater and we didn't have 'croutons'. The trip back down was actually harder because of more snow and mud and ice. We were the first ones out and back that day. If you want to avoid crowds go on a rainy cold day. I was surprised that I wasn't tired over the next few days. I'd definitely do it again on a sunny day.

3 months ago

I did marcy in the outing of September. Although the trail was very long, it wasn’t difficult. Nothing crazy steep, or terribly hard. Very easy to follow. But not going on a busy holiday weekend, the trail was very busy which was annoying. I would highly recommend doing Indian Falls on your way up and down. It’s 5 seconds off the trail. I would also recommend doing Tabletop while you are right there. I didn’t do it but is only .7 mi away from the trail. Adding only 1.4 miles to your day and +1 to your 46er list. The top was beautiful. You hav ran amazing view of the MacIntyre’s and the Great Range and Haystack.

hiking
4 months ago

Started from the lot at 6:40 and got back at 15:50. I was somewhat surprised it took me so long as I was really breezing down the last part. Upper sections were icy however, and the crampons were of great help. A lot of mud and water after Indian Falls; the ice started maybe 1.5 mile before the summit (not all over the place but enough to make you ponder your steps). Just a few people on top and met maybe 40-50 people going down - a manageable population for such a long hike.

hiking
4 months ago

We were bit nervous considering the other comments to complete this hike in November. However, we found this hike to be beautiful, diverse, and really achievable. We are in our late 20s/early 30s and are fairly fit. We reached the Summit within 3h30minutes, and completed the trip in 7 hours with about 30+ minutes of breaks.

Indian falls is only a few steps off the trail and beautiful. A rewarding trail, particualrly with kind people to meet along the way. You can do it!

hiking
4 months ago

There isn’t much that I could add to what others have said. This is a tough trek, but incredibly rewarding. Make sure you are prepared: water, food, layers, and water filtration. It’s long, but amazing!

4 months ago

The trail is challenging due to the distance. Some scrambling but not super large boulders. The day was wet and muddy-careful not to slip. Once I reached the summit it was windy and cold. The view was limited due to the cloud cover. I will return on a clear day.

4 months ago

Best East Coast hike I've ever done. The trail was wet most of the way which made for some tricky footing in the middle section, but even the steeper portions weren't technical to ascend or descend. Arrived on a Friday at 10 AM and plenty of parking was left. Got to the summit at 1:15, back to the car at 5:30 after lingering at the top and at Indian Falls (also a must-see) on the descent.

4 months ago

The crowds, that’s the only real complaint I have about this one and the only reason I’d skip doing it again. Get a super early start using a headlamp and it’ll be a lot more enjoyable. Just don’t plan on having the summit to yourself for long. Granted, it was Columbus Day weekend, but I easily passed 100-150people who were heading up as I was heading down.

As with all trails in the Adirondacks, this one has its muddy spots, but it’s not as bad as other trails I’ve been on recently. Also, if you’re looking for a challenge and some fun rock scrambles, you’re not going to find it with Marcy. Marcy is very consistent and gradual all the way up.

I will say the view at the top is great, even on a semi-cloudy day. The clouds on the day I was up there were coming and going and made for some interesting pictures and views.

hiking
4 months ago

I am 49, an ultra runner and pretty fit. This hike took me 4 hours up and 3 1/2 down. I took zero breaks and only spent about 10 minutes on the summit because it was an incredibly cloudy with no view (and cold!). The last mile is strenuous as it pretty much becomes rock scrambling. This is a great hike but do not underestimate the elements and the time it may take getting up/back.

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing hike. It was super wet since it rained a lot the day before but after the first one or two miles I just accepted my fate that my feet were gonna be soaked. Left at 7:30am and came back to my car at 13:30. Took me 3 hours to go up, 30 minutes at the top and 2 hours and a half to come back. I did not take breaks going up or down except at the Indian falls since it was beautiful and relaxing. The view was impressive because of the fog with the mountains coming out. My legs are still super sore and I would certainly recommend this hike, foggy or not.

hiking
5 months ago

Wonderful, although heavily trafficked, hike to a breathtaking view. Bring a head lamp if you are getting a late start, and a windbreaker for the summet. Proper hiking shoes with ankle support highly recommended, as you are mostly hiking up boulders to the top. There are a few places to camp near the start of the trek; bear-proof cannisters are required and can be rented at the lodge.

hiking
5 months ago

So the Hike Begins at the back of Parking Lot 1, and continues to the Marcy Dam. However, they were doing some construction at the dam but no biggie. However, when you cross the bridge initially do NOT go left, I made that mistake and I went down the truck trail for 2 or so miles before realizing my mistake. I then went back onto the correct trail and signed in at the dam sign in area. The hike is a little mucky/muddy but if you have some decent dry boots you'll be fine expect to have your foot submerged once from a misstep but other than that great hike. Made it to the top and got some bomber views. I was gonna go down the Lake Arnold side but decided against it because it would have been even more muddy and I didn't have a physical map, just my phone and the app. All in all took me about 8 hours because of my detour and completed 19 miles with a 30 minute break at the top and a couple 5 min breaks on the trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Definitely a challenging hike but well worth it. I'd done Mt Washington a couple weeks earlier in December and I found Marcy to be significantly more difficult than any of the other state high-points in the northeast. I completed the hike with snowshoes on my pack but never put them on. A state ranger let me know on the way down that you can actually be fined for not wearing them with ten or more inches of snow.

5 months ago

Great overall hike that lives up to its reputation. Definitely challenging but doable and well worth it. I am in my late 20’s and an avid runner and somewhat experienced hiker. It took my friend and I 6 hours round trip at a faster pace plus a 30 min rest at the top. We arrived at the Loj around 7:30 and the lot was almost full so I definitely recommend getting there closer to 7am. Bring layers as the temperature varies throughout the hike (today it was approx. 65 at base and 35 at summit). Trail is well trafficked and clearly marked (follow the blue markers). Bring plenty of water and snacks. And don’t forget $10 to park at the Loj.

hiking
5 months ago

A lot easier then I thought it would be 7.5 hours round trip with few stops along the way with 30 mins at the top. Not a technical climb but does require some agility because of the many rocks and endurance from pure length! Proper hiking boots and lots of layers this time a year is ideal! Single female hiker, started around 9am,summit At 12:45 and and finished at 4:30!!

hiking
5 months ago

There is no way to cut it- this is a hard hike !!!! I consider myself a pretty fit person and intermediate level hiker and this beast took about 11 hours round trip. This included several stops and about 30 min at the top. The hike technically is not hard other than a few rock scrambles the last hour and lots of rocks to step through- the challenges is in the endurance required! The journey is hard and the reward is big ! A few pieces of advice:
- wear sturdy hiking boots. This is not to be done in sneakers.
- Bring sufficient food and water. We brought 10L for two guys and still ran out with 3 hours of hiking remaining. I’m a huge sweater so I lose water fast.
- I’ve seen people comment that they did this round trip in six hours. You have to be really fit and fast to do this.
- We had perfect weather, including at the top- a nice 70F the whole way. I can see how weather can be bad at the top so check it first.
- It rained a few days before we hiked and we had basically to walk through a stream for half the hike. Not really a big deal other than prepare to get wet !
- Met some nice people on the hike Lots of high pointers!
- Start by 8am at the latest.
- Take an epsom salt bath afterwards

5 months ago

not to be taken lightly. expect to be out there all day for your average hiker. the distance is serious and don't forget you have to get back down. the final push is easy, the part that got me was the constant pounding for several miles beforehand. very tedious hike, stop at the falls to take a break it's worth it. glad to bag this peak but there's more fun hikes out there.

hiking
5 months ago

Too many people deciding that their one hike for the year is going to be Marcy.

Pick something easier that you're not killing yourself on, and enjoy nature instead of sucking wind! So many unprepared people today, poor footwear, a single water bottle, no rain gear, etc. If you're not enjoying yourself, there are plenty of other hikes to enjoy yourself on!

More on the high level of moderate than hard. Once you get past the dam the trail turns to walking up small boulders with water running down. Sturdy shoes, poles, and you should be good to go. 6:22 with a stop at the top. Nice to have options for water refills on the way up and down if you bring a filter.

Started dumping rain a couple minutes away from the parking lot, and we saw a lightning bolt hit the mountain a couple minutes later. Watch the mountain weather forecast!

5 months ago

Great hike! 4 hours up and 6 back. Worth all the time and effort to get up. I hiked this with my 11 year old daughter, am 41. A bit less challenging going up than we thought through the first 5. Last 2miles will get your heart pumping- and the first 2miles down hill were knee killers especially with the trail being so wet.
Was cloudy so no view- we’ll definitely be back to do it again.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked this trail on Labor Day weekend. Started at 6:45am and got back down at 4:30pm. The hike would be a challenge for those who don’t do any physical activities, hence why it’s labeled Hard. I thought that it wasn’t bad since I run often and do kickboxing 3-4times a week, I would love to do this trail again for a better time. Very well marked, kind people all around. The last 1.2 miles- a lot of it requires climbing boulders.

hiking
5 months ago

A really well maintained trail, several stops along the way with great views and atmosphere. Indian falls in particular was a pleasant spot. Other reviews have mentioned that the last mile and a half to the summit can be rough but I think it’s probably closer to the last half mile that gets you good. The trail nearer the summit is also pretty narrow, and with the sensitivity of alpine vegetation, so hikers should take care when they get there. Absolutely worthwhile, and not as long of a hike as others have indicated. I think an 8 hour round trip is probably average.

5 months ago

Started around 6:45 am. First time so enjoyed every minute solo. Stopped at Indian falls 10 minutes to fill up bottle of water and enjoy the view. Slow pace took me 3:50 to summit. Was 20C at bottom and 1C at summit! Bring proper gear. 360 view on top is amazing.

5 months ago

Don’t do it with a fullruck

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