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Mount Skylight, Mount Marcy, and Gray Peak Loop Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(150)
High Peaks Wilderness

Mount Skylight, Mount Marcy, and Gray Peak Loop Trail is a 17.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 17.6 mi Elevation gain 5,068 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Running

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Blowdown

Muddy

Rocky

Snow

Off trail

Fee

Description
Waypoints (15)
Tips

Two enormous bald summit 46ers and a trailess Gray Peak in a day loop hike form Heart Lake. A state highpoint as well. This is an epic hike that will gain you three more Adirondack 46er peaks along with the State Highpoint, Mt. Marcy. Make sure to follow the GPS track and pay attention to the trail junctions as there a few. You'll pass by alpine lakes, the start of the mighty Hudson River, and descend the state highpoint past a beautiful waterfall. This hike can be done in one very long day or in an overnight with a stay at Marcy Dam where the loop hike begins. Parking is $12 per day

Heart Lake Adirondack Loj Trailhead: From Exit 30 take Route 73 towards Lake Placid for 26.5 miles. Take a left onto Adirondack Loj Road and continue 5 miles to the Loj and the parking area. There is a $10 per day fee to park here.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (150)
Photos (2778)
Recordings (95)
Completed (454)
Liwei Hao
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HikingFloodedMuddyRocky

Great experience. Be prepared to get wet.

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Conor Casey
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Hiking

Overall it was a great hike on 7/7/20. Ended up being about 19.6 miles around the loop compared to the 17.6 that is posted. Gray was challenging, but the most challenging part seemed to be the long trek back to the Loj over the rocky trail, and the boards that sank into the water. It was a challenging, but rewarding day. If you plan on going during a clear and sunny day, prepare to bring extra water, as the sun was pretty strong. Enjoy!

Alana Kornaker
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HikingMuddyRockyScramble

Gray is the toughest — I started with Gray and ended with Marcy. The walk back from March to the loj is brutal! Felt like foreverrrr.

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Jeff Parisi
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HikingBridge outFee
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Alicia C
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HikingBlowdownMuddyRocky

Great and long day out in the ADKs! Added The Phelps and Tabletop to this loop for a 22.5 mile loop with over 7000ft vert. The main trail to Marcy is great and the busiest section. Trail fo Phelps is steep but with very rewarding views. Tabletop’s herd path is very easy to follow. Limited views at the wooded summit. Marcy is huge and of course has gorgeous views. Very slabby. Went up and over to continue down towards Skylight which was my favorite summit of the day. Beautiful views. Gray Peak’s bushwhack was tough. A lot of steep climbs up and over boulders and slides. Go past the summit to find the sign. The hike out back to the Loj is long. The worst part is having to go up about 400 feet over a pass of sorts. Seemed horrible after already having so much vert for the day. The last 4 miles to Marcy Dam and the Loj take forever but at least they’re flat and not very rocky so you can cruise if your feet and mind allow it.

View Alicia's Recording
Nicholas Hamling
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Hiking

This is an epic day hike with extraordinary views from the summits of Marcy, Skylight, and Gray. Had good weather, minimal bugs, was a little muddy but not too bad.

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Justin Elwell
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HikingRockyScramble

This triad can be done as shown on the included map from the Loj: Marcy, Skylight and Gary. Or you can take the Lake Arnold trail and do Gary, Skylight and Marcy. Another option is: Marcy, Gray, Skylight and back over Marcy. I’ve done these three routes, and have found the Marcy, Gray, Skylight and Marcy trek the most interesting and enjoyable. No matter what way you do these three, it’s a tough day. The routes are easy to follow. All three peaks have amazing views, even Gray which people often overlook. Skylight is beautiful, and one of my favorites. Water sources are Indian Falls, Lake Tear, or the Opalescent. Enjoy!

Jonathan Friedler
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HikingBugsMuddyRockyWashed out

Hiked this trail and did all three summits on 6/27. Took us about 13 hours, starting from the Lodge at 8:30 AM and finishing just after 9 PM. We had beautiful weather for most of the hike. There was lots of mud, and in some areas, the bog bridges were practically under water. Gray Peak was a bit of bushwhacking/ navigating rocks to the summit. The ascent to Skylight was much easier - and the summit itself was much more incredible - compared to Gray Peak. Fog rolled in as we ascended Marcy from there and we were pretty much enshrouded in fog until we departed Marcy summit. Caught some nice views nonetheless. The 8 mile trek from the Marcy summit back to the lodge was a prolonged and rocky; it ended up being the major challenge since we were fairly spent by then. When we got back to the dam, the sky opened up and we got rained on for the last two miles, but we were soaked from sweat anyways. Felt very accomplished doing it, and really enjoyed the experience. Recommend: LOTS of bug spray, anti-chafing stuff, waterproof boots, dry clothes, and of course, beer.

Chris Ottenstroer
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Hiking

Hiked on perfect day. 6/26 17.5 miles with 5,200’ Started at 6:30am - Took 7hrs 10min but kept a good pace throughout. A little mud but most could be avoided. Bugs not too bad. Bring a lot of water.

Paul Ruggeri
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Hiking

Absolutely flawless day

Josh Parker
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HikingBlowdownMuddy

I did this Sunday June 14th, all the snow is gone. Trails are still muddy like usual. I went down the lake Arnold trail towards the floating log section. It is wrecked from storms but I was able to bushwhack around it with minimal trouble. As long as you predownload the map it’s easy to find the trail again.

devin farmiloe
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BackpackingFloodedIcySnow

This was a WILD backpacking trip that took us way longer than expected due to snow & snow melting. I thought we would breeze through it and be able to do another loop on our stay but it took a lot longer than anticipated due to conditions. The bottom layers of the snow were melting making rivers buried under leg deep snow, and every several feet we would fall through the snow and end up knee-waste deep in snow with our boots in water. The descent of Mary towards skylight was pretty insane and we sank into the snow the whole way down. We ended up turning left at the post at the base of Marcy because it said those lean-tos were closer and it was getting late. This was a huge mistake and I am pretty sure this trail is inactive until later in the summer when the snow is melted. Past the faldspar campground (to the right at the base of Mt. Marcy and the correct way on the loop) there are bogs that are completely flooded and and the planks sink waist deep into the water as you walk across them. The weather was beautiful but the conditions were treacherous. I don't recommend doing this loop until later in the summer unless you know the trails well and are okay will being soaked.

Hireni P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Mar 20 2020
HikingSnow

Hiked on March 14th. We were very lucky with the weather, clear day with 40 mph winds. Marcy was very icy so we had to change into our full crampon. Enjoyed the beautiful views!

Tom Lyng
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HikingSnow

Sun 3/8/20 I hiked Marcy, Skylight and Gray from ADK Loj, (clockwise, Marcy first), but instead of finishing by the Lake Arnold trail, I went down to Colden Dam and went over Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake. They are starting to thaw out a little but still very solid that day. I am guessing they'll still be passable by March 21 but It's just a guess. I don't really know. I don't know what the exact mileage is for this route but I measured it at about the same (17.6). I thought that going over the lakes would be much easier, and I thought it would be another mile or so but after measuring it looks the same to me. Marcy was very windy, but it was a warm day. This is a pretty demanding hike, I tried going up as quickly as I could because I knew it was going to be a long day. Toward the end I was really dragging, I hiked two days earlier so that didn't help either, but I managed it in 12 hrs total. The trail was good the entire way, no problems with that. I had a little trouble finding my way down Marcy toward Skylight but after 5-10 minutes I found the cairns. They are more or less on a straight line between the peaks. Great views of course, you can basically see everything on a clear day.

Josh corrow
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long day. but worth it

Loring S.
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Hiking

one of the best hikes I have ever been on. Incredible views, awesome back country hiking. Check out my full review along with pictures and things to look out for. eastcoasthiker.com/trails/marcy/

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