Phelps Trail

MODERATE 103 reviews
#4 of 42 trails in

Phelps Trail is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Keene Valley, New York that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2158 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

This is a very short climb from Adirondack Loj to the top of this 46er which as wonderful views from summit ledges. This is an easy climb from Adirondack Loj to the top of Phelps at 4,160 feet. Although the summit is wooded there are spectacular views spanning from the Great Range all the way to Algonquin with the state high point, Mt. Marcy framed in the center. You'll want to take some time at the top for photos. This is one of the easier climbs in the high peaks so feel free to bring family.

7 days ago

great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Saturday was a perfect day for Phelps- low 30s and blue skies. I used my spikes, although I saw plenty of folks with snowshoes. The last mile is a straight incline. There were small sections of ice, but it wasn't bad. Overall, a wonderful hike with a great view!

3 months ago

Loved this hike! Went at the end of January , high 30’s and it was perfect. I used my spikes and my boyfriend used snowshoes. The view from the top was beautiful along with some great views as you are reaching the summit. The first three miles is an easy walk but the last mile is fairly challenging. Really enjoyed this hike, my only suggestion is leave early so you can hit tabletop too!

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Not going to lie, I “Phelps” this one! I went on a relatively mild winter day. Temp was high 30s. Snowshoes were required since there was 8 in (or more) of snow on the ground. Although, I saw a few who were hiking with just microspikes. I did too, i am not used to hiking with the snowshoes and I felt awkward in them. From the Loj, I followed the blue trail. The first 3 miles were pretty straightforward, the last mile was intense. The views were spectacular! If I had a time (maybe 2 more hours of sunlight), I would have climbed Tabletop Mountain which was 2 miles away from Phelps.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike Jan-15-2018 as my first winter high peak. -19 degrees at Marcy Dam. The trail itself wasn't overly technical or hard, but keep in mind that climbing these mountains in winter, with added clothing and gear, drains your energy much faster than in the summer. Wore snowshoes until i got off the van ho and onto phelps trail then switched to microspikes. the trail is too rocky/icy/ narrow to wear snowshoes safely. Beautiful views in the last quarter mile and at the rock shelf at the summit. There is a rather steep ice-filled section towards the top that will require decent spikes and steady foot/hand work, but it is climbable without special gear. Keep moving and you'll stay warm, but bring extra layers if you plan to stop for more than a few quick pictures.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike 2 days ago in -20 degree weather. If you’d like to attempt this hike in the winter, definitely bundle up with a lot of layers and I’d recommend snow shoes. There really wasn’t any need for crampons on this hike. The hike is well marked and relatively straight forward. The view at the top is amazing and definitely pays off the effort to get up there. Took about 5 hours for the entire round trip. Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a moderately challenging day hike in the Adirondacks.

5 months ago

I went up on Nov 14th to bag another of the 46 high peaks. It had been a couple days after the first snow fall of the year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m still new to this peak climbing , and hadn’t done any in the snow/ice. On the drive up from Buffalo I climbed Arab Mountain as a warm up for the following day on Phelps. Arab Mountain wasn’t too bad...a gradual climb and though a little icy in spots, it was doable....The 4.1 mile hike to the base of Phelps wasn’t bad at all. Gradual up and down paths through the woods... crossing a river...good views at the opening near the river beds....The real work started at the initial ascent to the peak. The first 10 minutes or so was your typical rock scrambling, then the path started to get really icy. I didn’t have any micro spikes, so had to move very slowly. I scaled ( bypassed) 2 ice walls on the way up....bushwhacking through the trees on the side of the path....then when I was within 200-300 feet of the summit, I ran into an ice wall that was impassable. I don’t think spikes would have helped, I didn’t have climbing rope with me, and I was hiking solo. So after analyzing it for 10 minutes or so, ( and pissed that I was so close),I had to start my descent back down. I’ve been told that climbing in the snow is easier, as it takes a lot of the rock climbing out of the equation, but I’ll have to research that a bit more before I try to attempt that. Any input????? Drop me a tab....Kiernanfam96@aol.com... thanks, and happy and safe hiking!!

6 months ago

Nice day, a little wet and muddy in some spots. Easy for a high peak!

hiking
7 months ago

Nice hike, rain held off but very humid. No view at top due to heavy fog. Glad i had my coat as it was very cool and windy at top.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike with my dogs easy for a high peak

hiking
8 months ago

Fantastic experience. Beautiful summit views. Last mile or so is challenging like others have mentioned but we took our four kids along (between the ages of 7 and 14) and had a great time.

8 months ago

As many people say the first 3 miles or so are a walk in the park...but the last mile was very difficult. Slippery rocks, 3 or 4 rock walls and no way around and nothing on the side of the trail to hang onto. Very muddy and wet. The top is fantastic. At the summit there are little herd paths that split off to little look-outs. Take the trail from the boulder down through the very, skinny and wet trail through the evergreen path and it will take u to the true summit! Although there is no plaque, hikers left rocks around where it used to be. You gets views of Marcy, Tabletop, Algonquin and so much more from the summit! The way down is difficult. Very good day hike. Also could be combined with Tabletop! I would save this Peak for probably the 5th or 6th 46er you do. (This was my 6th high peak). It just depends on your stamina and your legs and feet.

8 months ago

Wow.

hiking
9 months ago

First three miles are easy, last mile is rough - We hiked the first three in an hour and ten, and the next in an hour and ten. About 2 1/2 hours from the Loj to the summit at a brisk pace. Gorgeous views of the neighboring peaks!

backpacking
9 months ago

Long but the view from up top is totally worth it! Make sure you bring gaiters or waterproof boots it gets very wet and muddy!

hiking
9 months ago

It's a long mile from the trail split, first half isn't too bad, gets harder near the top, the false summit views are amazing, summit views are also amazing! Went ahead and did Table Top after we got down from Phelps.

9 months ago

Took roughly 7 hours including an hour at the top to feed the little one and for her to take a nap. Climbed with our 11 month old on the back and our Boston terrier. As stated previously it is 3 easy miles out and one steep climb to the top. Definitely some scrabbling the closer you get to the top, but the way down is way easier than we thought it would be. Trekking poles were a huge help.

hiking
10 months ago

Relatively easy 46er. It is an 8+ mile hike that feels more like 2.5 miles, as a large portion of the hike is flat or with a gradual ascent.

As of the time of this review, the LOJ has been modifying the portion of trail between the MacIntyre junction and Marcy dam- bringing the trail through some muddy spots.

This would be a great double peak hike with Tabletop. Having already done Tabletop, and starting the trail after work @ 3:30pm meant I was doing Phelps by itself. I don't know where Lakeplacid.com got its 6 hours (experienced hiker) completion time because I was able to complete it trail head - to - trail head in 3 hrs and 45 minutes. A great mountain to view some of the larger, interior High Peaks with its summit balcony (very similar to Mt. Vanhovenberg), but if you were looking for something either a bit more difficult or looking to be ON one of the larger mountains (not looking at them) look to the Macintyres, Colden, or sections of the Great Range.

hiking
10 months ago

3 easy miles out and one inconvenient mile to the summit, nice views looking south to colden and marcy, do with Table Top if you're going for 46. Not a great hike by itself but is a great place to begin in the high peaks.

Moving at a brisk pace doing phelps alone should take you a little under 4 hours not accounting for rest at the top.

This was High Peak #21 out of the 46 for my husband and I. It's given a rating of 5 out of 7 for difficulty, but we think that number is a bit high. Maybe it's a 5 for an inexperienced hiker, but we thought it was relatively easy. It's mostly a pretty straight/smooth path, and the incline starts around the last mile or so. There are great views though, and it was easy to find a place to sit and eat lunch at the summit.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked on 7/5/17. Path starts at the back of parking lot 1 near the Loj. Trail was clearly marked and easy for the first 3 miles, with a nice resting spot on Marcy Dam. The last mile was harder, with a few scrambles and somewhat steep ascent. The top has some excellent views looking south in roughly a 180 degree arc. The trip took roughly 5 hours round trip.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike. Did it on 7/2/17. Very wet and muddy but we have had s ton of rain. Great views from the top. We even saw s pine marten at the summit.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Hiked on 4/9/17, excellent weather, no need for snow shoes did entire hike with just micro spikes.would have done table top also if it was not for a hand injury.

hiking
Sunday, March 26, 2017

We arrived to LOJ with overcast skies and a light snow falling. In a group of three, I was the only one to use snowshoes. My friends did well with spikes. A well packed trail met us the entire way. Last mile it got steep. Only came across one area with a good amount of ice. The summit was covered in cloud with light snow continuing. No views today. It took about 2 hours to navigate up the last mile but only 25 to slide down. We had s good time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Doing this trail in mid February became my first winter hike. Microspikes were definitely needed as there was plenty of snow. Snowshoes weren't needed but that was mainly because of the trails being beaten down and packed heavily from warmer temperatures beforehand.

This hike is exactly as it's mapped out. It's a pretty straight shot for the first 2 miles to Marcy Dam. This proves to be a little less than halfway, but certainly a good spot to take a nice little break.

From there is where the trail gets a bit more difficult with a steady incline. Again, doing this hike on a 30 degree clear day with plenty of snow proved probably a bit easier than if you had to scramble rocks.

The last mile is the hardest and the steepest. It can be pretty icy but we took our time and made it to the summit in about 3 hours total. The summit has a few different points you can get some pretty amazing views. The last half mile or so has views of Marcy, Colden and Algonquin on the way up.

The summit was surprisingly not windy at all (probably because of the wooded center area blocking most of the wind). We retreated the same way back down sliding part of the way down the frozen snow.

Overall the hike isn't too difficult until the last mile and can be split up nicely into 3rds to keep pace. 1/3 to Marcy Dam. 1/3 with a gradual incline towards the turn. 1/3 sleep to the summit. The lineage isn't split up in exact 3rds but it's easy to use these as a point of reference. It will take anywhere between 4 1/2 - 6 hours to complete, depending on pace.

hiking
Sunday, January 22, 2017

Awesome hike ! certainly a bit longer than marked at the junctions . we ended up finishing at about 10 miles. The first few miles are very easy after you pass Marcy dam it gets very steep, microspikes are a must in the winter due to ice. Awesome views on the top

hiking
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Completed Phelps Mountain on Sunday 1/15/2017. A very simple first 2 miles to Marcy Dam starts your trip. There are lean-to's there which are great for a quick break before getting into the serious part of the hike. Nice views as well. Then another easy mile to the Phelps DEC trail marker. The last 1 mile to the summit was somewhat steep but nothing too serious. Then it happened... A steep ice patch that immediately startled me. Seeing steep ice never gets easier for me, haha! Got up and past it but couldn't help but think how I would get back down it. Continued up the trail to find two more icy patches that required respect. I've heard others say the last mile is more like 1.2 or 1.5 miles but i'll take the DEC's word on the 1 mile. It was a tough mile for me. I wont elaborate on the time out of pure embarassment, lol. Made it to the summit and hung around for about ten minutes. Full panoramic views of the Great Range and many others. The entire walk up is very enclosed and offers no views so the payoff is nice. Used Grivel g12 crampons for almost the entire trip. They were much appreciated on the steep icy slides. 99% of others I saw were wearing Kahtoolah (however you spell that) microspikes or MSR Evo 22's. I personally would never wear snowshoes for these types of hikes anymore. They will work but they are kinda sketchy, even with a MSR Lighting Ascent which have an aggressive crampon. Microspikes seemed to be sufficient for most. I like the security on the ice. It's only your life right? The trail is heavily populated. You will meet many many friendly people who like to chit chat. A super easy first 3.2 miles, 1 tough mile. 8.4 miles roundtrip. More than suitable for beginner hikers with proper gear and respect. Enjoy. :)

hiking
Sunday, January 01, 2017

Well groomed trail, last mile is fairly difficult. Did this in the wintertime and had a few false summits. Micro spikes are a necessity because of the ice.

hiking
Sunday, December 25, 2016

Microspikes were a god-send.

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