Phelps Trail is a 8.2 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.
dogs on leash
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.
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.
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
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. :)
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.
Microspikes were a god-send.
Hiked the Van Hoevenburg trail in December after a recent snow fall. the trail to Marcy Dam was great, very scenic and enjoyed the view of Algonquin.. Phelps on the other hand was long, steep and went on for ever. listed at 1.0 miles on the DEC trailmarker, but hardly a mile..more like 1.5 miles. Its not marked, the open rocky southern face is the summit. Great views of Tabletop and Marcy. Named for Old Man Phelp's love of Mercy Mountain.. fits the namesake well. Bring plenty of water, food and patience if you wish to snowshoe. and a ice axe and crampons as well. enjoy.
Thanksgiving day hike. Five in our party, 2 adults, 14 year old, 12 year old and our 5year old Collie. We stayed overnight in the ADK Loj lean-to. The low was about 17 degrees but we stayed toasty warm and it was a beautiful night. Got a little bit of a slow start and were at the trail head at 9 with full packs. Started off with snowshoes but with in 20 minutes decided we didn't need them and strapped them on to our packs. There is about a foot of snow now but the trail to Marcy dam is packed and easily walked with just winter boots. Took us 4 hours to summit, with the last mile being pretty tough. The last mile had exposed ice but we managed without our spikes. Beautiful wintery view at the top. THe hike down only took 3 hours and was fun sliding down the mountain.
Three of us in our twenties did this hike on Tuesday morning. The first few miles started out mostly just walking through the forest which is was quite easy however as we started to climb the running water turned to ice which was big challenge without spikes. The last mile before the summit is where the trail gets challenging which makes the distance seem much longer. Would recommend the trail this time of year but next time we would definitely bring spikes along!
Very busy day at the ADK loj today, parking was full we had to park 1/2 mile away. The trail is very easy until the last mile while it is rocky and was slippery due to the rain of the day before.
The sign shows 1.2 miles to the summit but we felt that we hiked a lot more