#7 Gray Peak

#7 Gray Peak - Pure Adirondacks

The tallest of the trail-less peaks, Gray Peak is often climbed in conjunction with Skylight and Marcy, and was named by Verplanck Colvin for the botanist Asa Gray. The summit is somewhat filled with trees, but with stunted growth, so there are still great views to be seen from the top towards Skylight.

Trail Stats

Distance: ~15 miles round-trip

Elevation: 4,840 ft

Ascent: 2,661 ft from Adirondack Loj 

The hike up Gray begins the same as Mt Marcy, hiking a rolling to gradual trail for 2.3 miles to Marcy Dam. If you are hiking with younger or less experienced hikers, they can accompany you as far as the dam and then turn back for an easy, gentle walk. Plus, the view from the dam makes it a beautiful place to stop and have a picnic or quick snack. The bridge across the dam washed out in 2011, so you’ll cross the stream a little before the dam. After reaching the dam, you’ll see the trail register ahead for all of the peaks that ascend from here. Continuing past the trail register you’ll pass some designated campsites, reaching the Avalanche Pass trailhead in 100 yards.

As you continue on the trail to Avalanche Pass, you soon hit an intersection where you will take a left that heads to Lake Arnold. As you climb towards Mt Colden, you will eventually come to Lake Arnold, at which point you will stay left around the lake, descending slightly into a small, beautiful valley. You will then follow a trail that will take you steeply up again to the left, eventually coming to Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds. At the lake’s outlet, the herd path up Gray begins – be sure to follow the path closely, as it can be faint at times. The herd path will continue up to the summit ridge, following the ridge from there to the summit, where you will find impressive views and some places for shelter if it is windy. This hike is one that it is important to keep a map handy, and you’ll want to pay close attention to your directions throughout.

If you’re interested in a longer hike (17.2 miles round-trip), you can hike Gray in conjunction with Skylight and Marcy, a popular route that we’ve done before and described in a blog post here.

Trailhead Directions

📍Google Maps // From Lake Placid, take route 73 towards Keene, turning right onto Adirondack Loj Road, which you will follow to the end. There will be a toll booth at the entrance where you will have to pay a parking fee.

High Peaks Map

Plan & prepare for your ADK adventure! ADK Mountain Club's topographic trail map, High Peaks: Adirondack Trail Map, revised edition as of Summer 2021. The go-to map for the latest on High Peaks trails, lean-tos, campsites, and public-private land boundaries, many of which have changed in the last year alone.

46 Adirondack High Peaks

Roster of Peaks

Keep it PURE

Remember to Leave No Trace! Buy a physical map, read it, plan, and prepare. Think about the NYS Rangers and medical personnel that exhaust themselves for a rescue that could have been avoided. Pack out your trash. Use a bear canister when primitive camping and cook away from where you’re sleeping. Do the rock walk to help reduce the impact on fragile alpine vegetation. Camp at designated campsites and never camp on or near summits.

Trail Conditions

Know before you go

The 46 of 46 Podcast

An outdoors documentary podcast of a local hiker's journey hiking all 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains to become an Adirondack 46er. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.

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