#1 Mount Marcy

#1 Mount Marcy - Pure Adirondacks

Mount Marcy is the highest of the 46 High Peaks, and thus one of the most popular. The views from the top are hard to beat, and as far as the trail goes, it’s not the most challenging or longest of the high peaks. Given its relative ease of access, it’s also a popular mountain to do on skis and snowshoes in the winter months, though is considerably more challenging that way. There are a few ways to reach the peak but these directions are for the most popular route, which begins at the Adirondack Loj.

Trail Stats:

Distance 14.8 miles round-trip
Elevation 5,344 feet
Ascent 3,166 feet

The trail up Marcy that begins at the Adirondack Loj at Heart Lake is also the shortest by 1.5 miles and starts with 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 register you’ll pass some lean-tos and designated campsites, reaching the Avalanche Pass trailhead in 100 yards. Take a left here and follow the trail along Phelps Brook for 0.8 miles until the trail comes to a left for Phelps (at 3.2 total miles), at which point you will bear right towards Marcy. At 3.6 miles the trail becomes steep and stays this way for a half mile, and then levels off for .3 miles, at which point you will reach a height of land with a view of Marcy just before Indian Falls. Not long afterward you’ll come to another junction, at which point you’ll turn left. This trail will travel gradually upwards for a little under two miles, where at 6.2 miles you will reach a junction with the trail on the left that leads to Keene Valley. Here you will continue to the right and hike another 0.8 miles until you break out onto Marcy’s rocky peak, continuing for .4 miles across the open surface to the summit.

Additionally, there are other, less traditional routes up Marcy, and if you’re feeling up for a longer adventure, you can do a loop that starts by hiking up Skylight and Gray and ends with Marcy—a trip we detail in a blog post here!

Directions to the Trailhead

📍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.

Take The Pledge!


Each year, millions of people visit the public lands inside the Adirondacks. However you choose to spend your time here, we know the Adirondacks will hold a special place in your heart. We feel the same way. To Love Your Adirondacks is to protect the lands, waters, and communities we all know and love.

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ADK 46er Journey: Brecka Coonradt

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I have learned so much over the years, and I continue to learn each time I go for a hike. I could go on and on about gear, trails, mountains, clothing, etc. A lot of it has been trial and error. I have spent a lot of time reading, looking at maps, learning more about weather, researching different gear… the list goes on.

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