Mount Marcy

New York

Mount Marcy

Mount Marcy stands as the pinnacle of the Adirondacks and New York State, marking it as one of the two exclusive 5000-foot peaks in the range. Its status as a notable remote yet frequently visited summit is 7 miles from the nearest trailhead. The journey to Marcy is challenging, characterized by wet, rugged paths and steep sections. Weather conditions on the mountain are notoriously unpredictable, often drawing comparisons to the extreme weather of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, with snow lasting from October to May.

Despite its rounded silhouette, distinct from the sharp peaks of higher ranges, Mount Marcy commands the landscape, towering over its surroundings with a striking 800 feet above the tree line, giving it a solitary appearance.

Despite its demanding nature, the trail to Marcy attracts tens of thousands of hikers annually, primarily during the summer. A trek to the summit is a considerable one-day endeavor, necessitating an early start and late return, as the shortest route spans at least 7 miles with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet one way.

The panorama from Mount Marcy is arguably the finest in eastern North America, offering unobstructed views of 43 out of 45 major peaks. The vistas include the impressive Great Range to the east, the MacIntyre Range and Algonquin to the west, a series of smaller peaks to the north with Whiteface and Ester in the distance, and the wild, untamed landscape to the south and southwest, featuring close-ups of Grey & Skylight.

Landmarks such as Mont-Royal in Montreal, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and even the White Mountains of New Hampshire are visible on clear days.

Access Point

Navigate to 52MP+4C Lake Placid, New York.

To reach Mount Marcy, head to the Adirondack Loj, located 20 minutes outside Lake Placid, NY, about 2.5 hours from Montreal, Canada.

Recommended Route

Follow the Van Hoevenberg Trail.

Starting from the Adirondack Loj on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, the path is initially easy up to Marcy Dam. Beyond the dam, the terrain becomes rocky and predominantly boulder-strewn, a condition that continues for most of the hike.

It's advisable to take breaks and enjoy the views at Phelps Brook and Indian Falls, where you can also refill water bottles—there won't be any water sources beyond this point.

As you approach the summit, the trail becomes increasingly challenging, culminating in a steep 1.2-mile ascent over bedrock.


While there are no park fees, parking at the trailhead is $15. Hikers must sign in and out at the trailhead, where a ranger station and paid showers are available.

Mount Marcy's popularity has taken a toll on its fragile alpine vegetation, with human activities causing significant damage over the past three decades. Efforts to mitigate this impact include the introduction of summit wardens during the summer to educate visitors on preserving the high-altitude environment, along with successful rehabilitation programs that have begun to restore the peak's former beauty.


Numerous campsites, including some with lean-tos, are available through the Adirondack State Park, with reservations recommended well in advance during peak season. Camping is restricted to designated areas below 4,000 feet. Hikers must stay on trails above the tree line to protect the delicate alpine vegetation and secure food adequately to avoid attracting bears.

This revised text aims to convey the majesty and challenges of hiking Mount Marcy, emphasizing both the natural beauty and the responsibility of hikers to preserve this iconic peak.


How long does it take to hike Mount Marcy?

The time to hike Mount Marcy varies based on your pace and which trail you take. For most hikers, reaching the summit and returning can take 7 to 10 hours. Starting early is advisable to ensure enough daylight for your hike.

Do I need any special equipment to hike Mount Marcy?

Proper hiking boots, a map, compass or GPS, and layers of clothing are essential due to changing weather conditions. For winter hikes, snowshoes, skis, and possibly ice axes and crampons are strongly recommended.

Is it safe to hike Mount Marcy alone?

Hiking alone is generally safe if you are experienced and well-prepared. However, given Mount Marcy's remote location and unpredictable weather, hiking with a companion or group is advisable for safety. Always inform someone of your plans before you set out.

Can I camp on Mount Marcy?

Camping directly on Mount Marcy is not permitted to protect the fragile alpine environment. However, there are designated camping areas and lean-tos at lower elevations within the Adirondack State Park, where you can camp. Remember to book early, especially during peak season.

What is the best time of year to hike Mount Marcy?

The best times to hike Mount Marcy are late spring through early fall when the trails are primarily snow-free and the weather is milder.

Are there any fees or permits required to hike Mount Marcy?

No permits are required to hike Mount Marcy, but there is a small parking fee at the Adirondack Loj, which serves as the primary trailhead. Contributions to the Adirondack Mountain Club are optional but offer benefits such as parking privileges.

What should I do if I encounter wildlife on the trail?

If you encounter wildlife, maintain a safe distance and don’t feed or approach the animals. Bears are common in the Adirondacks, so store your food correctly while camping.

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