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New York, United States

Mt. Marcy

Mt. Marcy Via Johns Brook Lodge. The Highpoint of New York State.

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 (4 votes, 3 reviews)
Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 18.0 miles / 29 km
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: This is actually the slightly longer approach to Mt. Marcy but I feel like it is a better one because it offers a loop hike at the end using two different trails. If you were to do a loop hike from heart lake you would need to climb over a pass behind Colden and descend quite a bit before ascending Marcy (more elevation change). Also, going this way allows you to camp overnight in the amazing Johns Brook Lodge area where there are plenty of campsites and some great swimming holes in the nearby river of the same name. I'm going to list this as a difficult full day but if you want to make it an easy hike I would suggest camping and leaving your camp gear around Johns Brook or along several of the lean-to's you will pass by on the Phelps Trail.

Tips: The Garden Parking lot is easily found by following the signs for it in Keen Valley on Route 73. To get to Keen valley Take exit 30 off I-87 and head towards Lake Placid. There is a $7 a day fee to park in this lot and if it is super busy there is an overflow lot with a shuttle.

Points of Interest


The Garden Trailhead

Park here and head down the trail marked "Phelps Trail" towards the famous Johns Brooke Lodge. Make sure to sign into the register.

Johns Brook Lodge Area

Great place to find a campsite if you are planning on doing this long climb as an overnight. There are also some great swimming holes around this area!

Trail Splitting Junction

Around this area you will see signs for the Hopkins trail which will be the trail for your descent. Just continue on up the Phelps Trail instead.

Van Hoevenberg Trail Junction

At this junction veer left to follow the Van Hoevenberg trail for a short distance until you mee the Hopkins trail for your descent.

Trail Junction

Head right following the trail up to the summit of Marcy. There will be a lot of climbing.

Summit of Mt. Marcy

You are standing on Mt. Marcy, the state highpoint at 5,344 feet. This summit was named after William Learned Marcy who was once governor of New York. President Roosevelt was climbing near this area when he found out Mckinley had been shot and was dying. When he got out of the woods he learned he had become the next president. Mt. Marcy seems to stand in overlook over all the other high peaks and on a good day you can see almost every one of them. Enjoy your time on the summit as it took some effort to get there.

Hopkins Trail Intersection

Take a right and head down the Hopkins trail to complete the loop hike of Mt. Marcy. This will reconnect with the Phelps trail after a few miles to follow Johns Brook and pass Johns Brook Lodge.
Pictures in this guide taken by: JonathanEllinger, depannezvous, mickie, Tripper, jonbellemore, msears101, AnArcticPuffin

Jonathan Ellinger
wonderful sites.....lovely

by davidmaylo on May 12, 2015
Excellent hike on a beautiful day. I was told by the "ADK Summit Guide" at the top that going down would be faster, but I don't think they went on this trail. The first two miles of the descent took me about two hours! I didn't see anyone else on the branches recommended in this guide and from the number of spider webs/lines I walked through I doubt this is the favored path up. Also, there are a few trail blockages by trees that require minuscule detours through the bush. Worth the soreness!
Total took me a little over 9 hours, including about 30-40 minutes at the top.

Visited on Jul 27, 2013

by jessemarder on Jul 27, 2013
Nearly 10 hours of hiking, it was amazing, though a bit chilly on top.
Visited on Oct 09, 2011

by agreenwood on Mar 08, 2013

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About the Author

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Although I have climbed over 250 mountains from various places around the U.S. and have hiked in Europe...

Mt. Marcy 3 Day Forecast

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