Adirondacks State Park

Hiking Mt. Marcy: Northern Approaches

Van Hoevenberg Trail
At seven miles in length, this the shortest trail to the mountain. It begins at the automobile parking lot at Adirondak Loj which is nine miles by highway from Lake Placid Village.

An alternate route to Marcy Dam is available. The trail begins at an open parking area on state land at South Meadows. The walk is approximately three miles to Marcy Dam along the yellow marked fire trail.

Miles Trail Description
0.0 Automobile parking lot at Adirondak Loj on Heart Lake. Take blue markers for Marcy, ascent 3,224 feet.
0.90 Yellow trail to right up McIntyre Brook to Algonquin Peak of the McIntyre range, elevation 5,114 feet. Take this trail for Wright Peak and Whale's Tail ski trails.
2.15 Cross on dam. Seven lean-tos are in this vicinity.
03.20 Red trail to left leads to summit of Phelps Mountain, elevation 4,161 feet.
3.55 Cross Phelps Brook on three-pole-bridge.
4.30 Cross Marcy Brook above Indian Falls. Yellow trail to right is short crossover to Lake Arnold Trail.
5.85 Plateau elevation 4,420 feet, Hopkins trail to Keene Valley on left, 9.15 miles.
6.40 Red trail to left leads to Keene Vallet via Slant Rock and to Range Trail.
7.00 Top of Marcy, elevation 5,344 feet. Yellow trail ahead leads to Tahawus, Elk Lake and Lake Colden.

Avalanche Pass
Marcy may also be reached from the north through Avalanche Pass, by way of the Van Hoevenberg Trail and Lakes Avalanche and Colden. From Lake Colden, the trail follows up the Opalescent and Feldspar Brooks, past Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds, to the peak.

Miles Trail Description
00.00 Same as Van Hoevenberg Trail. Markers blue.
2.15 Cross Marcy Dam and turn right beyond trail register. Follow yellow markers.
2.75 Kagel lean-to on right side of trail, out of sight near Marcy Brook.
3.00 Marcy Brook lean-to on right side of trail.
3.25 Cross Marcy Brook. Avalanche lean-tos (2) on west side. Blue trail to left on west side of brook leads to Lake Arnold. Continue via yellow markers for Avalanche Pass.
4.00 Avalanche Pass.
4.25 Avalanche Lake, elevation 2,863 feet. Mount Colden on left. Avalanche on right.
5.00 Trail junction, blue trail to right for Algonquin Mt. and Interior Headquarters on Lake Colden, continue on yellow markers.
5.40 Red trail to left for Mount Colden, 1.5 miles. Ascent -1,950 feet.
Foot of Lake Colden. Elevation 2,764 feet. Colden lean-tos and end of yellow markers. Red trail to right crosses bridge and leads to Lake Sanford, 9.2 miles, via the Flowed Lands and Hanging Spear Falls or 8.8 miles via Flowed Lands and Calamity Brook and also to Algonquin Mt. and Interior Headquarters. For Marcy, now follow red markers to left up Opalescent Brook.
7.25 End of red markers. Yellow trail to right for Lake Sanford. Now follow yellow markers to left for Mount Marcy. Mount Colden in sight at left. Algonquin behind.
7.30 Uphill lean-to.
7.75 Feldspar lean-to at intersection Opalescent and Feldspar Brooks. Trails goes up the latter. Blue trail to left leads to trail up Mount Colden Trail Junction, and to Avalanche lean-tos, 3.75 miles.
8.90 Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds, Mount Marcy in sight to left.
9.25 Four Corners, blue markers, and red trail from the right to tap of Skylight, elevation 4,920 feet. Follow yellow markers to left.
10.00 Top of Marcy, elevation 5,344 feet, and end of yellow markers. Blue markers lead ahead to Van Hoevenberg and Keene Valley Trails.

Indian Pass
Starting on the right side of the road to Adirondak Loj, just before the lodge is reached, this trail leads over a low divide to a branch of the Ausable River, thence up it to Indian Pass which lies between Mount Marshall and the appropriately named Wallface Mountain, with its vertical face of 1,000 feet. From the Pass, Santanoni Mountain may be seen directly ahead.

Descending Indian Pass Brook about three miles, the trail then passes over the end of the Maclntyre Range to Calamity Brook, following it up past Calamity Pond; the monument erected to David Henderson who accidentally shot himself while hunting nearby, to the Flowed Lands and Lake Colden where it joins the trail from Avalanche Pass. The total distance is 17.15 miles.

Miles Trail Description
00.00 Junction of road to Adirondak Loj and Indian Pass Trail. Road ahead leads to Van Hoevenberg Trail. Leave road and follow red markers for Indian pass.
2.00 Rocky Falls lean-to located an the west side of Indian Pass Brook. Follow red markers on .5 miles short loop trail to the right.
3.80 Scott Clearing lean-to. Blue trail to right leads to Scott and Wallace Ponds.
4.50 Trail junction, yellow marked trail to left to Lake Colden Interior Headquarters, 4.0 miles.
5.20 Indian pass. Wallface Mountain on right and on the McIntyre Range on the left.
6.90 Wallface lean-to.
7.50 Trail junction. Henderson lean-to .25 miles ahead on red trail to Duck Hole, 6.75 miles. Take blue markers to left for Marcy.
9.50 Calamity Brook and trail junction. Red trail to right crossing brook leads to former Tahawus Club, 1.75 miles, and to Lake Sanford bridge, 5 miles. Continue upstream on blue markers for Mount Marcy.
12.00 Flowed Lands, Calamity lean-tos. End of blue markers. Red markers to right for hanging Spear Falls, 1 mile, and Lake Sanford, 8.15 miles. Follow red markers left, around north side of Flowed Lands for Marcy.
13.00 Blue trail to left to three lean-tos, Interior Headquarters and Algonquin. Cross outlet Lake Colden on bridge. Intersect yellow trail from left from Avalanche Lake. Follow red markers up Opalescent Brook for Marcy over trail described in Avalanche Lake route.
15.00 Feldspar lean-to and blue trail to Avalanche lean-tos.
17.15 Top of Marcy.

Trail to Scott and Wallface Ponds
This trail leaves the Indian Pass Trail just east of Scott's Clearing, crossing the brook about 25 feet east of the dam, and proceeds in a northwesterly direction, 1.55 miles to Scott Pond; thence proceeds along the southwest shore of the pond in a northwesterly direction to Wallface Ponds, a distance of 0.7 miles.

Total distance from Indian Pass Trail to Wallface Ponds: 2.25 miles.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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