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Mount Marcy via Phelps Trail

A popular approach to Mount Marcy with overnight options at Johns Brook Lodge.

Hiking Difficult

27 km
1.3 km
1.3 km
7-8 hrs
Low Point
464 m
High Point
1.6 km
Mount Marcy via Phelps Trail Map

From Keene Valley, there are two main routes to the summit of Mount Marcy. While the most adventurous often traverse the Great Range across several High Peaks, that route requires extensive planning and extreme physical preparation to complete the traverse.


The Phelps Trail, paralleling the Great Range from the valley, is still no easy feat. It is, however, a more attainable route for the average hiker.

For those attempting a thru-hike of the Great Range, this route can be used as a return trip to Keene Valley. If beginning at the Rooster Comb Trailhead, stage a car at the ADK Garden Trailhead or plan an additional few miles of hiking on the road.

Beginning at the ADK Garden Trailhead, the route rolls gradually en route for Johns Brook Lodge. Indoor accommodations and food are available but must be reserved ahead of time. Plenty of tent sites are also available, in addition to the lean-to that fills quickly in the summer.

As you continue towards Mount Marcy, keep left at the fork and look for a small spur trail to view Bushnell Falls. In the summer, take a few minutes to cool off in the pool below the falls. Ahead, the trail leads into a notch before veering west to the summit.

The final portion of the route follows the Van Hoevenberg Trail, situated well above the treeline and in the alpine zone. Be especially careful in this delicate ecosystem and stay as close to the trail as possible. Cairns and yellow blazes are there to keep you on track.

Named after a 19th-century New York Governor, Mount Marcy is the state's highest peak hovering just above 5,300 feet. This grandstand offers more astonishing views of the Adirondacks as its summit lies well above the treeline. Enjoy the views and take a picture of the placard denoting your accomplishment.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MountMarcy https://www.adk.org/jbl-base-camp-series-mount-marcy/



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between May and October


  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area