The Johns Brook trailhead starts in Keene Valley at a parking lot named “The Garden”. From there you can park your vehicle. The cost to park for one (1) day is $5.00 (US currency). Prior to venturing off on the trail, make sure to register with the park service. From there follow the YELLOW markers towards Mt. Marcy. It will take approximately 9 miles to complete the journey.
After starting your journey from the trailhead, you will pass two lean-to’s prior to reaching the Interior Outpost. The first lean-to is named Bear Brook and the second is named Deer Brook. Bear Brook is approximately .8 miles from the trailhead while Deer Brook is approximately 1.2 miles away.
After approximately 3 miles, you will reach the Interior Outpost. Again, you can register with the Department of Environmental Conservation. After a short jog, you will come to the Howard lean-to. The lean-to is comfortably positioned beside Johns Brook.
At approximately 3.5 miles, you will come to the Johns Brook Lodge. There you can get fresh water and visit with fellow hikers. At this point, you will come to a trail junction near the back side of the lodge. To continue towards Mt. Marcy, stay on the YELLOW markers.
At the 5 mile mark, you will arrive at Bushnell Falls. From the YELLOW markers the falls are .1 miles down a very steep ravine. It’s a tough climb, but well worth it if you have the time. From there you will leave the YELOW markers and continue on the RED markers towards Slant Rock.
After approximately 6.8 miles you will come to Slant Rock and the Slant Rock lean-to. After taking some pictures (I recommend) continue on towards Mt. Marcy. At approximately 7.7 miles you will arrive at a trail junction. This junction allows you to turn towards Haystack or continue towards Mt. Marcy. You will want to continue towards Mt. Marcy continuing following the RED markers.
After a continuous climb upwards, you will come to another intersection at approximately 8.5 miles. This junction will intersect with the Van Hoevenberg Trail. At this point you will continue on following the BLUE markers or the YELLOW stripes painted on the rock. After walking across wooden slats located on a grassy clearing, you will climb up several large rocks/boulders to reach the summit. At some points using your hands to navigate around and up the rocks is recommended.
Finally you will come to the summit of Mt. Marcy after a long 9 mile hike. Remember, once you have reached the top, you have to climb back down. If its still early in the day you might be able to hike out, if not you should have prepared to spend the night at a lean-to. The mountain conditions can change quickly, so be prepared.
Mountain conditions can change at any time and clothing appropriate to these changes should be considered at all times during the hike.
Good hiking boots are a must. The rocks/boulders along this trail are rough on the feet. There are plenty of opportunities to get water along the trail during wet years however; you should bring a plentiful water supply with you (and a filter if you plan on getting water from the brook).
This is not a technical climb for the most part however; I would be not be surprised if crampons, snowshoes, and an axe would be needed during the winter months. THERE IS A SIGN POSTED NEAR THE TRAILHEAD REQUIRING SNOWSHOES IN WINTER MONTHS.
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