The trail begins at the Adirondack LOJ (9 miles south of Lake Placid). Take Route 73 out of town (past the ski jumps) down to Adirondack LOJ road and make a right. The road is maked. Take the LOJ road til you reach the end, which is the Loj itself.
At the southern edge of the LOJ parking lot, sign in at the register and proceed down the trail to MARCY DAM. The trail is level and so well worn it might as well be paved. Be sure to bear to the left at the junction with the trail leading to Algonquin Summit (about 1 mile from the LOJ).
At 2.3 miles you'll reach MARCY DAM. Cross over the dam and procceed straight ahead to the VAN HOEVENBERG TRAIL (red markers). Follow VAN HOEVENBERG along Phelps brook for about 1.0 mile and a sign indicates the PHELPS TRAIL lead to the left. At this point you've hiked 3.3 miles and asended only 700'
The PHELPS TRAIL leads (left) up and away from VAN HOEVENBERG and the acutal ascent begins. The next 1.1 miles asends 1200' and there are just a few steep portions. No fun rock scrambles or anything, just a steady 20-25 percent grade all the way up.
About .1 miles from the summit you'll enter and area of scrub pines and dwarf evergreen. STOP!!!!!! Turn around for some great view west toward the MacIntyre Range (Algonquin, Wright, etc...). Proceede to the summit rocks and get treat to one of the best views of Mt. Marcy around. This peak is sometimes referred to as "Marcy's Balcony".
In summer, other then a Day pack with the standard hiking gear, nothing. Straight up, walk-in, walk-up. Trails are maintained well (too well for some of us).
In winter, snowshoes will be required to get past the ranger at MARCY DAM. If you don't have them on, you will not be allowed past. No other techie gear needed. No Crampons, rope or ice axes.
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