Trailhead Location: Adirondack Loj Parking Lot
1002 Adirondack Loj Road in Lake Placid
You’ll start this hike from Adirondack Loj located at 1002 Adirondack Loj Road in Lake Placid. Follow the long path to the Loj, and go to the parking lot near the Visitors Center. There are a few hikes that go out from this point.
We are breaking out this hike into 3 different pieces as that is how we remember it the most. The hike to Marcy Dam, the first mile towards Phelps and the steep ascent.
Section One: The hike to Marcy Dam
We have done this before, and while you can technically call this as part of the hike, the real trailhead doesn’t start until you reach Marcy Dam. This part is an easy 2 miles of slightly rolling non-rocky path.
Section Two: The First Mile
Once you reach Marcy Dam, you will see the start of the real trailhead. Even though you signed in at the beginning, you should sign in again here. There are a few options from this point including Marcy and Avalanche Lake. We kicked ourselves for doing Phelps vs. Avalanche Lake since the mist allowed us little view from up top, but if it is a great day - you may want to do Phelps instead.
Once you head towards Phelps, you’ll be on a path for about a mile until it starts to become more rocky, but is still relatively flat. There is a slight incline, but not enough to really take your breath away, yet. We had gone during a light mist and while it was quite easy, the mud was pretty bad - so keep note of that if you are going in not so great weather. Keep heading down the path until you reach a sign that leads you to the left towards Phelps.
Section Three: The Ascent
Once you reach the sign, bear left and get ready. It is steep, it is rocky and if rainy, will be slippery and muddy. This mile will feel like 2 (it’s really more like 1.4), but even more so when you start getting closer to the top. You’ll keep seeing “a light at the end of the tunnel” which looks like you are getting closer to an alpine clearing, and then you will go back into the woods. Finally, when you really see the alpine-like vegetation, you will twist and turn, circling the peak - and walk through a small tiny pass near a semi-cliff until you reach the rock opening. Note that at this point you will see two other trails which makes it look like you have more to go - but general consensus was that it was the top.
We unfortunately went during a very cloudy day, so the peaks weren’t as visible as we’d hope. But rest assured, from looking at Insta pics on a nice day, it looks like a pretty good view.
Overall, we weren’t huge fans of this hike and the ultimate reward, but if you are trying to keep the mileage under 10 (like we were since we had the pup with us) and were staying at the Loj campground, it is a solid walk-to hike.