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Adirondack Great Range

Very Difficult
 4.6 (9) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The Holy Grail of the High Peaks, this is a strenuous loop that will test your mettle.


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Map Key

21.0

Miles

33.8

KM

70%

Runnable

5,278' 1,609 m

High

1,030' 314 m

Low

7,334' 2,236 m

Up

6,777' 2,066 m

Down

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

61%

Max Grade (31°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This route is not for the faint of heart. With an elevation gain of 10,000 ft over the course of 25 miles, running the Great Range is not an easy undertaking. That being said, the effort that you put into the trail pays off in incredible views, excellent stories for later, and gives you permission to eat as much Noonmark Diner pie as you'd like.

Need to Know

You can either leave a shuttle car at the Garden Trailhead for when you finish, or you can leave your car at the Roostercomb Trailhead, and upon reaching the Garden, run the few short miles downhill to town and your car.

As you'll most likely need to start early in the morning in order to finish in the daylight, the Keene Valley Hostel is a great place to prep the night before, eat a tasty meal, and get good sleep before you tackle the trail. Best of all, the hostel is located no more than 200 yards from the Roostercomb Trailhead.

Runner Notes

While running this route is possible (and you'll have to if you have your eye on the speed record) it's best to save this series of trails for dry weather. In the wet, this trail is quite treacherous, and you may even want to run with a partner.

Description

Most tackle the Great Range clockwise, as you'll start with some major elevation gain, and end with a gentle 8-mile descent. You'll be tired either way, but ending on the more mellow trail might save you the strain of having to be mentally sharp at the end of a long day.

Starting from Keene Valley, jump right into your ascent by taking the Rooster Comb Trail past Roostercomb and continue on the Hedgehog Trail to bag your second peak, Hedgehog. You'll be getting into the swing of things on the WA White Trail past Lower Wolfjaw, and on the Adirondack Range Trail past Upper Wolfjaw. Enjoy the relative ease of travel once you've gained the ridge from the valley floor. As you cruise comfortably along, you'll pass Armstrong with minimal effort.

The trickiest part of the trail occurs once you reach the western side of Gothics. You'll start the descent on the State Range Trail, and it's a doozy! The bald nature of Adirondack peaks makes all of the summits on this trail spicy, but Gothics is especially adrenaline inducing. There is a permanently fixed cable system that leads you down the granite face, and you'll be thankful that someone with some foresight covered the sharp cable with (of all things!) garden hose. Both the rock and the hose can become slick in the rain, so it's best to move slowly over this section.

After your harrowing journey down Gothics, the jaunt to Basin, Saddleback and Little and Big Haystack peaks will seem like a cakewalk, so catch your breath and let the jitters settle on this relatively relaxed portion of trail. To get the Haystacks, make a left onto the Haystack Trail. Likewise technical, follow the yellow painted blazes to reach the peak. You'll end up heading back the way you came to complete the trail.

After Haystack, prep for your final summit push, and take the Phelps Trail to the top of Marcy. The famous high point in New York State, you'll have expansive views of the rest of the Adirondack Park, and on clear days, destinations as far off as Vermont are visible as well. Head down the Phelps Trail to make an exit past John's Brook Lodge, ultimately reaching the Garden Trailhead.

Shared By:

Mikhaila Redovian

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 9 votes

#828

Overall
  4.6 from 9 votes
5 Star
56%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#15

in New York

#828

Overall
134 Views Last Month
20,941 Since Sep 29, 2015
Very Difficult

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Photos

Almost to the top.
May 27, 2015 near Lake Pl…, NY
From Gothics towards Saddleback and Basin.
Jul 31, 2019 near Keene, NY
The view from the summit.
May 27, 2015 near Lake Pl…, NY
Indian Falls is a great example of the rock type present in the Adirondacks
Sep 29, 2015 near Lake Pl…, NY
Climbing Gothics Cables
Nov 7, 2017 near Keene, NY
Little Haystack and view northeast through Johns Brook Valley to Big Slide. Shoulder of Marcy to the left, partial view of continuation of Great Range to right, and parts of Basin.
Nov 7, 2017 near Keene, NY

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Check-Ins

Jul 15, 2019
Eric Munsing
Absolutely brutal trail. Both harder and less scenic than the President Traverse. Bring 2k calories. — 11h 06m
Jun 10, 2018
Dylan Q Public
25mi
Aug 25, 2017
Brian Robinson
All power hiking the first 13 miles. Had to skip Marcy. Rest was smooth and runnable. 22mi