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Adirondack Great Range

 4 votes

20.8 Miles 33.5 Kilometers

 

70% 

Runnable

95%

Singletrack

7,364' 2,244 m

Ascent

-6,806' -2,074 m

Descent

5,189' 1,581 m

High

1,029' 314 m

Low

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

67%

Max Grade (34°)

Unknown

Update

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

Mikhaila Redovian

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.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

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.

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4.3 from 4 votes


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Aug 25, 2017
Brian Robinson
All power hiking the first 13 miles. Had to skip Marcy. Rest was smooth and runnable. 22mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes

#1716

Overall
  4.3 from 4 votes
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Rankings

#33

in New York

#1,716

Overall
146 Views Last Month
3,764 Since Sep 29, 2015
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Conditions



Getting forecast...

Hey Brian, Sorry about the photos! For most mortals, the views are what make the journey worthwhile anyway! Given the 8,000+ feet of elevation gain, I would be impressed if you could keep a 6:45 mile pace. There are portions that are completely unrunnable, where you'll have to scramble and climb over sheer granite faces, and navigate tricky Adirondack trail. Plus, roots etc. can often be slick. Mar 16, 2017
It depends on what you're up for though! The Fastest Known Time and some other info can be found here: fastestknowntime.proboards.… Even if you're not logging super fast min/mile, the route is gorgeous and a point of pride. This is one of the longest routes linking together High Peaks in the Adirondacks! Mar 16, 2017
Hey Brian, Whether or not you can run 6:45s on this trail is posted. Look at elevation gain, % runnable, average grade, max grade, etc. Never been to this area of the country before, but I plan on making a trip next week (that's why I am here) and common sense tells me 6:45s are not going to happen. Maybe towards the end (if you still have the legs) and providing you don't have to scramble. Jul 11, 2017

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