Gray Peak, Mount Skylight, & Mount Marcy via Avalanche Pass
ElevationAscent: 4,069' 1,240 m
Descent: -4,022' -1,226 m
High: 5,249' 1,600 m
Low: 2,381' 726 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 44% (24°)
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“Starting from Marcy Dam, this moderately difficult loop takes you to some of the most scenic spots in all the ADK.”— Anonymous
Features Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Historical Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Avalanche Pass trail takes you on the cliff wall of Avalanche Mountain, and provides breathtaking views of the slides on Mount Colden.
On your way from Gray Peak to Mount Skylight, you'll pass Lake Tear of the Clouds ("LTotC"). LTotC is the highest pond in New York State and is cited as the highest source of the Hudson River. This location also has historical significance: it was at LTotC that then Vice President Theodore Roosevelt (who was descending from Mount Marcy) was informed that President McKinley's gun shot wound had taken a turn for the worse. This began Roosevelt's long trek to Buffalo, where he would be sworn in as President.
Mount Skylight is known for some of the best views of Mount Marcy.
Mount Marcy is the highest point in New York at 5,344 feet. It also has stunning views of the High Peaks region.
Descending from Marcy via the Van Hoevenberg Trail, one can take a break at Indian Falls, which has excellent views of the MacIntyre Range.
Be aware of bear safety strategies, and if staying overnight, you need to bring a bear canister.
Continue on Calamity Brook Trail/Mount Marcy Trail until you reach Gray Peak Trail. This is a relatively steep ascent. Follow that to the summit, then return to Calamity Brook Trail/Mount Marcy Trail. Continue heading east on the trail until you reach the Four Corners.
At the Four Corners, follow the trail leading south to Mount Skylight Trail. This is a relatively steep ascent. Follow that trail back down to the Four Corners, where you'll take the trail heading north to reach Mount Marcy. This is a steep ascent, and caution should be taken. From the summit of Mount Marcy, take the Van Hoevenberg Trail back to Marcy Dam. Van Hoevenberg trail is long, but a relatively moderate incline for most of it.
Due to the max grade, I rated this as an extremely difficult run, however, large portions of it are very manageable. Would not recommend as your first 46er route, and, as always, come prepared.
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Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: The Nature Conservancy - Adirondacks Chapter