After climbing the second highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains the day before, Dinah and I set off to do the highest peak, Mount Marcy, using the Van Hoevenberg Trail. Although it's not much higher than Algonquin, Marcy has a longer, easier approach.
It was our second day in the Adirondacks and like the first day, it was hot, a record-breaking 26°C. (We were fortunate with the weather; the previous month saw the Adirondacks hit with snow.) Hoping to avoid the crowds and the mid-day heat, we started up the trail before 8:00 am. A popular peak, the mountain sees as many as 50 people an hour. Fortunately, this being a Friday, we encountered few people.
There was little elevation gain for the first section of the trail and everywhere the fall colours filled us with awe. When the trail began to climb, however, the colorful deciduous trees gave way to evergreens. Trees, for that matter, blocked the views for the most part. Near the top, however, the trail rises above the treeline and follows rock slabs to the summit.
From the top of Mount Marcy, haze dimmed the view of distant peaks. After a half hour stay on the summit, we started back down. We didn't look forward to the descent since there was little to see in the trees, but we did stop to walk to Indian Falls a short way from the trail. Although it was full of people, it was a pleasant place to take a break. Continuing down, we made it back to the trailhead 6:45 hours after setting off. Mount Marcy was the last peak we bagged in the Adirondacks during our short stay in Montreal.
When it comes to majestic peaks, the Adirondacks are no match for the Canadian Rockies near our home in Calgary, Alberta, but the fall colours in New York State outshines anything seen in the Rockies. In fact, autumn is the busiest time in the Adirondacks.
Hiking on Van Hoevenberg Trail
Hiker with a 40-year-old wicker pack
Brilliant colours along the way
Maple leaves by a birch log
The trail narrows
View from the dam
Crossing a stream (there's also a bridge for crossing when the water is high)
First clear view of Mount Marcy from the trail
The summit ahead
Last planks before the summit
On the left, Phelps Mountain, 32nd highest peak
The only section that required scrambling
Mount Haystack, third highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains
Cairns and yellow paint mark the trail
Coleman (foreground), Algonquin and Wright Peaks (mouse over for a close-up)
Dinah checks her GPS
Back into the fall colours
Rocky trail section
More fall colours
More colorful scenery
Red leaves litter the ground
Another view from Marcy Dam on the return
Kleene Valley and Mount Marcy (14.2 mi, 5344 ft, 3113 ft)