Phelps Mountain (4,161) via Van Hoevenberg and Phelps trails, July 24, 2016.
Mileage: 9.5 miles (RT)*
Elevation gain: 2,530'
Trailhead: The Van Hoevenberg trailhead is located at the ADK/HPIC parking lot (at the end of Adirondack Loj Rd, Lake Placid). There is a fee for parking.
Hiked with Jill and Ken, our third ADK high peaks hike in as many days. We were staying at the Adirondack Loj and Ironman Lake Placid had closed roads in the area so we opted to do a nearby easier hike; one with good views.
The well worn Van Hoevenberg trail starts out flat, a great opportunity to us to warm up tight and tired legs. In fact, the trail descends slightly as you head toward the dam.
We followed the signs to Mt. Marcy (blue discs) and 2.3 miles later arrived at Marcy Dam.
The last time I was here the bridge across was whole (see Mt. Marcy report).
|Bridge across the old dam was removed.|
We took the new bridge. There are lean-tos on the other side - and toilets (the one we used was pretty gross).
|This toilet was....yucky|
At 2.6 miles we rock-hopped a water crossing, noting that there is the option to use a bridge during high water (no high water this year!).
One mile later we were at the Phelps Mountain trail junction. By this time we were ready to be off the Van Hoevenberg trail and onto the summit!
|Phelps Mountain trail has red discs.|
We read that the trail has easy grades and a few steeps. There are signs of erosion - its a pretty popular trail. But we enjoyed the variation of slab and rooty on the trail.
Very close to the top the trail turns sharply right, narrows considerably, taking you on a fine tour of Mt. Marcy and the McIntyre Range.
|Views from the trail just before the summit.|
The only indication that you are on the summit is a cairn on the high point of a large rock slab. There are several paths on the summit area and we did a bit of scouting around for a sign or USGS marker but all we found was a pair of drilled holes on the slab.
|View from the summit.|
We spent some time enjoying the extraordinary views, chatting and eating lunch, then headed back (and got down quickly, in time for a swim).
*The High Peaks Trails book posts the round trip distance as 8.8 miles.