Mount Marcy

Mount Marcy

Marcy, Mount, 5,344 ft (1,629 m) high, NE N.Y., in the Adirondack Mts.; highest peak in the state. Lake Tear of the Clouds, on its southern slope, is the source of the main headstream of the Hudson River.

Mount Marcy, at 5,344 ft (1,629 m), is the highest mountain in the Adirondack Mountain Range and the highest point in New York State. It is a popular destination for hikers due to its stature and great views, and the peak can get very crowded in the summer months. The mountain is located in the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks Region in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.


The mountain is named after former governor William L. Marcy, who authorized the environmental survey that explored the area. Mt. Marcy is sometimes called Tahawus — an Indian name that means "the cloud splitter," however, the local Indians, who were few in number, had no name for the mountain. "Cloud Splitter" was an Indian name that Europeans invented for the mountain. The name "Tahawus" has also been used for other Adirondack features.

The first recorded ascent of Mount Marcy was in 1837 by a large party led by Ebenezer Emmons. Today the ascent is easier due to existing trails that require no technical skills, allowing ascent and descent to be made in a day.

Historic Lake Tear of the Clouds

At the col between Mt. Marcy and Skylight is the highest source of the Hudson River, Lake Tear of the Clouds. Theodore Roosevelt was camped there on September 14, 1901 after summiting Marcy when he got word that President William McKinley, who had been shot a week earlier, had taken a serious turn for the worse.

Roosevelt and his party hiked ten miles (16 km) down the southwest face of the mountain to Long Lake, New York where he hired a stage coach and took a legendary midnight ride through forty miles of precipitous Adirondack roads to the closest train station at North Creek, New York. When he arrived he found out McKinley had died and that he was President. He took the train to Buffalo, New York where McKinley had been shot, and he was sworn in there. The route from Long Lake to North Creek has been designated the Roosevelt-Marcy Trail.


Mount Marcy is one of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. The majority of the mountain is forested, although the final few hundred feet is above tree line. The peak is dominated by rocky outcrops, lichens, and alpine shrubs. There are two plaques at the top commemorating the centennial of the climb as well as the mountain summit itself.

The shortest and most frequently used route up the mountain is from the northwest, the Van Hoevenberg Trail, which starts at the Adirondak Loj near Heart Lake. From there it is 7.4 miles (11.2 km) to the summit, a lengthy roundtrip which can nevertheless be done in a day. A large section of the trail is suitable for alpine skiing and snowboard on the way down, although there are a few locations where snowboarders will have to take off their snowboard and walk up a little.

Hikers starting up the Johns Brook Trail from the Garden parking north of the mountain in Keene Valley have a 9-mile (14.4 km) journey to the summit, and sometimes spend a night at Johns Brook Lodge in the process.

A lengthier southern approach can be made from either of the two major trailheads for the southern High Peaks, Upper Works or Elk Lake.

Mount Marcy is in the Town of Keene in Essex County.


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