Phelps was named after Orson Schofield Phelps ("Old Mountain" Phelps) who cut the very first trail up neighboring Mount Marcy. The view from Phelps is dominated by Mount Marcy. Hikers should keep in mind that even though this trail is shorter on milage compared to other High Peaks, it's still very demanding.
How to get there
From the intersection of Route 73 and Route 86 in Lake Placid follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue for just over 3-miles to Adirondack Loj Road on the right. Follow here to the end at Heart Lake and the Adirondack Loj. There is paid parking ($10 as of 2013) at the gate.
By the numbers
- Elevation: 4,161 feet
- Elevation gain: 2,010 feet
- Distance: 8.2 miles, round trip
- Phelps is High Peak #32
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
The hike starts from the Adirondak Loj at Heart Lake and follows a highly used trail that leads to Marcy Dam. Marcy Dam offer outstanding view of the surrounding High Peaks. From this point, the hike continues to follow the Van Hoevenburg Trail to Mt. Marcy before heading east on the Phelps Mountain trail at a junction 1.0 miles from Marcy Dam.
The Phelps Mountain trail is quite steep and at times feels very arduous (it's an "Adirondack" mile!). You will have outstanding views as you approach 4000’ feet in elevation. Don’t stop at the viewing rock, this is not the true summit; the summit is located through the trees and at a large viewing shelf. Breathtaking views of Mount Marcy, the MacIntyre Range, Mount Colden, and Mount Haystack and beyond are waiting for you here.
The trail remains the same in the winter, with the added regulation of snowshoes. If there is 8 inches or more of snow, it is required that you use snowshoes or skis to travel in the High Peaks Wilderness. This makes your trip safer for you and everyone else on the trail, as you are not creating dangerous post-holes. When visiting in the winter, this summit warrants full on arctic conditions at times. Be prepared for temperatures well below zero, heavy snow accumulation, and possible white out conditions. Phelps could be ski approached up to the Phelps Trail Junction, where the trail gets a little too steep for skis.