Lake Tear of the Clouds

  • Lake Placid

On the southwest slope of Mount Marcy sits Lake Tear of the Clouds. It's famous for many reasons, including its role in a presidency. 

On September 14, 1901, then-US Vice President Teddy Roosevelt was at Lake Tear of the Clouds after returning from a hike to Mount Marcy. While there, he received a message informing him that President William McKinley had taken a turn for the worse after being shot two weeks earlier. McKinley was originally expected to survive the gunshot. Roosevelt hiked from Lake Tear of the Clouds back down to Tahawus where he began his infamous 40-mile midnight stage coach ride to the railroad station in North Creek. It was in North Creek that Roosevelt learned McKinley had died and on the train to Buffalo, Roosevelt was sworn in as President.

Lake Tear of the Clouds is also cited as the source of the Hudson River, which begins its 315-mile journey to New York City in the Adirondack Mountains.

Getting there

Leave Lake Placid on Route 73 and follow toward Keene. Continue for about 3 miles to Adirondack Loj Road on the right. Follow Adirondack Loj Road to its end at Heart Lake. Small parking fees will be required.


Reaching Lake Tear of the Clouds will require summiting a High Peak, Mount Marcy, the tallest mountain in New York. 

This route requires hikers climb Mount Marcy and then descent down the backside to Four Corners. Please consult a map and guideline for information on how to access Mount Marcy. From the summit of Marcy, you will descent off the south side toward Four Corners and go over Schofield Cobble. The descent is fast and somewhat steep. It is 0.8 miles to the intersection; head straight across to access Mount Skylight.

Distance: 7.4 miles to the summit of Marcy, then 0.8 miles to Four Corners, then 0.5 miles to Skylight summit. Total: 8.7 miles, one way