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Adirondack Great Range

Extremely Difficult
  4.4 ( 7 ) Favorite


21.0 mile 33.8 kilometer point to point
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 7,334' 2,236 m
Descent: -6,777' -2,066 m
High: 5,278' 1,609 m
Low: 1,030' 314 m


Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 61% (31°)


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Trail shared by Mikhaila Redovian

The Holy Grail of the High Peaks, this is a strenuous loop that will test your mettle.

Mikhaila Redovian

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This route is not for the faint of heart. With an elevation gain of 10,000 ft over the course of 25 miles, hiking the Great Range is not an easy undertaking. That being said, the effort that you put into the trail pays off in incredible views, excellent stories for later, and gives you permission to eat as much Noonmark Diner pie as you'd like.

Need to Know

You can either leave a shuttle car at the Garden Trailhead for when you finish, or you can leave your car at the Roostercomb Trailhead, and upon reaching the Garden, hike the few short miles downhill to town and your car.

As you'll most likely need to start early in the morning in order to finish in the daylight, the Keene Valley Hostel is a great place to prep the night before, eat a tasty meal, and get good sleep before you tackle the trail. Best of all, the hostel is located no more than 200 yards from the Roostercomb Trailhead.


Most tackle the Great Range clockwise, as you'll start with some major elevation gain, and end with a gentle 8-mile descent. You'll be tired either way, but ending on the more mellow trail might save you the strain of having to be mentally sharp at the end of a long day.

Starting from Keene Valley, jump right into your ascent by taking the Rooster Comb Trail past Roostercomb and continue on the Hedgehog Trail to bag your second peak, Hedgehog. You'll be getting into the swing of things on the WA White Trail past Lower Wolfjaw, and on the Adirondack Range Trail past Upper Wolfjaw. Enjoy the relative ease of travel once you've gained the ridge from the valley floor. As you cruise comfortably along, you'll pass Armstrong with minimal effort.

The trickiest part of the trail occurs once you reach the western side of Gothics. You'll start the descent on the State Range Trail, and it's a doozy! The bald nature of Adirondack peaks makes all of the summits on this trail spicy, but Gothics is especially adrenaline inducing. There is a permanently fixed cable system that leads you down the granite face, and you'll be thankful that someone with some foresight covered the sharp cable with (of all things!) garden hose. Both the rock and the hose can become slick in the rain, so it's best to move slowly over this section.

After your harrowing journey down Gothics, the jaunt to Basin, Saddleback and Little and Big Haystack peaks will seem like a cakewalk, so catch your breath and let the jitters settle on this relatively relaxed portion of trail. To get the Haystacks, make a left onto the Haystack Trail. Likewise technical, follow the yellow painted blazes to reach the peak. You'll end up heading back the way you came to complete the trail.

After Haystack, prep for your final summit push, and take the Phelps Trail to the top of Marcy. The famous high point in New York State, you'll have expansive views of the rest of the Adirondack Park, and on clear days, destinations as far off as Vermont are visible as well. Head down the Phelps Trail to make an exit past John's Brook Lodge, ultimately reaching the Garden Trailhead.

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Aug 18, 2019
Ryan Kopasz
Aug 5, 2019
Mojtaba Alizadeh
Oct 26, 2018
Matthew Harvey
Sep 7, 2018
Colt Black
Cut it short. So epic. Need to go faster next time 17mi
Jul 21, 2018
Christopher Beaudoin
Alice and Chris 20.8mi
May 28, 2018
Matt Strimas-Mackey
A grueling 13 hour hike in tough conditions. Trail was very wet and muddy, all summits totally socked in. 23mi — 13h 00m
Jul 30, 2017
Alli Marie
Aug 17, 2008
Corey B
Full loop in 22 hours 24mi

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 7 votes


  4.4 from 7 votes
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in New York


434 Views Last Month
15,777 Since Sep 29, 2015
Extremely Difficult



Climbing Gothics Cables
Nov 7, 2017 near Keene, NY
Little Haystack and view northeast through Johns Brook Valley to Big Slide. Shoulder of Marcy to the left, partial view of continuation of Great Range to right, and parts of Basin.
Nov 7, 2017 near Keene, NY
Approaching the summit of Mt. Marcy.
May 27, 2015 near Lake Pl…, NY
Heading down from the summit.
Oct 3, 2017 near Keene, NY
Summit of Lower Wolfjaw.
Oct 3, 2017 near Keene, NY
Almost to the top.
May 27, 2015 near Lake Pl…, NY

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