Marshall’s tree covered summit is less impressive than the wondrous trail which leads up to it. With numerous waterfalls along Herbert Brook, and great views of the Flowed Lands, you will not be lacking for photographic opportunities. Mt. Marshall is the southernmost peak in the MacIntyre Mountain Range and named to honor of Robert Marshall who, with his brother George, is one of the original ADK 46ers.
How to get there
From exit 29 off I-87, turn west onto Blue Ridge Road (CR 84) toward Newcomb. Follow this route for 17.4 miles to an intersection with Tahawus Road (CR 25). Turn right on Tahawus Road and stay on it for 6.3 miles then turn left at a sign for High Peaks trails. Pass by the old blast furnace at 2.8 miles up this road. From the blast furnace, it is less than one mile to your destination. The road dead ends at the Upper Works parking lot. From here, you can follow the marked trail to Flowed Lands, eventually picking up the herd path to Mount Marshall.
UPPER WORKS PARKING UPDATE
Our friends at Open Space Institute have announced that effective June 18, 2021, please use the new parking lot adjacent to the MacNaughton Cottage. The old parking lot (terminus of Upper Works Road) will be closed for construction. Unauthorized vehicles in the old parking lot after June 18, 2021 will be towed away at vehicle owners expense. Signage has been placed throughout the old parking lot. They, and we, do not want any surprises for anyone. Thank you and Happy trails! This new parking will not add significant milage to your trip.
There is an alternative route leaving from the HPIC. From exit 29 off I-87, follow the highway north to exit 30. Follow Route 73 from here toward Lake Placid. Stay on Route 73 for just over 26 miles. Turn left onto Adirondack Loj Road. Follow Adirondack Loj Road to its end at Heart Lake and park in the main parking lot. Small parking fees will be required. ($10 as of 2013)
By the numbers
- Elevation: 4,360 feet
- Elevation gain: about 2,515 feet from Upper Works, 2,575 from HPIC
- See distances for each footpath below
- Marshall is High Peak #25
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
There are two herd paths that lead to the summit of Mount Marshall. Please be aware that for most of this hike you will be on a marked trail, but the final ascent to the summit will be on a herd path. Map and compass are necessary to navigate the backcountry in these conditions. There are many worn paths around Marshall; it's critical you know which one to follow.
Leaving from Upper Works ...
This is an approximate 6.5 mile hike, one way. Starting from Upper Works you will need to be prepared for a very long day. This route is typically used by those camping in the Flowed Lands or Lake Colden Region. From the parking you will have a very long and somewhat flat approach which initially starts along an old woods road. As the route narrows back to a foot trail you will follow along some attractive waterways and eventually climb modestly to the shore of Flowed Lands. From Flowed Lands you will hike its perimeter along a difficult trail to the herd-path along Herbert Brook; a cairn marked the herd-path on your left. The route is now much narrower and follows along the brook to your left. The terrain starts out moderate with a couple steep ascent sections. As you follow the brook, there are excellent views back into the valley; this is where the waterfalls start to come into view. Once the herd-path leaves the brook, expect the terrain to get much steeper, because it does. There is one excellent viewing area along the summit ridge before you reach the treed summit. A short walk to the north of about 20 yards will score you a nice view of Iroquois Peak.
Leaving from the HPIC ...
This is an approximate 9 mile hike, one way rolling to steep terrain. This route is used mainly by those camping in the Lake Colden Region and climbing multiple peaks over the course of 2-4 days.
From the Loj follow the hikers approach trail to the High Peaks that leads to Marcy Dam. From Marcy Dam you will need to follow the trail to Avalanche Pass. You will pass by Avalanche Camps, the mile or so past Avalanche Camps is where you begin to climb. Passing by a couple newer slides on the side of Mount Colden you make your way through the pass and descend to Avalanche Lake. The hike past the lake is a bit demanding, especially with full packs. You will contend with boulders, ladders and a very windy trail, but the views along this section of trail are hardly matched by many others. Once on the opposite side of Avalanche Lake you will descend and then go right at the junction at the register and hike the west side of Lake Colden to the dam at its outlet. Don’t cross the dam, but rather stay above it and continue toward Flowed Lands. Roughly 0.25 miles past the dam is Herbert Brook and the herd-path on your right marked with a cairn. The route is now much narrower and follows along the brook to your left. The terrain starts out moderate with a couple steep ascent sections. As you follow the brook, there are excellent views back into the valley; this is where the waterfalls start to come into view. Once the herd-path leaves the brook, expect the terrain to get much steeper, because it does. There is one excellent viewing area along the summit ridge before you reach the treed summit. A short walk to the north of about 20 yards will score you a nice view of Iroquois Peak.
*Another way to reach Mount Marshall from HPIC via Cold Brook Pass. As of 2011 DEC is no longer maintaining this route but it remains followable for the time being. That said, it's very narrow and tight with spruce trees. Long sleeves and pants are recommended.
Do not attempt to cross Flowed Lands unless the conditions warrant. Remember, ice conditions can be variable and unpredictable. This herd path is tough to follow in areas if the route has not been broken out. Most of the route up Mount Marshall is wooded so exposure to winds on open summits, as is the case with other High Peaks, is not as much a factor here. However, the elevation does create serious temperature changes.