Walk through one of the most spectacular routes in the Adirondacks with sheer rock walls rising directly out of the water on both sides.

Starting at the end of Adirondack Loj Road in the far right parking lot you will locate the trail register.  After signing in you will follow the Van Hovenberg trail.  At 1.0 mile you will reach a junction and turn left continuing an additional 1.3 miles to Marcy Dam.  From here there are views of Mount Colden and Wright Peak.  Marcy Dam alone is a beautiful spot.  The dam was breached a few years back after some destruction from a hurricane.  There is however a newly constructed bridge about 75 yards downstream you can now cross.  Once across and on the other side of Marcy Dam you will follow the yellow marked trail.  At times you will walk along the bank of Marcy Brook until finally you will cross it on a bridge.  Shortly after you reach the next junction.  You will continue to follow the yellow marked trail to Avalanche Lake.  This last section of trail has some log stairs and can be wet in areas. 

Eventually it will descend toward Avalanche Lake.  You will see the slopes rise from the water of Mount Colden on your left and even higher slopes to your right from Avalanche Mountain.  Now you can continue through this area on the right known as Avalanche Pass.  You will pass over ledges, large boulders, and many crevices aided by bridges and ladders.  In two areas where the cliffs rise directly out of the water you will pass on bridges bolted to the cliffs.  While on the second bridge look across the lake to the impressive Colden Trap Dike.  Continue on and cross a small footbridge over the outlet.  Here you can look back up the pass.  Now you can retrace your steps back for an amazingly scenic hike.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
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RT Distance 10.4 Miles
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful--Beware of Bears!

Avalanche pass is easily one of the most visit-worthy places in the Adirondacks if you're willing to put in the work to get there. The high mountain walls on either side of Avalanche lake make the most amazing backdrop as you scramble over the hitch-up matildas bolted into the rock. A word of caution -- last time I was there (Late July, 2016) my group was followed by a 400lb black bear from our campsite just past Marcy Dam all the way through Avalanche Pass to Lake Colden (Over 3 miles!). It was disconcertingly comfortable with us and just wouldn't leave us alone. Shouldn't be a deterrent, but definitely something to be aware of!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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