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Old 08-28-2020, 01:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 2
How crowded is the Marcy hike?


Planning a trip up Marcy in September. Would like to camp at Marcy dam. I've been out of the state for a few years...How crowded is it now? Will we be able to get a tent spot at Marcy dam?

Any input would appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:46 PM   #2
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It will be crowded. Here is a blog post by one of the summit stewards from a few weeks ago. Yes, the summer crowd will be gone, but the leaves will start changing soon.
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:45 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Weekdays (especially Monday - Wednesday) - good chance
Weekends - Very unlikely
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Old 09-01-2020, 12:57 PM   #4
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This has been a weird summer regarding use levels- which are very much not following established trends. But the best, most simple answer to your question is yes, you should expect it to be very crowded. Backcountry use levels overall are up substantially this year, and that trend appears likely to continue at least for the remainder of the pandemic. Weekdays are seeing levels of use that would've been typical of weekends in previous years, with weekend levels of use a entire new level of crazyness that has never before been seen in the Adirondack backcountry.

Based on summit steward statistics (they count the number of hikers interacted with on any staffed summit every day) overall levels of use in the High Peaks appear to be as much as 2-3 times as high this year as in previous years.

If avoiding crowds is a priority for you, I'd pick a non-High Peaks destination. And even then, some additional research will be necessary to find solitude- even non-High Peaks backcountry areas are seeing increased levels of use over the norm this year.

If you do decide to camp at Marcy Dam anyways, please remember to carry and use a bear canister. Nuisance bear activity in the High Peaks is also way up this year- the DEC had to close Lake Colden to camping entirely for a time earlier this season, and one bear had to be put down (it was climbing into occupied lean-tos and ripping tents open). Every time a bear gets hiker food, it acts as positive reinforcement that encourages it to act increasingly aggressive over time. A large part of the problem is improper use of bear canisters (groups without canisters aren't alone to blame for the issue). Remember to store the canister well outside of camp (200+ feet), and to also cook and eat well outside camp (at a location different than where the canister is stored). Remember also to keep the lid on the canister and secure at all times (some of the bears have learned to show up when the canister is open).

Remember also that BearVault brand canisters have failed repeatedly in the High Peaks (even when used properly)- and their use by campers is does contribute in part to the overall issue. NYSDEC regulations do not list BearVault canisters as an approved model for use in the High Peaks Wilderness. Using a BearVault while being aware of the issues with their ineffectiveness (and direct contribution to the issue of nuisance bear behavior in the High Peaks) is reckless and irresponsible.

(I'm aware that the OP of this thread is likely aware of the canister regulation, and the above comments weren't necessarily directed at them specifically. Rather, I felt that the above information was worth including for all those third parties reading this thread with similar plans in mind who may not be aware of the canister regulation.)
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Old 09-02-2020, 02:26 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Protect Adks published a list of good hikes outside of the High Peaks. Some of them aren't exactly low traffic (Blue, Arab) but a good place to start if you want to avoid crowds.
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