Day two Load a daypack and get going at sunrise for a wicked-beautiful 7.2-mile day. Continue north on the Elk Lake Trail .3 mile and turn right at an easy-to-spot (but unsigned) junction to ascend Bartlett Ridge; climb 500 feet in a half-mile to a bench and another junction. Turn left to summit 4,960-foot Haystack Mountain, reaching timberline in .4 mile. Descend to the north via an unnamed trail (follow cairns and yellow marks) for .6 mile to the blue-blazed State Range Trail. Take this a half-mile to a left onto the red-blazed Phelps Trail, which leads .7 mile to the Van Hoevenberg Trail. Turn left and ascend above treeline on lichen-covered rocks, reaching Mt. Marcy’s summit in .6 mile. Descend via the .8-mile Calamity Brook Trail to the Four Corners. Feeling spry? Climb .5 mile south to summit 4,926-foot Mt. Skylight. Burnt? Take the Elk Lake Trail left to return to camp.
Day three Reverse day one’s route to reach your car.
Driving From Albany, take I-87 for 89 miles north to Blue Ridge Rd. Turn left and go four miles to a sign for Elk Lake Lodge. Turn right and go 5.2 miles to trailhead parking. Gear Bear canisters required (rentals available through the Adirondack Mountain Club).
Map and guide Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region ($20, adk.org, comes with maps)
Contact (518) 668-4447, adk.org