Friday, August 9, 2019

Combining Table Top Mountain and Phelps in the Adirondacks

At the top of Phelps Mountain in the Adirondacks 

Table Top and Phelps Mountains in the Adirondacks are another two peaks that are great in combination when hiking with children.  The combination trail is approximately 13.8 miles.  The trail is very scenic and well maintained.  The signs are clearly indicated throughout the trail and there are turn off points to each mountain. You can also combine Marcy (the tallest peak in the mountain range) but that would make for a very long day.  Alternatively, you could also backpack and break up the trip into two days. 

Registering for the hike
The sign in is the same for Marcy and where you indicate your intended destinations for the day.  You can also how many people are on the trail ahead of you.  We started this trail around 5:38am.  We started early as we knew the forecast was calling for rain in the afternoon and so we were planning to be off the mountains before the rain came (unfortunately the rain came early and we got dumped on the way up to Phelps  Mountain, which made the trail a river flowing downhill while we were going up).

Crossing Marcy Dam

There are several places along the trail to take breaks and refuel.  Starting from Adk Loj,  Marcy Dam is about 2.1 miles (less than an hour), but still a nice place to stop and hang out before making the trek up the mountains.  Marcy Dam provides an excellent view of the High Peaks and a great place for a family photo. 

Passing by others on the trail
The trail is very well used and we passed several groups of hikers along the way.  This trail had both day hikers as well as backpackers (although the trail etiquette on most trails is to give the right away to those ascending the trail, this seems to be less followed on overused trails like this one).

The sign at the peak

When combining Table Top and Phelps Mountains, it is best to do Table Top first as it is the further distance from the gate and provides the less favourable views.  The top of Table Top provides some views, although a little obstructed by the trees.  The peak did offer a great little place for a break and put on a warmer layer, as it was a bit chilly due to the wind.  

At the peak of Table Top

On our way back down Table Top, it did not take long before we had to take off our warmer layers and the temperature changed dramatically once out of the wind.  The descent from Table Top is enjoyable and provides opportunities for the play around.  

Taking the hard way across the gap
Not far from the base of Table Top is Indian Head Falls.  It is about 5 minutes away.  This is a great area for a break.  We had already done it when we did Marcy so we skipped it this time but worth seeing.

On our way to Phelps, the rain started earlier than expected, so we put on our rain coats and took some shelter in the trees while the heaviest rain came down.  The rain ended quickly, but not before making the trail into a river and then very muddy.  Part way up the clouds opened up again and the thunder started.  The rain rushing down the rocks on the trail made it more challenging, as at times is was very slick.  

But once we arrived at the top, the sun came out and quickly dried the rocks so we had a place to take a break (that was very nice of the sun!!). The view back at Table Top and Marcy in the background was great and we really enjoyed this peak.  

On our decent, the clouds began to get heavy and dark again so we picked up our pace a bit so we were back on the main trail out before the next round of rain started.  It only rained a little on the way out and we were expecting it so we were prepared for it.  

Back at our campsite, we had to dry our our gear before preparing for the next hike.  We hung up a few items and laid the rest out in front of a fire to ensure they were fully dried before we repacked them.


Table Top and Phelps Mountains are a great combination for a day hike.  Glad we checked the forecast and knew to expect the rain as we were prepared for it.  Could not imagine getting dumped by the rain without the proper rain gear!  Starting it early allowed for most of the hike to be in dry weather.  The view from Phelps was better than Table Top and had a better area for a break.  Two more of the 46ers complete!

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