Easy Short Lake Placid Hikes: Winter Snowshoe/XC Ski or Easy Hike to Old Marcy Dam Site

We haven’t been back to Adirondack's Marcy Dam since Tropical Storm Irene hit in late August 2011. We had climbed Marcy just a few days before the storm, resting at the bridge on our way back to our car, snapping pictures that now show an area changed by the storm. We couldn’t have known that it would be the last time we’d see Mt. Colden’s reflection in the pond at Marcy Dam.  A few days later Irene hit, the wooden dam breached and the bridge washed out changing the iconic area forever.

The snow is still plentiful as we drive in the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Loj area and park at the far lot. We enter past the tent platforms, which looks like a ghost town in winter, using the Old Marcy Dam Trail.  

Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series:
Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake
and the High Peaks with over 33
easy hikes, 19 swimming holes, snowshoe, ski trails
trivia, maps and four season activities. 
The beginning section is relatively flat and the snow is still plentiful. At 0.9 mile the trail merges with the more popular VanHoevenberg Trail that starts right at the Loj building. We are hustling because of our late start. The yellow trail would take us to Wright and Algonquin Peaks. We continue straight and follow the blue markers for 1.2-miles to get to the dam.  The trail is a series of uphill treks that require us to put our herringbone technique to the test while the downhill portions are a thrill that make everything else worth the effort. 

We make it to the site of Marcy Dam in record time. We see the wooden walls have held strong, but the bridge that spanned the dam is missing and the area cordoned off with posted warning signs. The new log bridge on Marcy Brook is about 250 ft. downstream from the dam. With most of Marcy Dam Pond drained from the dam being breached by Irene, we are now able to explore the shallow frozen marsh. The wind has picked up and it is starting to snow. We are usually besieged by chickadees trying to beat us to our snack. Even they do not want to leave their shelter for our cookie crumbs 

The return trip is always faster but we still have to don our headlamps by the time we reach the junction again. The snow is still lightly falling but we are protected under the trees from the wind.  Our sight is limited to the shine or lamps and the moon overhead.   It is a perfect ending to a beautiful ski.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guides to over 300 Activities. For more family fun go
 to www.adirondackfamilytime.com.


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