The Great Range Traverse
Red is our route pink, yellow, and blue are "bail" routes
Van Hoevenberg (6.8 miles) & Phelps Trail (.6 miles) to summit of Marcy: 7.4 miles, elevation gain of 3,166 feet. The Van Hoe Trail is the most popular trail up to the summit of Mount Marcy. It has easy to moderate grades for the most part and should be breeze.
OPTION #2 Phelps Trail to summit of Marcy: (Blue trail to Red on the map) 9.1 miles, elevation gain of 3,821 feet. Trailhead is located at "The Garden" parking lot in Keane Valley about 1.6 miles from Highway 73. The trail is relatively flat for 1.5 miles then has moderate gains until 2.0 miles. From here until 5.2 miles to Bushnell Falls the trail has mostly easy grades with one or two short steep pitches. The Bushnell Falls Lean-to's are around the 5.1 mile mark of this trail. From Bushnell Falls to Slant Rock (6.8 miles in) the trail has moderate and easy grades. There is a lean-to and camping off trail near Slant Rock.
Now the fun begins! The Phelps Trail from 6.8 miles to the State Range Trail Junction at 7.8 miles has moderate grades with steep section so this is where the real hiking begins as we "gain the ridge" of the Great Range.
At the Trail junction we head up to Marcy after a minor descent and are in the scrub and above treeline to Marcy's summit where there usually is some fag called a "summit steward" telling us to stay on the trail and not to step on any flowers.
Marcy to Haystack: Phelps and State Range Trail: 3.4 miles, elevation gain of 1,000 feet. From Marcy we backtrack back to the Trail Junction and hook onto the State Range Trail and descend and ascend steeply (with some great views the higher we get) up to sub peak Lil' Haystack and onto the Official 4,000 footer Haystack an open summit awesome views.
Haystack to Basin: State Range Trail, 2.0 miles, elevation gain of 1,000 feet. We have to backtrack one last time back to the Col between Lil' Haystack and Basin, where there is a primitive campsite*** maybe we can stay here for night one (Click on link for picture) . From there we ascend steeply up some scramble to Basin's summit which has more great views.
Basin to Saddleback: State Range Trail, 1.0 miles, 300 feet. The highlight of this stretch of the hike is the last couple tenths up to Saddleback is more of rock scrambling than hiking.
Saddleback to Gothics: State Range Trail and ADK Range Trail: 1.0 miles, elevation gain of 800 feet. From Saddleback we'll drop to a col before heading up the steep slabs up to Gothic with their famous cables bolted into the trail to help us up the difficult parts if wet.
Gothics to Armstrong: ADK Trail, 1.0 miles, elevation gain 200 feet. This is pretty easy section of hiking with an easy descent and ascent between peaks.
Armstrong to Upper Wolfjaw: ADK Range Trail, 1.0 miles, elevation gain of 300 feet. steep descent and ascent with pretty crappy footing, with views becoming less and less.
Upper to Lower Wolfjaw: ADK Range Trail & W.A. White Trail, 1.4 miles, elevation gain of 775 feet. More of the same, steep descent and ascent with crappy footing and minimal views.
Lower Wolfjaw to Hedgehog and then to Rooster Comb: 3.5 miles, elevation gain of 450. This is up and down and in the woods and is a basically the beginning of a "suffer-fest"
Rooster Comb to Highway 73 Trailhead: 2.5 miles, all downhill, it will suck ass!
Total Miles: around 23, elevation gain around 8,000 feet or 25 miles 8,700 feet via Phelps Trail