New York state is home to over 20 million people, many of which live in New York City, or the surrounding area. Situated in the northeastern United States, New York is home to ranges in both the Appalachian and Adirondack Mountains. Remarkably, New York borders the Atlantic Ocean, Canada, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. Between New York City and the vast tracts of green, rolling land and lakes, it’s no wonder that New York is such a popular place to visit. But, just how high is the highest point in New York?

Here, we’ll discover both the highest and lowest points in New York. We’ll also find out what there is to do at New York’s highest point. Finally, we’ll explore the top five highest points in New York.

The Highest Point in New York

Mount Marcy
The highest point in New York is Mount Marcy.

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At 5,344 feet (1,629 meters) elevation, Mount Marcy is the highest point in New York. It’s also the highest point in the Adirondack Mountains. The peak is named after William L, Marcy, the one-time governor of New York who ordered geologic and topographic surveys of the Adirondack Mountains. Located in the northeastern part of the state in Essex County, Mount Marcy lies in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area.

Nearby, in the mountainous ridges around the peak, the headwaters of the Hudson River begin to gather. Interestingly, Mount Marcy is actually tall enough to exceed the tree line. This means that, while forest covers most of the mountain, the top several hundred feet are bare of all but the hardest of shrubs and grasses. First scaled in 1837, Mount Marcy remains a popular hiking destination to this day.

How High is Mount Marcy, Relatively?

Mount Marcy
The lowest point in New York is sea level.

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The average elevation in New York is only 1,000 feet above sea level. The lowest point in the state is actually sea level. This means that Mount Marcy, the highest point in the state, is an astounding 5,344 feet above the lowest point in the state. New York has the 21st highest state peak; Alaska has the first, Denali, at 20,320 feet elevation. 

The state’s lowest points lie along the borders of the Great Lakes, along the river valleys, and in New York City and Long Island. The Adirondack Mountains of the northeast are unquestionably the highest mountains in the state, with a further region of high points in the Catskill Mountains to the south. The south-central region of New York is characterized by the Allegheny Plateau and the Finger Lakes.

Getting to Mount Marcy

Mount Marcy
You can access Mount Marcy by hiking.

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If you’re a mountaineer, or if you come from a state like Colorado or Utah, then the highest point in New York might not seem that high. But, Mount Marcy’s summit is accessible only via a steep, rugged hike. Summit hikes almost always begin from the nearby town of Lake Placid, located 12 miles from the peak. From there, hikers usually drive to the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center, where they can park and begin their journey.

From the parking lot, the trail to the top is 7.4 miles long—each way. And, it’s no easy, flat trail; hiking Mount Marcy means an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. There are four common routes for getting to the top. But, no matter which route you choose, ensure that you are adequately prepared and experienced before attempting this hike.

Other Ways to Enjoy Mount Marcy

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK
You can visit Lake Placid which is close to Mount Marcy.

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If you’re not quite up to hiking Mount Marcy, there are plenty of other hiking trails and smaller peaks in the area for you to conquer. Upstate New York offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, including camping, hunting, fishing, and winter snowshoeing. Nearby hikes include Mount Haystack, Rainbow Falls, and Fairy Ladder Falls. But, what if you just want to see Mount Marcy, and hiking isn’t really your thing? 

Welcome to Lake Placid, the largest town in close proximity to Mount Marcy. Lake Placid is home to a thriving combination of historic sites and modern amenities. In Lake Placid, you can check out the Bobsled and Luge Complex, the Adirondack Equine Center, and even the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex. And if that’s not enough for you, you can always check out Lake Placid itself, or one of its neighboring lakes.

New York’s Five Highest Points

We’ve learned that Mount Marcy is the highest point in New York, but what about the runners-up? At 5,115 feet, Algonquin Peak is the second-highest peak in New York. The third highest is Mount Haystack, at 4,960 feet elevation. The fourth highest point in New York is Mount Sunlight, which is 4,926 feet. And finally, the fifth highest point in New York is Whiteface Mountain, at 4,867 feet elevation.

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