Mount Marcy is named after William L. Marcy, who
held various local, state and federal government positions.
During his tenure as Governor of New York (1833-1839), he
authorized the geological survey that explored the Adirondack
Area, including its highest peak known at that time as Tawahus.
Tawahus is an Indian name that means "the cloud
splitter", however, the local Indians actually had no name for
this mountain. The name Tawahus was given to the mountain by
white settlers of the area.
The first recorded ascent of Mount Marcy was led
by Professor Ebenezer Emmons, who along with his party reached
the summit on August 5, 1837. Reaching the summit was hampered
by the difficulties of traveling through virgin forests and
thick scrub that surrounded Mount Marcy. Today there exists many
well maintained trails, of which same offer access to the summit
as a day hike.
Although the summit was reached in 1837, the
first trail was not cut until 1861 by "Old Mountain" Phelps and
other guides. This trail departed the Upper Ausable Lake and
approached Mount Marcy from the current trail system through
Panther Gorge, then followed South-East slides up Mount Marcy.
The trail was abandoned by 1873 in favor of a new
trail that was cut by workers performing the Adirondack Survey
led by Verplanck Colvin. This new trail closely follows the
current trail from Elk Lake going along Marcy Brook toward four