Haystack, Basin, Saddleback Trail is a 17.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Keene Valley, NY that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
This hike will take you to 3 amazing 46er peaks including Mt. Haystack, which I believe may have the best view of all the High Peaks then over to Basin and Saddleback. It is a bit difficult getting over the rock scrambles up to Saddleback. Start off by parking at the Garden Parking. Head up to the trail towards John Brooks Lodge which is about 3.6 miles. Stop by and check out what it has to offer. From here keep heading in the same direction towards Mt. Marcy. You will come to an intersection where you can head right towards Marcy or left towards Haystack. It's not long till you reach a small rock out cropping with great views. Just before little Haystack, you will see an intersection towards Basin. Once you reach Little Haystack the path looks difficult however most people make it in about 20-30 minutes. Once you have tackled Haystack back track and now take the path towards Basin. It is long and there are some steep inclines but you will have some great views. Keep going and it's only a mile till Saddleback. Hopefully you have some help because getting up these are crazy steep and hard. After you have tackle this third mountain, keep following only for .5 miles and turn off towards John Brook Lodge. Once you reach the slide you will see some very welcoming stairs. Just follow the path right back to JBL and then back out to Garden Parking. It's a very long day but very worth it.
Went from Saddleback to Basin. I have climbed many of the 46ers as well as the highest mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire, and this was easily the most difficult terrain I have come across - getting down was substantially more difficult than getting up. Thus I seriously underestimated how long it would take and had to skip Haystack. The views, of course, are spectacular and well worth it, but do not attempt if you aren't in shape. Will be returning for Haystack next season.
Extremely long day but so worth it. Took nearly 13 hours so bring a headlamp. JBL has some amazing people staying there and working there. Bring a friend or two along for this hike because getting up Saddleback from Basin is very steep.