Big Slide Yard Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 123 reviews
#11 of 186 trails in

Big Slide Yard Mountain Loop Trail is a 9.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Keene Valley, New York that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until March.

9.8 miles
3,113 feet




nature trips






wild flowers



no dogs

Big Slide can be done as an out & back (via The Brothers) accessed by John's Brook in Keane Valley or can be done as a loop (which is longer). From the parking lot you will start climbing immediately up a steady course to an attractive brook crossing. Past this point you will climb steeply to the amazing views from the 1st Brother. After a short descent you will climb steeply again up the slopes of the 2nd Brother and gain even more amazing views. Past the 2nd Brother you will drop into an open valley and start a much longer and steadier climb to the mostly wooded summit of the 3rd Brother. After another descent you will climb much more moderately to the second route, outlined below. From this intersection the trail becomes its steepest as you make the final push to the summit, where some of the best views in the NE can be awarded. (The trail continues over the top to Yard Mt. and another possible loop that includes Johns Brook Lodge.) For the most common loop, return to the base of the steep climbing and continue straight on a trail that eventually crosses Slide Mt. Brook several times before reaching the Johns Brook Trail. Turn left, and then left again at the trail register. After a brief climb from the register, the trail is mostly down to the Garden parking area. This return is 1.5 miles longer than returning over the Brothers.

10 days ago

August 8, 2018: Completed Big Slide in 5.5 hours, with about 30 minutes of breaks. Parking: The trailhead at Garden Parking (off Adirondack Rd from the village of Keene) is very small. I arrived there at 9am on Tuesday and no spots available. I usually start my hikes earlier, but this time, I was driving from Ottawa the morning of. I quickly learned that if the parking is full, you are SOL. There are no other places to park, except in the village itself at a public parking, which is what I did. In addition to the 5.5 hrs, this added a good 1hour and 15 minutes. So arrive early :) Although I heard that on weekends there's a shuttle service - don't take my word for it though. The hike itself is a nice one, but tough. There is quite a bit of rock scrambling, which I personnaly like. The summit is great, but watch out for mice - one nearly got in my backpack. I didn't do the actual loop, I went right up from the three Brothers trail and came down the same. Cheers

10 days ago

A lot more rock scrambling than I anticipated! I loved the views on the way up, stopping every now and then to get a snapshot, catch my breath, or drink some water. The way back feels long but is a nice break for your knees. Pay attention to the yellow arrow on a boulder after the waterfall on your way back. There's a herd trail going into the woods that we followed that's not the trail! Overall a satisfying hike! I'm an intermediate hiker and I finished in 7 hours, including about 30 min worth of breaks.

25 days ago

The total distance is a bit more than 9.8 miles.

If you have more than one person in your car drop the passengers off at the garden trailhead so you only have to pay for one shuttle ride.

There is potable water at the Johns Brook Lodge.

29 days ago

We hiked Big Slide on July 16 and found the trail challenging, but certainly worth it as the views along the way and at the summit were amazing!

What made the hike challenging was mostly weather and our own inexperience. It was extremely warm that day, and as this was only our second high peak, we overpacked in terms of food and so the weight of our backpack slowed us down as we made frequent stops along the way! We began our climb around 7:30am and when we returned to the car around 3:30pm, the temperature was 32 degrees Celsius!!! There were also many opportunities for taking pictures along the way, which we certainly took advantage of!

We began at the Garden Parking lot ($10 USD for parking) and returned through the Slide Mountain Brook Trail loop after we reached the summit. In total, we were about 8 hours - again, with more than a 'normal' amount of breaks along the way. The path begins moderately steep and continues that way until after the second Brother, where it descends for a bit before a steep climb (including some adventurous rock scrambles and questionable log steps) just before the summit. Unlike Marcy, which we did two years ago, the summit does not offer 360 degree views; however, the views from the Brothers are fantastic and the Great Range is right in front of you from the summit! The loop trail return descends steadily until John Brooks Lodge with some running water along the way if (like us) your supply is getting low by then! Once at JBL, the 3 miles remaining back to the Garden Parking Lot are flat and well marked.

A cooler day and a lighter backpack are the only things that could have made this any better. Truly a beautiful and rewarding hike!

1 month ago

I am 14 hikes into my 46 and I found this to be the easiest so far and had some of the best views. I hiked up The Brothers and stopped on each for photos. After the summit, I continued over to Yard Mountain. The trail is not very wide but it's pretty easy. I was not even sure at what point I crossed the summit I was moving so quickly. I was glad I did the loop because there are some pretty cool boulders along the way after John's Brook Lodge. Total distance was 11.65 miles and elevation gain was 3392'

5 months ago

Great hike, amazing views, and a lot of fun scrambles on this trail.

8 months ago

Took the Three Brothers up to the top. The trail was great and the views were amazing. I would suggest stopping along the way and enjoying the views from each of the brothers. They all offer different, but beautiful, views.

9 months ago

Awesome trail and views on 10/27

10 months ago

Did the full loop on Saturday. Absolutely beautiful. Parked at Marcy field, hit the trail at 9 and was back to the Garden just after 3:30, which included about an hour of breaks. Mileage clocked at 12.3 miles. Trail off of Yard to JBL is not the easiest to follow at a point or two, so make sure to keep an eye on the markers.

11 months ago

Great, great hike with amazing views. I am already planning on coming back in the fall not only because a ton of people recommended it, it is easy to see that you will have some stunning views. Somewhat challenging in spots due to how wet and muddy everything was but well worth the effort. Fell into the creek on the way down but still had a great time.

11 months ago

Great hike. I would mark it as definitely difficult. Even though I consider myself fast and fit it's still took us more than 8 hours to do the whole thing with an hour break. My fit bit and an iPhone showed that this hike was 13 miles. Not 9.9 which added another hour and something. The hike is amazing. Very different. Beautiful and surprising. But a little muddy so grab extra socks if you get unfortunate like me and step into the mud. Would totally do it again but if you are inexperienced don't do it. It's hard and long.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Great hike! Parking at Garden Trail Head is hit or miss. I got there at 0500 and the lot was full. However, I talked to several people coming up the mountain as I was going down and they got spots at 0700-0900. It's hit of miss. Most of the elevation you'll encounter is getting onto the first Brother. After that it flows nice and easy. Once you see the sign for .3 to the summit, there is another little steep section but it isn't to bad. It only take about 15 minutes from that point to reach the summit. Great views almost all day, and it was a perfect day for me to finish my 46'ers!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What a beast she is! An incredibly exciting and challenging hike with the first 3 miles ascending 2,800 feet roughly. Now to me this trail gets 5 stars and it deserves a hard rating. The 3 of us hiked it July 4th weekend and the trail was so wet and muddy because of the rains the prior weeks, it made it that much more challenging that's for sure! We initially had planned to do the loop which starts in garden, brothers, big slide, yard, back down Johns brook trial. However we got a late jump on the day (lot is almost always full by 5:30am). Good news is that there's a shuttle that runs every 20 minutes from the airfield that's like a few miles away so don't stress it actually was really simple and quick.

Ok back to this beast. We just ended up doing the out and back (about 10 miles) The way down was just as hard and challenging and the views were awesome! The good news was that on that Sunday July 2nd the weather was amazing with nothing but sun and blue sky which made the views going up and down the brothers some of the best I have seen! This trail is not for everyone as we saw a few people really struggling coming down (just as an FYI).

I love adventure and would hike anything and this trail is a must on the to do list for those of you out there that haven't yet. Definitely going back to compete the entire loop either in the fall or next summer!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Went from Garden over the Brothers to Big Slide. There are amazing views going up and you can't help but stop to soak it in. The last climb up to Big Slide was steep and fun. It got a little crowded on top but not too bad. Skipped the Yard loop and went south down the rocky creek to Johns Brook trail and then looped back to the Garden trail head. This is a longer hike so bring enough food and water. Also, get to the trailhead early, I was there at 0530 and got the second to last parking space.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

This trail is challenging, even harder when it is muddy.

Initially, we aimed to hike Big Slide, The Yard and down Johns Brook loop. We only made it to Big Slide via the Three Brothers - out and back. It had rained for 2 days straight with flash flood warnings prior to our hike. The trail that day was in bad shape and extremely hard as we jumped from stone to stone trying to avoid the 3-4 inch deep muddy trail for almost 7-8 hours. So fair warning if it has been raining for days to reconsider. Should you decide to do this loop, know that there will be a down stream brook you will have to cross. Ask the ranger about the current Brook condition, which could be a calm few inches to as high as waist deep with strong currents that could wipe you off your feet. On our day, we heard it was an extremely strong currents as high as our waist and we were not prepared to get that wet. We choose to be safe and hiked back out.

There are a few spectacular views from the Brothers and Big Slide - all which were very rewarding. Once at the first brother, I finally saw why hikers started at 4am to catch the sunrise at 7am. For me personally, there were a few huge rocks where I felt nervous climbing up but once we got to past it, we saw the blue markers and continued the hike.

1. The Garden parking lot was full by 5:45am but there is a free public parking lot 2 miles away with a $10 shuttle to take you to Garden lot - Ask the Ranger. We got there around 10:30am and 4 cars left during the 20 mins it took us to drive to the public parking lot and catch the shuttle. I wish we waited about 15-20 mins.
2. Bring the 100% deet. There are swarms of biting black flies, which are no fun. We saw tons of people with mosquito net hat.
3. The youngest child I saw was prob the age of 9-10 - Def not a trail for small children.

I'll be revisiting the hike next summer better prepared and hoping for better weather that week... til next time Johns Brook.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Really good trail, quite challenging but not in a "stay away from it kind of way". We went in mid June and there were a lot of flies once the sun came out. Be prepared.

The part that surprised me the most is the difficulty going downhill AFTER the Big Slide towards Yard Mountain. The larger loop had some challenging aspects further compounded by rain the prior day. If you want to do Big Slide but are concerned about difficulty I would cut out the larger loop and go straight down towards the lodge from big Slide (skipping yard mountain completely)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hiked Big Slide 3/19/2017. I knew from the forums that the trail had been scouted and packed down properly by @KVStreamer & crew. Started up from the Garden at 7am sharp. Made it to the first brother and was completely blown away with the views. I'm only on #8 but I think this may have been the best I've seen so far. I was surprised at the amount of wooded forest there is to do. I was expecting huge slab rock and ice etc etc. The walk was much simpler than anticipated for sure. By the time i got to the junction I had only passed by some really low level hairy spots. Had them in mind but wasnt very worried. The last section is for sure steep but nothing unmanagable. Made it to the top by 11:30ish and was more than fine with that time. On the way up I met forum member @MAlexander & crew. They passed by and I chatted with them again as they buttslided down after summiting. They assured me
I was close as close could be. After summiting I was greeted by a group of three, a man (Chris) and two women who were from I think it was Geneva, somewhere in Western NY. Nice people, chit chatted a bit. They had done Allen the day previous. I parted from them and headed back. Got to experience some higher speed buttsliding for the first time and i'll tell ya, it felt good! ;) Made it across all my concern spots and made excellent time down. Was in the car and happy as hell to have finished incident free by 2pm. All in all, a somewhat challenging hike but doable for most people. Except for the couple with insanely cute baby in Osprey crazy backpack thingy who waved and said hi & bye in passing. They were making the decision to turn around before the first brother :( He was ambitious to go but girlfriend was not amused and had made the call, lol. Hope they made it down safe. All told it was a killer day. Thanks for reading :P

Last 2 cents. If your really short you may need a hand up onto some things but all in all this can be done by anyone. It can be steep and is low level scary on a few open rock spots. You'll spend most of the time in a wooded forest on an almost flat to modearte grade, if you fell youd be fine, lol.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Hiked Big Slide via the Bros. at the end of September. Ascended at 6am and got to the First Bro's summit at sunrise. Definitely worth getting up at 4:15am! Many stops along the way; very picturesque. Took the loop trail back to the Garden going through the woods and walking next to a large stream, totaling 9hrs. Beautiful walk down the mountain- be sure to bring poles for assistance.

Monday, October 10, 2016

If you start to follow the trail along first and second Brother, end with Big Slid. You will ascend with Great Range along with you and Mt. Marcy lies on the west. This 3.7 mile ascending trail is steep. The 1.4 mile from Big Slid to Yard transaction is very mild and smooth. The return trail is steep but short between Yard and Johns Brook Lodge. The last 3.8 miles to Garden is in the valley. It is pleasant walk in the woods.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Did this loop in the fall, so was extra rewarded by views of the beautiful changing leaves.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Big Slide via The Brothers was a great hike with panoramic views from Brothers 1&2, and the summit of Big Slide. Moderate hike with some tough spots. Hiked The Brothers/Big Slide loop in 9 hours (with multiple breaks at the summits). Hit the trail head at 6AM and caught the sunrise at the summit of the first Brother. Definitely recommended.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I found this hike to be very enjoyable. I would recommend it for most moderate to experienced hikers. It doesn't seem that difficult due to the fact you're constantly admiring the views on the way up. The trail has a lot to offer including many different points of scenery. There are 2 or 3 360 views on smaller brother peaks you will pass on your way up and a few ascending rocky cliffs you will pass that boast great views mid way up. The final few hundred feet is a bit steep but once you're up the summit has a 180 view of the higher peaks and is very rewarding.

There's 2 slightly longer trails to take going back down if you want and one of them contains a long mossy stream you'll follow. The last 2 or 3 miles is a straightaway and is a good way to finish the trip without too much effort. It will probably take about 6 hours to complete at a normal pace with some stops. Whichever path you take, it will be rewarding.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Definitely hard... might not be as tall as Marcy, but it gains a lot of elevation quick & really works your lungs. Good bit of steep, flat rock face that helps if you really lean into the mountain for & the ladder near the summit is surprisingly sturdy and safe. That view makes it all so worth it, though!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This was a fun hike to do. The views while hiking were nice. There's a lot of slide walking with a little scrambling here and there but it was manageable. The views from the summit was very nice looking at the Great Range. I opted and did a loop going down the side trail to the John Brooks trail which was like walking in a park. The only issue is I arrived at the Garden Trailhead around 6 and I took the last parking spot and it was already crowded.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Amazing views on the way up. Well worth the effort. Challenging on the way down too.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

big slide via 3 brothers was an amazing day hike. very difficult but worth it when you get to each of the 4 summits. many types of paths included in this route. steep rocks, cool and hidden by the trees, and narrow inclines surround by bushes are all there for you. having 4 summits served as a great checkpoint system to monitor your time.

chances are you won't get parking at the garden parking lot but the shuttle from the airfield down the road runs every 20 minutes which is worth it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Big Slide via the brothers is a real treat great views all around and challenging hiking and scrambling. A great day trip would be to hike up to Big Slide via The Brothers and down to Johns Brook Lodge for lunch. Hike out along the old trail past the ranger cabin instead of along the green tunnel that is the standard approach from the Garden to JBL. It parallels Johns Brook for much of the way and eventually crosses over to the Garden. Bring some beer and chill them in the creek. Enjoy lunch and brews on the deck at JBL.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

As my first high peak, it was a challenge. Pack plenty of water. We ran out on the back side of Yard and there weren't a lot of sources.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brothers one and two are awesome and have great scrambles. The third brother was not as much fun. Great loop hike as we took the red marked trail down to the Phelps trail and back to the Garden. Many brook crossings on this route down. Just beautiful. And we actually were able to get a park at the Garden so score.

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