Haystack, Basin, Saddleback Trail is a 16.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Keene Valley, New York 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
16.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,029 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

rocky

scramble

This hike takes you to 3 amazing 46er peaks including Mt. Haystack, 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 head 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 tackle this third mountain, keep going for .5 miles and turn off towards John Brook Lodge. Once you reach the slide you will see some very welcoming stairs. Follow the path right back to JBL and then back out to Garden Parking.

hiking
3 months ago

Longer than this states (18.5 by my Garmin), but great hike from the Garden.

3 months ago

One of the best 46 high peaks hikes there is. Views and summits from all 3 mountains are fantastic. Haystack feels like another country on top. Total time 11 hours 10 minutes. We walked in to JBL from the garden. From there we went to Haystack first (***be careful if you want to go to Haystack first because the sign at JBL to Haystack is misleading as it points you left to Haystack saying 7 miles, but that is the way/mileage to Haystack if you END with Haystack and go over Saddleback and Basin first). We started the loop with Haystack so we went towards Marcy before splitting to Haystack. Go over little Haystack to Haystack. Then it was roughly an hour to Basin, and roughly another hour to Saddleback. Descent between basin and Saddleback is some of the most technical descents I’ve seen. Steep, rocky, slippery, and have to calculate every step. Getting to the col was very welcomed. Then climbing the cliffs just before Saddleback is a challenge as you’re actually doing some rock climbing (no clue how a dog would get up/down it without getting really hurt). Descent from Saddleback was nice and not bad on the body and there’s a super long wooden staircase down the side of a slide that’s really cool. Great trip with great views and terrain. 9 miles from garden to Haystack so it took 4 hours 45 minutes to get to our first summit then smooth sailing. Then we completed the loop at JBl and back to the garden.

hiking
4 months ago

What an incredible day! This was easily one of the most beautiful hikes I have been on.

Exhausting - yes! But such incredible views on all three summits. A fantastic day.

hiking
Saturday, October 21, 2017

This trail rock !!

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

Started at the Garden Lot and headed to Saddleback. Muddy start and steady ascent. Fun climb to Saddleback including a fast climb up a ladder/stairs on the Basin face and with decent views up top. Down and up to Basin with a mad scramble. One of the more exciting scrambles I've done so far but definitely a rough trail, especially with prior and impending rains. Views opened up in almost all directions but fog kept rolling in and out making this a brief, summit visit. Haystack was next as the rain began. The earlier hiking was difficult in wet conditions, but the trail leading to Haystack was another beast in itself. False summits, rushing water, mud, rain, harsh winds and tricky rocks to navigate. By the time we made it out of the woods, Little Haystack taunted us in the distance. The winds picked up, so did the rain and the cairns were all we had to guide us. Down Little Haystack and a slippery traverse up to Big Daddy Haystack. We made it, wet, cold and full of views as far as 20 feet in front of us. Neat. Our hike down was going to be about 10 miles back. We decided to cut down the Marcy Trail to Phelps Trail instead of hoofing it back to Slant Rock to cut down on mileage and re-climbing peaks. The descent to the Phelps Trail was probably the most dangerous of the day. The hike out was long and arduous but surely beat the revisiting of peaks in the rain. Total trip time was 9 hours and 41 minutes. Be prepared for a tough go of it if you decide to do this loops but definitely one that's worth it. We will be back for Haystack views.

hiking
Friday, June 09, 2017

We only did Haystack and Basin with a side hike to Bushnells Falls. This was a hard hike that had great views from both summits. It was super windy up there today along with wet rock where we had to take our time.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

did this last October long day trip but is awesome. defiantly glad I took haystack, basin, then saddleback. because I would not want to go down from saddleback towards basin because getting up it was already intense

hiking
Sunday, March 12, 2017

We made the ascent to the summit after we couldn't do it last week. What a difference the weather made for the water crossings. We only hiked Saddleback Mountain today.

hiking
Friday, March 03, 2017

We tried hiking Saddleback only today. The Range Trail was horrible. It looked like a mine field. The trail had places where it was undercut and you could see water running beneath the trail. The water crossings were not easy in some parts. We made it to the slide where the weather took a turn, so we called it and hiked back out.

hiking
Friday, November 13, 2015

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.

hiking
Thursday, September 24, 2015

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.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Friday, October 14, 2016

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