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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, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 16.5 mi Elevation gain 5,042 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Rocky

Scramble

Fee

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

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.

Garden Parking which costs $7 a day. There is a port-a-john in the lot. If the lot is full you have to park at Marcy Field and take a bus. But the bus stops at 7pm.

The Garden Parking lot is easily found by following the signs for it in Keen Valley on Route 73. To get to Keen valley Take exit 30 off I-87 and head towards Lake Placid.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (68)
Photos (901)
Recordings (65)
Completed (253)
Greg B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 09 2020
HikingBugsGreat!Over grownScramble

Hiked 7/9/20 Great hike with some exceptional views. Haystack (and little Haystack) were our favorites of the day. Weather was great, trails in pretty good shape though a getting a bit overgrown (prepare for some arm and leg scrapes), bugs were a major nuisance, but overall a great day.

Kubi Daniels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsMuddyRockyScramble

Awesome hike all around had a awesome time ! Saddle back was a very exciting hike

View Kubi's Recording
Jon Petrie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 09 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Trail conditions are improving. Mud wasn’t much of an issue. Feet stayed dry the entire day. Thank god for the trail crews that remove the blowdown. Otherwise it would have been impossible. Dozens of trees down in a short stretch on the way to Haystack. Amazing views and very windy today. No bugs! No snow to speak of on the trail.

Thomas Mercadante
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 05 2020
Hiking

Hiked Haystack Basin and Saddleback today. 13 hour and 23 mile walk. High winds on Saddle today. My friend said 50 mph gusts. Some mud between mtns and on Saddle but we managed. Climbed the "cliffs" up to Saddle. They were not that difficult. Great day.

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Devan Bushey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 26 2020
HikingBlowdownSnowWashed out

Hiked on 5/26/20. This hike is already considered the most technical treks in the ADK park, and with trail conditions currently, it is a tedious and dangerous hike. Started from the Garden at 7am towards to JBL before cutting over to the Ore Bed Brook trail to cut out the Wolfjaws. Took a right from there to follow the State Range trail up Saddleback's staircase. Snow was soft and easy to post through while walking anywhere off the monorail. Amazing views from the summit, and the backside of Saddleback on the scrambles was ice-free and dry in the sun. From Saddleback to Basin was an easy mile considering how hard the rest of the trail to come was. Snowy and steep with a nice icy boulder to navigate a climb on at one point. Basin to Haystack was tricky rail walking and had to be careful each step to not post through to the melt underneath you, followed by some rocky and wet scrambles down a snow melt 'waterfall' / stream. The Haystack summit has spoiled me for other hikes in the ADK's, with 360 views into the valley, back at the range, and front row tickets to gawk at Marcy. Down from Haystack was an obstacle course. One step off the icy monorail and you were promised to sink through. Even on the rail, you could hear a winter's worth of snow melt coursing under your feet like a river. Absolutely no chance to stay dry on this trail. After carefully managing through that all, the Phelps trail's conditions were a disaster. Trail markers were hard to find at points while crossing the high-water Brook, & then the whole trail itself was flooded and we had to walk through a eight inch river of freezing snow melt for a portion of trail. Once through that, all the excessive blowdown and mud couldn't phase us. The John's Brook was RAGING and water crossing was slow and tricky. Once back to the JBL the three miles back to the Garden were a welcome ease, but lasted forever. Can't say that this trail was easy, it was a proper adventure though each section and a humbling challenge with the reward of some of the most serene and unique views in the park. Took us exactly 10 hours including breaks at each summit, and slow moving miles considering the trail conditions. Would love to re-visit under less daunting trail conditions.

Taylor P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun May 24 2020
HikingIcyMuddySnow

Hiked Haystack, Basin, and Saddleback yesterday. This was a seriously tough hike. The snowy and icy conditions we were trudging through the majority of the time made for slow going. The trail has you follow snow covered streams, and the snow was melting so we often took a step, the snow breaking, and our feet sinking into the stream. Our feet were soaked most of the hike. John’s brook was very high and moving fast - it took us awhile to find a safe, dry way to cross. Spikes and poles are a must. We’re pretty experienced hikers and this was tough for all of us - physically and mentally. We began the hike at 6:10am and didn’t finish until 8pm, spending only about 20 minutes cumulatively on top of the three peaks. Please note that the AllTrails map sends you back to the Garden via the Wolfjaws - take the Ore Trail back if you do not intend to add these to your hike. The cliffs of Saddleback were highlight of the hike and so fun to climb. They weren’t icy or snowy at all. I would recommended waiting a couple of weeks until the snow melts a bit more. We had countless slips, postholes, and falls due to the conditions. On the plus side, the views from the top of all three peaks are amazing and we lucked out with excellent weather (about 70 degrees) and blue skies at the summits.

Dan Dan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 12 2019
Hiking

Toute une rando. Haystack avec vues à 360, Basin est très bien et Saddleback impressionnant. Fortement recommandé de faire dans le sens anti-horaire afin de monter Saddleback (en provenance de Basin) et non pas le descendre.... car cela frôle l'escalade. .... prudence prudence! Très belle rando avec des paysages fabuleux et de bons défis.

Emmaline Long
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Oct 12 2019
Hiking

Hiked the 3.5 miles into camp near JBL on Friday to cut down on total milage. The total hike from Haystack --> Basin --> Saddleback back to JBL was just over 12 miles. Hiked out the following morning. The hike to Haystack is a grind, but nothing too difficult. Beautiful 360 views from the top. Haystack to Basin isn't bad- some scrambles and lots of rock up Basin. Again- beautiful views from Basin. The hike from Basin up to Saddleback is where it gets tricky. Much more technical coming down Basin than I expected, and the cliffs on Saddleback were scary for me. Very thankful I had my boyfriend and brother in law to help me through them! I don't know how the people with big packs headed down the opposite direction did them- I wouldn't recommend that. Coming down the slide of Saddleback was tough after a long day of hiking. Left JBL around 7:30am and arrived back to JBL around 7pm with a total of 1 hr 15 min spent on the peaks.

Jeff Feliszak
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Oct 09 2019
HikingScramble
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Nathan Viehmann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Sep 28 2019
Hiking

haystack up basin dislocated shoulder back from basin to car with dislocated shoulder meet er doc on trail 1.5 miles from garden th he put it back in, score

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Jake Yu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 11 2019
HikingMuddy

Trail could use some maintenance work, as some parts were ankle-deep mud without any logs/platforms to step on Views from haystack and basin were incredible, no complaints there. Climb up saddleback is essentially rock climbing full extension hands pulling yourself up is necessary

Heidi Whitney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 10 2018
Hiking

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

James Appleton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 08 2018

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.

Jacob Avery
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 27 2018
Hiking

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.

Han Wah Ng
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 21 2017
Hiking

This trail rock !!

Joe Nesci
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 02 2017
Hiking

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.

Chris R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 09 2017
Hiking

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.

Jeremy Austin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 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

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