Haystack Mountain Trail

MODERATE 74 reviews
#23 of 177 trails in

Haystack Mountain Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ray Brook, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.2 miles
1706 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips






wild flowers





From the trailhead start a mellow hike through an attractive forest passing below Little Burn Mountain to your right. As the terrain begins to climb the footing remains very nice. Eventually you will swing hard north and follow closer to a stream on your left. The climbing begins to kick in as you approach the Haystack Mountain Trail on the left. From here you will cross a dam and begin a much more aggressive climb. The terrain steepens considerably and the footing becomes much more eroded. Views begin to appear as you climb higher and top out at an open rock ledge.

11 minutes ago

Nice views from the top!! If u start from the jack rabbit trail located near whiteface lane you can find a herd path which will be a lot easier then the one from 86. Also McKenzie and haystack u can do it in one day. Cheers to winter hikers!!!

2 months ago

Enjoyed the hike. The upper part of the trail was slick due to recent snow and the small dam on the trail had no crossing point (had to cross on a fallen tree). Would like to do it when the leaves are in full color.

4 months ago

Beautiful hike and view at the top! The trail starts out pretty easily but drastically inclines as you approach the top. The dogs had a blast with good footing and lots of places to swim.

4 months ago

McKenzie and Haystack share the same trail head from Route 86 Ray Brook parking area until you reach the marked split in the trail - left Haystack - right McKenzie. Haystack was my 2nd mtn in Day 1 of my Saranac Lake 6er challenge. The trail to the summit of Haystack was fairly easy, muddy and rocky along a eroded trail until you reach the dam. Once over the dam the trail begins it's steep and steady climb to the summit. The views from the summit is only 180, but still nice as you look southward towards the High Peaks. Of the 6 Saranac Lake 6er mountains IMO I would rate this climb (last mile to the summit) as the 3rd toughest McKenzie and Ampersand being 1 and 2 followed by Haystack, Scarface, St Regis and Baker.

4 months ago

The first portion is very easy with some terrific views. The very last portion before reaching the summit is quite steep but doable. The view at the top is pretty nice but the views on the way up sort or overshadow it. It was a nice, fairly challenging hike and it's part of the Saranac 6 challenge that I'm doing.

5 months ago

First two miles are pretty easy, though I felt like we went down just as much as went up. Once you hit the last mile or so, you start to go up. It gets pretty steep, and it doesn't seem like it's going to end! Hike wasn't bad though, took myself and my dad about 2.5 hours to the top, 5 hours total round trip after sitting at the top for a bit and taking our time on the way down. There is not a bald summit, there is a rock ledge where we had lunch and you do get a great view, but of only one side of the mountain.

5 months ago

Great trail as rocks are not to tough on feet/ankles. Took about 4.5 hours with nice lunch break at top. Hardly any mud at all today as it hasn't been raining. Really enjoyed the hike as it was just what I was looking for exercise wise.

5 months ago

The first couple of miles were muddy with several puddles. It had rained all of the previous day. Most of the time, there were rocks you could step on to try to avoid the mud. Thankfully, the rocky ascent to the summit was mostly dry, otherwise it would have been tricky to find safe and dry footing. The last third was quite steep with some scrambling. It was steeper and more difficult than I thought it would be, but I am fairly new to hiking, so my opinion is probably different from more experienced hikers. I brought my small dog, but she is pretty agile and didn't have problems jumping up and down the rocks. She usually had to turn around and wait for me to find a way up. I did have to lift her up and down a few times over some steeper rocks and streams. It took me about 4 hours and 15 minutes round trip, but I took my time, especially on the steep descent, and let my dog stop and sniff frequently. Overall, it was a fun hike on a beautiful day with wonderful views at the top.

5 months ago

Great trail. Would definitely do it again.

Pretty gentle incline. Trail is incredibly muddy (2017). Great views at the top.

6 months ago

Muddy but worth it

6 months ago

Good views at the top!

6 months ago

Hiked up after a week of straight rain fall, and was still raining. Did the jackrabbit trail up McKenzie and took the herd path up to Haystack, but had no views because of thick fog. Motto for the day "just keep swimming," very wet.

6 months ago

All the rain this season has made this trail into periodic swampitude. Real steep last ascent. Waterfalls and crisscrossing streams. If you have bad balance bring trekking poles.

7 months ago

Mud made the hike more challenging on this date. Crossing dam in bare feet was quite therapeutic for our tired aching feet. Spectacular view at top.

8 months ago

Excellent rolling trail for 2ish miles and then a steep vertical climb. Be wary after a rain though, the trail was exceptionally muddy and slick, especially closer to the summit

9 months ago

absolutely beautiful hike. first 2 miles easy, last mile or so has a lot of gain, views are worth it! completed with my four year old son, took him all day to complete. beautiful waterfalls, look for plank to cross the brook at the final waterfall. my 4 year old is now halfway to a 6er!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

It's a moderate hike. The last one mile is a little steep. The summit requires snowshoes.

Monday, October 03, 2016

It was well worth the hike.... The view was amazing!!!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

a nice hike along the southern portion of Little Burn mountain and up the Little Ray Brook to the trail head. some historical sites from an old Sanitarium and reservoir...then the climb begins to get steep. a tuff little hill. It was pretty dry in August, but I can only imagine this slippery slope in the spring with the runoff -- could make this a very messy hike. The views from the top are mostly and southern overlooking the Ray Brook F.C.I, Ray Brook Pond and State Police Barracks and Scarface Mt., with a nice view of the High Peaks; and a beautiful eastern view of Mirror Lake, White face, Big Burn and Little John, and view of Dix and Giant . If you follow the Yellow pill DEC marker it will lead you north off the summit to the junction of Jackrabbit ski trail. ...overall a nice challenging 4 hour hike.

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