Mount Haystack Trail

HARD 17 reviews
#16 of 42 trails in

Mount Haystack Trail is a 15.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Keene Valley, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

15.9 miles
3,825 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


cross country skiing


nature trips





wild flowers



A challenging hike in any season, but particularly so in winter. Haystack is the third highest peak in New York State. From the trailhead, hike along the trail that follows the north side of Johns Brook. At Bushnell Falls there are two shelters and the trail crosses to the south side of Johns Brook and continues on to Slant Rock where there is an additional shelter. This is the last shelter before the two Haystacks. The Shorey's Short Cut trail then heads steeply upward and intersects with the Range Trail. Once on the Range Trail it rises quickly and peaks just as you reach Little Haystack. From Little Haystack you can begin to see Haystack, but before the final gentle ascent to Haystack, there is a serious step down to the Haystack ridge trail. This step is about 20 feet, it very exposed, especially in winter, as the terrain drops away quickly into the valley to the east. In winter this area is very icy and requires some competence with an ice axe and crampons. After descending the step the route to the Haystack summit is clear. The return trip simply retraces the outbound route.

7 days ago

I wanted to hike Haystack a bit different than just a direct route from the Garden parking area. I like to avoid out-and-backs as much as possible so I hiked in from the ADK Loj around Little Marcy, went up Haystack, then exited via the Phelps trail-John Brooks Lodge-Garden Parking lot. Total distance was 17.2 miles- Track uploaded in recordings.

Marcy trail was so FULL of hikers all going up to Marcy, it felt like a pedestrian walking path. Once exiting the Marcy trail I was alone until I hit Little Haystack. Great views and cool little scramble over both Haystacks. Better view of the Panther Gorge than Marcy has.

In my opinion the full Phelps trail was much easier descending than going down through the Shorey's Shortcut- having done that 1 week ago with Saddleback and Basin. The shortcut had more deadfall in it.

1 month ago

This is the shortest, most direct route up Haystack. The trail is lovely and easy for the first 7 or so miles then gets quite tricky with water, mud, ice, etc for the last 1.5 miles.

9 months ago

Me and some friends had the courage to take on Haystack as well as Marcy in the same day and were rewarded with fantastic views from both. Would not recommend for inexperienced hikers, but if you’re looking for a challenge then this is the hike for you.

11 months ago

Long tough hike but well worth it. It was crazy windy up top but the views in every direction were outstanding. Felt like you can reach out and touch Marcy. 12/46 for me and I'll definitely have to do that one again

11 months ago

This was my second time hiking this nice peak. The views are excellent from the summit, it was just windy and cold up there for the month of August.

11 months ago

Beautiful hike with beautiful views. We spent the night at slant rock and hiked Haystack to see the sunrise. The trail is amazing, following a river almost the whole time. A bit muddy but definitely worthed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

An amazing hard hike but the views are well worth it!! Completed the trail in early March with snowshoes and crampons. Broke up the hike by staying at Grace Camp for two nights....well worth it. Had an incredible view of Mt. Marcy and Little Mary with stunning blue skies all around!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Long and rewarding dayhike.
Took 10 hours to complete.View from the summit worth the long hike.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tough one. Couldn't finish it because of different factors. I should have factored in the leaves that hides the trail and the rocks. That slowed us quite a bit. Didn't think they're would be so much ice getting close to the top so I didn't have the proper equipment. And to top it all we started an hour later than we should and only had one headlight to come back.

That being said, I loved it and will do it again next Spring. This is very challenging and they're is no way I'm gonna let that mountain get the better of me. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do real Hiking.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

One of the best hikes to one of the best mountains in the Daks. Awesome views of the great range, Mount Marcy, Panther Gorge, and the whole High Peaks Wilderness. Seven miles in, you reach a false summit on the Great Range trail (which is higher than the majority of the High Peaks actually) from which you can see Little Haystack and Haystack looming before you. Both are exposed and rocky so great alpine scrambles with superb views for nearly a mile.

6 days ago

1 month ago

8 months ago

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016