Saddleback is often climbed along the Great Range Trail with Lower Wolf Jaw, Upper Wolf Jaw, Armstrong and Gothics or Haystack and Basin. The views are outstanding, the climbs are packed with memories and the routes are so rugged and demanding, that you can’t help but have a great time. This summit offers near 360 degree views. There is one very demanding section on the backside of Saddleback known as the Saddleback Cliffs. This short section calls for all hands on deck and a lack of fear for exposure. The route described below is the most direct route and while steep does not involve any cliff climbing.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 17 on the list.
This is a 7.1 mile hike, one way with a mixture of terrain. From the Garden Parking Area you will be hiking along a portion of rolling hills till you drop steeply into Johns Brook Valley at 3.0 miles. Making a right into the valley you will continue a bit further to Johns Brook Lodge. Just past Johns Brook Lodge is a trail on the left that drops down to cross Johns Brook and the Ore Bed Brook, this can be tricky in high water situations.
This short section of trail will bring you to five corners. The Ore Bed Trail that leads up to the Great Range Trail is the one to the right. Straight is Wolf Jaw Notch, angling left is Short Job, left is back to the Garden along the Southside Trail. The Ore Bed Trail is very straight forward but a bit demanding. The first portion is along a well-used trail, but the upper portion where it gets steeper has received a facelift by Hurricane Irene. The upper portion is not a slide. Steps and ladders have been put into place to make the trek a bit safer and easier. The top of the Ore Bed Trail leaves you between Gothics (left) and Saddleback (right). Head right and continue a steep climb over a false summit of Saddleback to the true summit of Saddleback.
Primary Trailhead: This route leaves from The Garden in Keene Valley; there is a small parking fee at the trailhead. Also, parking is limited and fills up early on most weekend mornings. Most weekends there is a shuttle bus from the overflow parking at Marcy Field north of Keene Valley, but make sure to be able to return before the bus stops running for the day. Leave Lake Placid on Rte 73, continue through Keene and into Keene Valley and turn right after the Ausable Inn. It is 1.6 miles up Adirondack St. and Johns Brook Lane, finishing with 1/4 mile of narrow, dirt road.
Elevation: 4,515 feet
Header photo By PhacopsRana - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3088641