Sawteeth has possibly one of the best views in the park, not because it’s a bald summit, but its placement within the High Peaks Region sets it apart from many others.
This hike is accessed through a conservation easement with the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). A parking reservation is needed from May 1 - October 31. Although it is called a “parking reservation,” everyone will need a reservation to access hikes leaving from AMR, whether you drove yourself, rode a bike, got dropped-off, or walked. These reservations can be made online via the AMR website. For more information, please read these FAQs or contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
How to get there
This is part of the St Huberts parking area/trailhead. Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue through Keene and Keene Valley and into Saint Huberts. Continue to the trailhead for the AMR on the right, directly across the road for the Roaring Brook Falls Trail to Giant Mountain. This is approximately 3.0 miles from the outskirts of Keene Valley. This approach is on land owned by the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) over which there are foot trail easements.
By the numbers
- Elevation: 4,100 feet
- Elevation gain: 2,975 feet
- Distance, one way: 6.9 miles via the Scenic Trail
- Sawteeth is High Peak #35
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
Sawteeth has a wooded summit with one perfectly positioned lookout through the trees. While not the most aggressive summit to climb, this high peak can be a challenge if you choose the Scenic Trail as part of your route. Sawteeth has two main routes to the summit, but can also be climbed as part of a loop with Gothics or even with Colvin if you descend to the Warden's Camp.
Below you can read about the routes to summit Sawteeth, but for more in depth information we recommend you pick up a guide book to the region. There are also many great guide services in the Lake Placid Region that are experts on the High Peaks and would love to get you there in a safe and enjoyable fashion.
From the parking lot, you will initially have to follow a dirt road to a paved road next to a golf course. At 0.5 miles from the parking area, go left and down between two tennis courts on Lake Road Way to get to the gate into the AMR. The AMR is a private property area with recreational easements, special rules apply to use and those are posted at the gate. (NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED.) After the gate, you will need to hike the dirt access road for a bit over 3.0 miles to Lower Ausable Lake. This dirt road is referred to as Lake Road and is just that. The road climbs steadily to the dam. At the dam, cross the bridge below the dam and follow the signs for Gothics and Sawteeth. Just past the dam you will come to an intersection with the Scenic Trail going left. Most hikers making a loop choose to ascend via the shorter trail and then return via the considerably steeper and rougher Scenic Trail. Just beyond the Scenic Trail junction, a short side trail to Rainbow Falls goes to the right and is a worthwhile side trip. Continuing past this junction, start a steady moderate to steep climb. This hike will bring you through an attractive forest, past the top of Rainbow Falls. You will continue for 1.6 miles of moderate to steep climbing to the intersection with the trail right to Pyramid Peak and Gothics. Take a left here and continue for 0.5 miles up a steep grade on eroded footing to the summit of Sawteeth.
Use the secondary route below for an excellent loop opportunity. This route is the same as the primary to the junction just past the dam. This is a 7.4 mile hike, one way, with a mixture of terrain along a very demanding and steep trail. From the intersection with the primary trail take a left and start along what is called the Scenic Trail. This route will require the climber to use ladders and scrambling over very steep sections of open rock. The rewards are plenty, but each one is earned.
The parking lot of the AMR is plowed in winter. It might be an attractive option to ski in Lake Road and then switch to snowshoes to climb Sawteeth. Due to steepness and winter conditions, microspikes, snowshoes, and crampons are highly recommended.