Haystack Mountain

This out and back hike is an outstanding hike for the entire family and a great introduction to the area for those new to hiking. (This Haystack should not be confused with the High Peak, Mount Haystack, located near Mount Marcy.)

Primary Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 73 and Route 86 in Lake Placid follow Route 86 toward Saranac Lake. Continue for roughly 5-miles to the trailhead for Haystack and McKenzie on the right. OR From the Intersection of Route 86 and Route 3 in Saranac Lake follow Route 86 toward Lake Placid. Continue through Ray Brook and locate the trailhead for Haystack and McKenzie on the left.

This 3.3 mile, one way, hike follows easy to very steep terrain. 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.

The views to the south are outstanding and the High Peaks in the background look especially big. Distances:

6.6 miles RT, some steep and eroded areas, Elevation: 2874’

Winter

Not to be confused with the High Peak Haystack, this little version offers a nice punch for the effort as well. From the trailhead start a mellow hike through an attractive forest and swing hard north and follow closer to an attractive babbling stream on your left. The climbing begins to kick in as you approach the Haystack Mountain Trail on the left. Now cross a dam and begin a much more aggressive climb toward Haystack Mountain. The terrain steepens considerably and the footing becomes much more difficult and slippery at times. Views begin to appear as you climb higher and top out at an open rock ledge. The views to the south on a clear day of the High Peaks is one to soak up and enjoy. 

Elevation: 

2874 feet

Ascent: 

1200 Feet

Distance Round Trip:

6.6 miles

Approximate Time Round Trip:

  • Families with Kids:    4 to 5 hours
  • Experienced Snowshoers:    3 to 4hours
  • Out of Shape Snowshoers:    4 to 5 hours

Trailhead Location: 

From the intersection of Route 86 and Route 73 in Lake Placid follow Route 86 toward Saranac Lake. About 1-mile from the Lake Placid is the massive trailhead for the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness on the right. 

Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Three: While not overly tough, it is a bit long and steep near the top. 

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