Number nine in order of height in the Adirondacks; Basin sits in the middle of what is considered the most spectacular stretch of trail in the area. This trail has many sections of steep rock, crosses a good deal of open ground and is very treacherous when wet or ice-covered. In winter the odd cornice is known to form along this ridge if conditions are right. There are a number of narrow ledges that have to be traversed with some exposure and as such extreme caution must be taken in these sections as any fall would be fatal.
Not a traverse you would want to do with backpacks much better to take one of the many alternate routes around this section of trail and do this section as a day trip or hike it in reverse direction from Haystack to Gothics E to W with packs.
As a peak, it stands out quite dramatically with a great bare and rugged area on its W side. One also has a great view of Gothics, Marcy, and the W side of Haystack. Unfortunately, trees obscure the view to the S.
While on the trail keep an eye out for the large bolt placed in the rock by Verplanck Colvin during the 1876 survey near the E side of the summit.
Basin sits right in the middle of the Great Range so it is accessible from at least four main trailheads. The normal route is to start at the trail junction between Gothics and Saddleback and head W or one can start at the other end and head E.
The normal route is to start from the Gardens at Keen up the Phelps trail, to the Interior Outpost and from there, either go directly up to the E start of the trail, by taking the Ore Bed Trail, or going around to the W start of the trail by continuing down the Phelps trail.
Another popular route is to start at Adirondack Loj and up the Van Hoevenberg Trail taking the cutoff for Haystack just before the treeline at Marcy. Parking is available at both trailheads for a small fee but the Gardens lot is small and fills up quickly. There is a shuttle bus from Keen Valley Airport to the Gardens that has been running over the past few years in the summer.
Other options include approaching from Elk Lake and heading in on the Elk Lake Marcy trail (go to the Dix mountain page for exact directions for this trailhead) or through the many trails of Adirondack Mountain Reserve see the page on Dial or Nipple Top for exact directions to this trailhead.
Parking can be a problem at the Gardens in Keen. Make sure you read the red tape sections for the Adirondack Mountian Reserve and Elk Lake areas if you are starting from either of these two places.
As of June 30th, 2001, all parties regardless of size in the Eastern Zone (High Peaks) of the Park must fill in and possess a self-issuing "trip ticket," which may be obtained at the trailhead. People have been fined and turned around for not having one and at the more popular trailheads, the Ranger on duty will not let you pass without one. This can cause some delays in getting onto the trail.
Any time of year is good.
Winter can be a lot of fun because the area is well exposed quite dramatic.
Same as for all Adirondack mountains.
1) No Camping above 4,000 feet
2) No camping withing 150 feet of a stream or other water source except at a designated campsite.
3) No soap or washing withing 150 feet of water
4) Pack it in Pack it out is the rule for garbage
5) Only dead and down wood can be used for fires and set in a proper fire pit. ( local etiquette is to use a stove and not a fire)
John Brooks Lodge has a few spaces available during the summer as well as meals, but don't count on getting in.
Adirondack loj is available all year round but is usually always fully booked.
Looking from the peak to the S, one sees that Upper Ausable Lake and the valley to the SE form an almost perfect basic with this peak as its apex. Hence, the name for this Mountain.