Haystack Mountain (not the High Peak)

Haystack Mountain (not the High Peak)

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 44.32061°N / 74.05404°W
Additional Information County: Essex
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 2878 ft / 877 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Haystack Mt. (not to be confused with the 4960 ft Mt. Haystack) offers a very rewarding view and has become a popular destination owing to its easy access from a good parking area between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

The trail begins at a turnout on Rt. 86, w.6 miles east of DEC Headquarters in Ray Brook and 1.4 miles west of the junctions with Old Military Road. The trail is marked with a DEC sign and blue DEC markers.

From the highway, the trail crosses a small knoll and dips to cross a small wet area after 100 yards before swinging left and beginning a gradual climb to a crest at 0.3 miles in an open hardwood forest. Dipping slightly, the trail climbs gradually to a seocond crest and soon crosses a stream at 0.5 miles. Swinging left after crossing the stream, the trail slabs gently upward along the base of low ledges until it begins a short, moderate descent,the trail swings right and continues to descend gently to a small brook at 1.8 miles, where the old route (abandoned in 1984) comes in from the left.

Now following an old road, the trail is practically level for a few hundred yards before beginning a gradual to moderate climb along the left bank of Little Ray Brook. Passing some old foundations on the right at 2.2 miles, the trail reaches a junction at 2.4 miles with a red-marked trail to the right that leads to McKenzie Mountain.

Bearing left and continuing to follow blue markers, the Haystack Mt. trail crosses a small brook in 25 yards and then Little Ray Brook just below an old dam in another 50 yards. From this dam the trail begins to climb a series of steep pitches interspersed with short stretches of easier going. At 3.0 miles the trails begins the final pitch, going up a steep gully to the left of some cliffs to emerge on the first ledge at 3.2 miles. After a slight dip, the trail continues to the summit at 3.3 miles, where there are good views from Whiteface Mt. to Mt. Marcy, Algonquin Peak, the Seward Range, and many of the larger lakes to the west.

Rt. 86 to summit (3.3 miles)
Ascent (1240 ft)

**Overview used from ADK's 13th Edition of the High Peaks Region book

Getting There

This particular trailhead is quite simple to find. It is located right off Route 86, between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. It is actually part of the McKenzie Mountain trailhead and parking area.

Red Tape

No fees to climb or park for any of the trails leaving the parking lot.


There are many little cabin rentals near by and numerous hotels, both in Saranac and Placid. As always, backwoods camping is permitted with normal DEC regulations to be followed.

External Links

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