The thirty-fifth highest peak in the Adirondacks Sawteeth is often sited as the best photographer's peak in the area. What this means is there is actually something to photograph along the way, such as very beautiful and high Rainbow Falls, besides the normally thick bush and when one gets to the end there is a very good view as well.
Sitting near to but off the Great Range the peak offers a great view of almost every peak in that range. Most impressive is Pyramid, which is not considered one the 46 peaks since it is to close to Gothics. The silliness of this rather arbitrary rule is quite obvious when you actually see Pyramid from Sawteeth. It stands out and is most likely one of the more dramatic peaks in the Adirondacks. It does not even appear marked as a peak on most maps.
The normal route is to come from the E through the Adirondack Mountain Reserve down the Lake Road and then up from Ausable Lake. One can make a circle loop up either the “New or Gothics” Trail or continue down the lake a little to the “Old Trail” or as it is also called the “Scenic” Trail because of the number of detours it takes to lookouts along the way. The new Trail is much steeper but much shorter.
A good moderate hike for the day as the climbing is short and the walk in and out is easy but long (over 6 miles round trip). A good high peak for kids and older people if the Scenic Trail is taken in and the New Trail out.
Really the best Peak if your aim is to photograph the mountains in general as it has great views, lookouts and most of the different vegetation zones along the way.
The peak can also be reached from the N by coming over from Gothics and Pyramid.
Hikers or climbers approaching any of the peaks that branch off the Lake Road should be aware of the parking restrictions in the area.
The designated hikers’ parking lot is just off rt. 73 opposite the parking lot for the Roaring Brook Trail. This spot is 3 mi. S of the High Peaks sign in Keen or 5.9 mi N of the junction of Rts. 9 nd 73. From here it is about 0.5 of a mile hike W along the gravel road and past the golf course to the start of the Lake Road and the trialhead.
There is room for about 30-40 cars but on busy weekends it does fill early and there is no parking allowed anywhere else in the area except at designated sites.
Please remember that for most of the approach to any of the peaks in this area is through the Adirondack Mountain Reserve which is private land please see the red tape section for further details.
Apart form the normal restrictions for the Adirondacks the following applies;
Adirondack Mountain Reserve despite its name is not public land but a private club on which we hikers and climbers enjoy the privileged to cross. Over the years these rights have come and gone but fortunately in 1978 the State of New York bought the high land surrounding the Club and with it got a permanent public easements for foot travel over some of the trails on AMR land. However, as our part of the deal while on or within 100m of ARM land the following rules apply
1) No camping, fishing or hunting
2) No off-trail travel including rock climbing or bushwhacking along the shores of the Lower Ausable Lake.
3) No boating or swimming, including portable boats brought by the public
4) NO DOGS or other pets are permitted
There is also no dropping off of hikers at the club all non club members must begin their trip at a designated hikers' parking lot.
Rumor has it there is a gate troll who is very rough on hikers. My suggestion is to approach with caution, bearing a highly salted snack treat to appease it.
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.
When To Climb
Any season is good. Early fall (Aug-Sept) one gets a good view of the fall colours.
In winter the New or Gothics Trail can be very icey
Except as noted in the Red tape section the same rules as all the other Adirondack peaks apply.
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)
The ragged serrated profile of this peak when seen form Ausable Lake suggested the obvious name of Sawteeth to the locals. This serrated effect would have been double in the early days because all surrounding peaks were clear-cut to the timberline. Making for what I would guess an even more striking profile.
This peak was and still is mistakenly called Sawtooth by some (especially me) so much so that this was the name the 1953 USGS map had for it.
This peak is also sometimes confused with the Sawtooth Mountains. A minor grouping of mountains NE of the Seward Range that have no major or even named peaks.