As you have to pass over Saddleback to reach Basin, this mountain is usually climbed in conjunction with Saddleback and also often Haystack as well, depending on how adventurous the group of climbers is. If you include all three peaks it is a long day, but well worth it for the expansive and unique views you get from each of the peaks.
Distance: 15.2 miles round-trip from the Garden (if hiking only as far as Basin)
Elevation: 4,827 ft
Ascent: 2,870 ft from Johns Brook
Your hike will begin from the Garden, hiking 3.1 rolling miles towards Johns Brook Lodge – at 3 miles you will pass a campsite, taking a left at a junction shortly following the campsite. This left will lead you to the DEC Interior Outpost, at which point you will pick up the Orebed Brook trail. Follow this trail another 3.1 miles to Gothics Col, at which point you will reach the intersection with the Range Trail. Take a right on the range trail to continue up the side of Saddleback, with great views of the slides on Gothics. The trail levels out briefly on the east summit of Saddleback, then dropping down into the “saddle” between the mountain’s two peaks before ascending again another half mile to Saddleback’s actual summit.
After enjoying the view from Saddleback, you can continue on to Basin by following the trail sharply to the right along a ledge. Turn left at the end of the ledge, carefully watching your footing as the trail descends steeply over ledges to a col after 0.3 miles. Here the trail begins ascending again, growing increasingly steep over the next quarter mile. The trail follows along for another quarter mile, crossing another ledge before reaching the summit of Basin.
If you’re driving into Keene Valley from Lake Placid, there is a DEC sign after the post office on the right, at Adirondack Street. Take this right; the road will turn into Johns Brook Lane and you follow it 1.5 miles until you reach the Garden Parking Lot. If the parking lot is full, you will have to park in Keene Valley and walk the 1.5 miles along the road or park before Keene Valley at Marcy Field (coming from Keene it will be on the right, shortly before you pass the Mountaineer) and take a shuttle from there to the Garden. You should do your research before coming because the shuttle schedule changes seasonally and as of 2016 only runs on weekends.