A moderate hike that is closer to Lake Placid and the High Peaks than the other 6ers, Haystack has beautiful views of Whiteface and Marcy, as well as some other nearby 46ers. With a trail that meanders past some brooks and streams, Haystack is a perfect hike for bringing along some canine companions.
Photo by Alyssa Devlin
Haystack and McKenzie mountains begin from the same trailhead and share the first 2.4 miles of trail. Moderately flat at first, the trail weaves through a forest with some wet areas, opening up into a hardwood forest after a quarter mile. The trail then begins rolling upwards for nearly a mile before descending gently along a ridge for less than half a mile. At 1.5 miles the trail opens up to an area with a small lookout. The trail will descend another quarter mile before beginning a moderate climb that continues along until the 2.4 mile mark, where the trail to McKenzie splits off to the right. Continue a little further over an old concrete dam, a good resting point before the steeper sections. After passing the dam, the hike has some short steep pitches interspersed with more rolling sections for another .9 miles to the top at 3.3 miles. While the view is not a full 360 degree view, you do have a nice view of some nearby lakes and some of the High Peaks in the distance.
Coming from Saranac Lake, you will follow route 86 through Ray Brook, coming to a parking area on your left shortly after passing a golf course on your right. Coming from Lake Placid, you will follow 86 towards Ray Brook, reaching the parking area on your right, 1.4 miles from the intersection between route 86 and Old Military Rd.
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Alyssa Devlin is a freelance writer who grew up hiking and skiing the ‘dacks and is now based in Washington, DC. She spends her days fighting the heat with daydreams of swimming in cool Adirondack lakes. You can find her at alyssadevlin.com.