View Full Version : Best route to dayhike Haystack, Basin and Saddleback

05-10-2004, 08:24 AM
Planning on dayhiking the Great Range. Would the best (read "quickest", "most doable")approach be from The Garden or AMR?

Any details (times, best approach direction is appreciated).


05-10-2004, 08:40 AM
Can't give you times - It's definitely a pretty long day - but my recommendation would be to go in at the Garden, up to Bushnell Falls and Slant Rock. Doing Haystack first gives you the option of bailing back down via Slant Rock if the weather's bad or you're beat, or you can do the loop back over Basin and Saddleback, then down Orebed Brook.
Hope this helps. Have fun!

05-10-2004, 08:53 AM
I have done Basin and Saddleback from the Garden via the Orebed Brook Trail. However, the descents of Saddleback and Basin took a lot out of me, so I bailed down Shorey short cut instead of doing Haystack as planned. However, for the adventurous, it is definitely doable. Don't recall the times.

05-10-2004, 09:55 AM
I think Saddleback->LWJ is doable from the Garden if you get an early start. If you want to really give yourself a leg up, you can stay overnight at JBL. I personally would save Haystack and Basin for their own hikes, because they are spectacular.

05-10-2004, 10:10 AM
I would agree with percious, we did the Wolfjaws, Armstrong and Gothics from JBL last year, it ended up being about a 10-11 hour day. We were not going as fast as I would have liked, though.

The worst part was the descent of the Orebed Brook trail. Steep, wet, knee-pounding. Man, that was bad.

Friends of mine did the three you're looking at from the Ausable side, I don't know the times or trail names, but check it out. It's an option, anyway.

05-10-2004, 10:17 AM
I made the the trip last fall as oldsmores described it, and it took me ten hours. I hiked at a fairly brisk pace, stopped at Bushnell for some pics and spent about a half hour on each peak. I'd stay away from the Shorey shortcut trail if possible. I've never been on it but I have heard nothing favorable about it. I'd definitely do the CCW route, and pick a good day to hike because the views are tremendous! Don't carry too heavy a pack 'cause there's some pretty serious rock climbing (about Gr. 5.4) to be found on Basin and Saddleback, if you've never had any rock climbing experience. In fact ski poles and crampons wouldn't be a bad idea this time of year to be on the safe side, but I doubt you'll use them because the sun dries the rocks pretty well. I wouldn't stop at Slant Rock for too long either. There was a pretty big black bear there last year and she (assumed "she" because of the size) wasn't taking no for an answer.
I just proof read this and it sounds kinda scarey, it's not. It's one of the best hikes I've done in the ADKs, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Enjoy!

05-10-2004, 11:15 AM
jBrown. I did the range as a solo 2 summers ago, in the counter-clockwise direction. I would say this is preferable, because the descent from LWJ is not as bad as the Ore Bed Trail. I think i did the whole loop in about 8 hours from JBL. I don't usually wear a watch out there, but I had hours to spend swimming in JB when i got back. Great way to sooth sore muscles.

Going counter-clockwise, you hit Gothics second, which is nice, because its mostly downhill from there. I couldnt imagine doing the descent from gothics after all that hiking.


05-10-2004, 12:30 PM
Silverback - I am a slow hiker, here's my notes from the last time I did all 3 - June 7, 1997, took 11.5 hours and a lot of that was postholing at the hihger Els.....

Hiked into Howard LT (By JBL) Friday night and started out at 6:30a on Saturday - Took the Phelps Trail up thru the Blue connector Route to Haystack -
Took 4.5 hours, most of the way above Slant Rock was spent
busting thru snow on the trail up to my hips...
Haystack was dead calm - hot, not a lick of breeze. The black flies were swarming all over up there. I was up there about
10 mins, but I couldn't take the black flies and came back down.

Coming down was more of a controlled slide than anything else.

Started up from Snobird site around 12:30 and made it to
the summit around 1:30-1:45. The views were
the best I have yet seen..
The real fear/fun/adventure started in coming
down Basin - Just before the first turn onto the Ledge was terrifying - I wasn't sure if this was really the trail - It led out into what looked like a 1,000' drop. I then turned on the ledge and felt more comfortable. This didn't last long, though, I started down the steep slope in the corn snow and lost my footing and started sliding on my back - I must have slid for about 10-15 seconds. I was trying to dig my elbow in and kick with my feet - No Avail. I thought I was gonna go over the edge when my foot caught a root and twisted me around where my arm snagged on a branch and stopped me. A terrifying experience I must have
slid 60 - 70 feet- All of this was done, by the way, to a full house
sitting on the summit of Saddleback.
Took me a couple of minutes to regain my composure and keep going.
I then started up Saddleback, I made it up wihout incident, just a coupla hairy "stop and pretend you have
protection" moments.
I made it to Saddleback by 3p and started down.

The amount of water coming off Gothics col was incredible - It was very tricky, though, as sheets of snow and ice gave way beneath you causing extreme care. I made it back to the LT by 6p with a short stop at Gothics LT.

05-10-2004, 01:39 PM
Hi again,
After reading Rick's post I'm thinking maybe I was right, maybe it was a little scary! I remember thinking that at the time, with a big smile on my face.:D

05-10-2004, 02:19 PM
I'd stay away from the Shorey shortcut trail if possible. I've never been on it but I have heard nothing favorable about it.

I have, and I will never refer to it as anything other than it's christened name "SHOREY STEEP CUT". certainly worse from the Slant Rock side headed south. 800 feet straight up some nameless knob, only to descend 300 to the Range trail.

I have a buddy that swears "If he ever meets this Shorey dude, he's gonna kick the ever-lovin crap outta him".:D

btw, very doable

05-11-2004, 02:39 AM
Back in 1999, atop Saddleback, we met a group of young girls (I think from Camp Treetops) led by a few older teens who had started at Keene Valley at 4:45 a.m., hiked all the way up Haystack, and were in the process of following the Great Range all the way back to Rooster Comb and down to the road where they would be picked up by their bus at 8 p.m.

A long day, but I assume they made it; I never heard otherwise. I don't think I could do it, but if you're in good shape...

05-11-2004, 02:20 PM
I'd stay away from the Shorey shortcut trail if possible. I've never been on it but I have heard nothing favorable about it.

I guess I don't understand the bad press that this trail gets. By ADK standards I thought it was not bad. No mud pits to wallow thru, no cables to dangle from, no rock faces to scramble down and easy to follow. There were also interesting views back to Saddleback. I understand it apparently needlessly climbs some nubble, but so what? I thought that's what we are in the mountains for... :rolleyes:

05-11-2004, 02:56 PM
No mud pits to wallow thru, no cables to dangle from, no rock faces to scramble down [/B][/QUOTE]

That's what make a trail fun, isn't it!:D

John H Swanson
05-12-2004, 08:10 AM
It's a long hike, but a nice one. Garden to Slant Rock, Up to Haystack, back over basin and saddleback, out the orbed brook trail. Do it only in good weather. Strart very early. Bring a headlamp.

Evaluate your time when you are on Haystack and determine from there if you want to go on or not. You should be on Haystack by 11am.

Yeah the Shorey shortcut isn't a nice trail, but everyone that hikes it usually hits it at the end of the day. The extra elevation gain is a pain, so keep going and do Basin and Saddle back instead, unless the weather changed and you have t-storms.


05-12-2004, 08:11 AM
I hiked the Shorey Shortcut once. It was a difficult path after a long day of hiking. (slant rock->marcy->skylight->panther gorge->haystack->basin->slant rock) One thing that I remember that I was so exhausted I could not appreciate the beauty of this trail. It was definately rugged. However, I vaguely remember knotty pines and large erratics. Spectacular. But like I said, I couldn't appreciate it, because it was the end of a long day.