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Old 09-10-2016, 11:26 AM   #1
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An "easy" way to do Haystack?

I'm looking for a not-too-difficult way to do Haystack. I am thinking of camping on the Phelps trail just beyond Johns Brook Lodge. Following the Phelps trail out and back, this would mean a return hike of about 10.5 miles and an ascent of about 2800 feet.
How hard would this hike be? How would it compare to, say, hiking Algonquin from the Adirondack Lodge?
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:41 PM   #2
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Algonquin is easier.

For one one thing, Haystack from JBL is still farther away than Algonquin from ADK Loj. Plus you have to go up and over Horse Hill (a bump) and Little Haystack (bigger bump) before you begin the final ascent to the summit of Haystack. There are no intermediate bumps on the way to Algonquin. The south side of Little Haystack is steep (but short).
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:30 PM   #3
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But I think you're right that camping up the Phelps Trail beyond JBL would be about the easiest way to reach Haystack, breaking it up from a long day hike into segments.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:45 AM   #4
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It's 18 miles from the Garden to Haystack and back.

From the Garden:
  • The first designated campsites south of JBL are at ~4 miles.
  • The next ones at Bushnell Falls are at ~5.5 miles.
  • The last ones at Slant Rock are at ~7 miles.

If you're planning to take two days to hike to Haystack, your first day consists of a short walk along gentle terrain, 4 to 7 miles depending on your chosen campsite. That's a mere 2-3 hours for a day-hiker, maybe a bit more for someone carrying 30+ pounds of overnight gear.

The following day is the ascent to the summit, descent to collect the overnight gear, and return to the Garden. It's 11-14 miles (depending on campsite location).

Alternately, swap the order of things. On the first day, head to your preferred designated campsite, pitch your tent, then continue to the summit. Return to camp and then pack out the next day, at your leisure.

FWIW, for a day-hiker in good shape, a conservative estimate for Haystack (in good weather) would be about 9 hours. Allen is the same distance and takes about the same time.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
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A couple of years ago a group of us spent a few nights at JBL. On one day, one group did Haystack and the other did Marcy and Haystack. Both left JBL after breakfast and made it back for dinner.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:10 PM   #6
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My wife and a friend of hers felt Haystack was too long to tackle as a day-hike so they camped near JBL. After, she said they could have just as easily done it as a day-hike.

My favorite way to do Haystack is to go from the HPIC, up the Van Ho to the Phelps trail then head for Haystack from there. On the way out I usually drop my pack at the Phelps-Van Ho junction and do a quick jaunt up Marcy. This way doesn't save elevation gain or loss in spite of the higher trailhead (aprox. 700 feet higher IIRC) but it's shorter and I prefer the trail. The trail from Slant Rock to the Phelps-Range Trail connector junction is a tough, bouldery trail.
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Old 09-12-2016, 05:06 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info, guys.
Trail Boss, I'm actually planning to take three days for this hike (including a four hour drive on each end). As an only moderately fit 59 year old hiker, this will be plenty of hiking for me - in fact, a bit of a stretch.
I did the same thing to hike Gothics a couple of weeks ago (easier of course) and had a great time.
I really don't mind taking my time. I'm not an aspiring 46er. My favourite Adirondack hikes are not even on the 46er list, though I've done Marcy, Algonquin, Giant, Gothics and Cascade. I do mean to do the most beautiful of the 46er hikes, and I am happy that it is taking a long time to do it at my pace.

Last edited by Kevin7; 09-12-2016 at 05:17 PM..
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