Mount Haystack and the Johns Brook Lodge

Saturday was a great day to tackle a high peak! Chris was visiting from Ohio this past weekend (and also defended his dissertation and now officially has his doctorate! Yay Chris!) and to make things more exciting we also had a hike on tap. Our friends Meredith and John wanted to hike a high peak (they have already done all 46 and want to hike some of them again!) and stay in the ADK Mountain Club’s John’s Brook Lodge for a night. When they asked if we were interested I said of course!

The JBL is a lodge located 3.5 miles from the Garden Parking lot in Keene Valley and is a popular place for hikers to set up a base camp for hiking the high peaks. We knew to pack lightly since it is a 3.5 mile hike from the parking lot into the camp, so we brought just the basics for an overnight: sleeping bags, pillow cases and a few other things to drop off there Saturday morning before our hike. The JBL also provides all of your meals during the summer, so it’s a pretty sweet deal if you want to do some really long, strenuous hikes and want someplace nice to stay other than a lean-to or a tent.


We stayed in the small 4 person bunk! They provide you will a pillow and a wool blanket, you bring the rest!


We dropped off some stuff into our room and off we went to hike Mount Haystack, the third highest peak in New York!



Haystack was about 5.5 miles from the Lodge, so in total, we hiked about 9 miles to get to the summit. The trail up was very enjoyable and time went by really fast! We even ran into some summit stewards who gave us some information on the rare alpine vegetation on the summit! The last half mile or so is completely exposed, with some great view of the high peaks, and the neighboring Mount Marcy!



With only a little bit left until the summit, we got some great views of Little Haystack and Mount Haystack, it looks deceiving!





Views from the top.


11th High Peak!



We enjoyed a quick snack on the summit, but a dark cloud rolled in and it got very cold, so we didn’t stop for long! We had a 5.5 mile trek back to the JBL where a nice hot dinner was waiting. We were determined not to miss the 6:30 PM dinner bell.  The last few miles felt like they took FOREVER. The big rocks were starting to hurt my feet, and I just wanted to sit after 10 hours of hiking. Think about it…I was hiking for longer than a day at work. Crazy.

Finally we saw the lodge!! We got cleaned up a bit, and sat down to an awesome dinner of BBQ chicken and cornbread. There was even home made ice cream and brownies for dessert. It was pretty amazing, considering the JBL staff hikes in all the food a few times a week.


The next day it was pouring when we got up. We had breakfast of  pancakes, bacon and fruit, and then made our way back to the car in the rain, which was okay since all we had to do was drive home.

Mount Haystack
High Peak Rank: 3
Elevation: 4960′
Ascent: 3570′
10.8 mi RT from the JBL
17.8 mi RT from Garden Parking lot

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  1. Such a fun hike! How nice it was to sleep in the JBL and only hear the thunderstorm outside, rather than sleeping in a tent in it!!

  2. Looks like a great trip. Haystack is still one I need to tackle.

    Did you enjoy staying at the Lodge? I have stayed in lean-to’s on their property but never at the lodge itself. I’m curious how you liked it.

    1. Yeah, I liked the Lodge! It was really nice to have a nice place to sleep rather than outside in a tent, when it was storming that night! Also beats driving home after such a long hike.

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