COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Trail Run Project Logo

McKenzie Mountain & Haystack Mountain



11.9 mile 19.1 kilometer loop
74% Runnable


Ascent: 3,811' 1,162 m
Descent: -3,811' -1,161 m
High: 3,861' 1,177 m
Low: 1,680' 512 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 68% (34°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Mike Biolsi

Two of the Saranac Lake Sixers, McKenzie & Haystack, make for a great double dip.

Mike Biolsi

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall


For a long day of running with some uphill workouts, try this dual-peak run. The first peak, Haystack, crosses water and challenges you with some small rock scrambles. The second peak, McKenzie, has very steep inclines with large boulders and challenges, including a few false summits. Both offer beautiful views from the summit. If time is short, you can trim this run to conquer only one of the two.

Runner Notes

This trail is very wet and muddy, so bring shoes with deep lugs.


The DEC sign at Rt. 86 in Ray Brook (located between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid) shows this as a trail to Haystack Mountain (3.3 miles) and McKenzie Mountain (5.3) and is marked with blue trail markers from the beginning of the run. This difficult terrain is usually wet and slippery, making the footing difficult.

The shared part of the trail climbs gently, beginning at an elevation of 1670’. You'll run along (and in) a brook for the first few miles. Changing from pine needles to rock, the trail increases in roughness as it progresses. Many of the man-made log bridges that were once provided to avoid muddy patches have decayed from years of trail neglect.

At 2.4 miles, the trail to Haystack (blue blazes) branches off to the left, while the trail to McKenzie (RED) continues on to the right. Though this fork in the trail is very well marked, it is not uncommon for people to miss it—Since the trail has become steeper, the average runner is looking down and not seeing the signs.

Both trails provide a challenge from this point onward. Haystack is better suited for families and those with dogs. McKenzie is a great workout for those who appreciate steep uphill.

As routed, this run climbs Haystack first to serve as a warmup for the strenuous run up McKenzie. However, as said before, you can skip either peak and still have a pleasant experience!

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


Land Manager: NY DEC - Region 5 Office

Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes


  4.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


in New York


25 Views Last Month
3,524 Since Aug 17, 2017



View of the High Peaks region from the top of McKenzie Mountain.
Aug 17, 2017 near Saranac…, NY
Haystack Mountain Summit
Sep 4, 2017 near Saranac…, NY
View from the summit,
Jun 26, 2019 near Saranac…, NY
Another summit view.
Jun 26, 2019 near Saranac…, NY
Manmade dam at 2.5 miles
Sep 4, 2017 near Saranac…, NY
A fork in the trail. Left (BLUE) for Haystack. Right (RED) for McKenzie.
Aug 20, 2017 near Saranac…, NY


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running