Saddleback Cliffs Adirondacks (All You Need To Know)

Saddleback Cliffs Adirondacks

The Adirondacks mountains range is a region in New York state with over 100 summits covering an area of about 5000sq miles.

The Adirondack mountain range has very popular mountains, attracting hikers worldwide.

One of the popular mountains in the Adirondack range is called the saddleback mountain.

Climbing the saddleback mountain requires you to scale the dreaded saddleback cliffs.

The saddleback cliff is a steep rock face that leads directly to the top of the saddleback mountain. The saddleback cliffs are not for the faint-hearted and require a bit of resolve for first-time hikers. The climb is about 100ft high but is not steep enough to require climbing equipment.

Can I Still Hike the Saddleback Mountain? 

Saddleback Cliffs Adirondacks

You can still hike the saddleback mountain range without experiencing many problems. Saddleback mountain is one of the highest mountains in the Adirondacks mountain range.

Hikers visit Saddleback mountain all through summer and at the beginning of winter.

The saddleback mountain is one of the strings of mountains that is very popular due to its infamous saddleback cliffs that are a hassle to climb.

Even though there have been cases where hikers turned back or gave up climbing the saddleback cliffs mid-climb, you can still hike the saddleback mountain with no problem. 

Here are some of the mountains you can find in the Adirondacks mountain range and their respective elevations from sea level. 

MountainElevation (Ft)
Mountain Marcy5,343 ft
Mountain Haystack4,960 ft
Basin Mountain4,826 ft
White Face Mountain4,867 ft
Saddleback Mountain4,121 ft

#1. Saddleback Mountain

It’s one of the mountains in the great Adirondacks range of New York state, and it has an elevation of  4,121 ft above sea level.

Hiking to the top of Saddleback mountain requires you to climb treacherous saddleback cliffs. The saddleback cliffs are steep and can be a challenging climb for amateur hikers.

#2. Mountain Haystack

Mountain Haystack is the third highest mountain in the Adirondacks mountain range. Mount haystack lies 4,960 ft above sea level and has another peak called little haystack. 

Mount haystack is steep and tough to approach from all sides, and it is not popular among hikers. 

However, hikers searching for a bit of challenge can hike to the top of the mountain as the views are spectacular. 

#3. Basin Mountain 

The basin mountain lies 4,826 ft above sea level and is the ninth highest mountain in the Adirondacks mountain range.

Hiking up the basin mountain is stressful, but it has amazing cloudy views and gentle slopes good for skiing during winter.

The basin mountain has some avalanche-prone areas that hikers and skiers should avoid during winter, especially after heavy snowfall. 

Is the Saddleback Cliff Difficult To Hike?

Yes, climbing the saddleback cliff is difficult, especially for amateur hikers.

The saddleback cliffs are composed of a steep rock surface that is a difficult climb even for experienced hikers. 

Hikers are advised to prepare extensively before attempting to hike the saddleback mountain. Proper hiking equipment will reduce the difficulty of your hike by large percentages.  

Here are groups of hiking equipment you can bring to reduce the difficulty of your hike and prevent yourself from getting lost and stranded.

#1. Hiking Apparel

The proper hiking apparels are very integral to successful hiking. Hiking apparels consist of hiking shoes, shirts, and pants. 

Hiking apparel differs from everyday clothing. Hiking shirts are best made from merino wool that is breathable,  absorbent and dries faster.

You should invest in spandex hiking pants that are breathable and form-fitting.

Avoid wearing boots and shoes unsuitable for long walks and breathable and light hiking shoes.

#2. Navigation Equipment 

Even the most seasoned hikers can get lost if they don’t have proper navigation. 

It would help if you purchased a highly detailed map of the Adirondack mountain range and took a compass with you.

You should also get a GPS tracker and map out the paths you follow on Google maps. 

Using the correct navigation equipment will help you find the easiest and most efficient trails to follow in your hiking.

#3. Sun Protection 

Any experienced hiker will agree that sunburns are one of the annoying problems of hiking. Hiking long distances will increase exposure to UV light, causing painful sunburns.

You can protect yourself from the sun rays by wearing a hiking hat and applying lots of sunscreen lotion. You can also follow trails with a bit of tree cover while hiking.

How Long Will It Take Summit the Saddleback Cliffs?

The hike up the saddleback mountain and back takes about 10-13 hours to complete, while the climb up saddleback cliffs takes about 20 minutes.

The most popular way of reaching mountain saddleback requires you to first ascend mount haystack and basin mountain before reaching saddleback cliffs.

The saddleback cliffs are challenging and not meant for the faint-hearted. How fast you can reach the peaks of mountain saddleback is affected by several factors.

#1. Weather Conditions

The weather condition of the trail can hinder or bolster the time it takes to ascend Saddleback Mountain. 

Unfavorable weather conditions like rain and snow will increase the time you need to ascend Saddleback Mountain.

You are not advised to attempt climbing saddleback cliffs in such weather conditions.

Black Ice can form on the surface of the rocks on the saddleback cliff causing you to slip and fall.

#2. Terrain 

The terrain on mountain haystack, basin mountain, and saddleback Mountain are quite different. 

The terrain on the mountain haystack is even and makes way for a consistent climbing speed, while basin mountain has a steep and rocky terrain.

Saddleback Mountain requires you to climb a cliff, further increasing your climbing time.

#3. Elevation

The elevation of the mountain you are climbing also increases your time spent hiking. The taller a mountain, the higher chance it is steep and difficult to climb.

The oxygen at higher altitudes is lower than the oxygen at sea level, which means hikers at high altitudes will get tired faster than normal.

The lack of oxygen will cause hikers to climb slower than normal and take more frequent breaks.

Is the Saddleback Mountain Safe For Hikers?

Climbing Saddleback Mountain is not safe for amateur hikers with no hiking experience. Due to the cliffs that are tricky to climb.

There have been cases where hikers sustained serious injuries or even died after falling off the saddleback cliffs.

Accidents like this have caused safety signs to be set around the Adirondacks mountain range, and the saddleback mountain is no exception. But this doesn’t mean amateur hikers cannot hike to the top of Saddleback Mountain.

They have to follow a few guidelines to improve their safety.

  • Stay alert
  • Follow recognized paths
  • Maps/GPS is vital
  • Do not hike during bad weather
  • Hire a guide
  • Travel in groups 


Saddleback Mountain in the great Adirondacks mountain range should be on your hiking checklist. The views on the mountain are breathtaking and are worth the hike.

It would help if you followed recognized trails and avoided wandering off. Ensure you have some climbing experience or a guide before climbing the saddleback cliffs.

Josh Matthews

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