Tri-state Hike in the South Taconic Mountains

Overview

This tri-state loop hike climbs to the highest point in Connecticut and to several other panoramic viewpoints.

Details
Time:
8 hours
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Length:
12 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Dutchess
State:
MA/CT/NY
Maps/Books
Buy Trail Map:

Buy Book:
Publication
First Published:
09/09/2010

Updated/Verified:
09/09/2010
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Tri-state boundary marker on the Mount Frissell Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Mount Washington State Forest in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
42.10943,-73.497849
Driving Directions

From the George Washington Bridge, proceed north on the Henry Hudson Parkway, which becomes the Saw Mill River Parkway. Take Exit 4 and continue on the Cross County Parkway, then bear left to follow the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway. In eight miles, bear left and continue on I-684, which becomes N.Y. 22. Follow Route 22 for about 53 miles to N.Y. 344 in Copake Falls. Turn right onto Route 344 and proceed east, entering Massachusetts (where the road becomes Falls Road). In 3.3 miles, turn right onto West Street. In about one mile, continue ahead on East Street, a gravel road. When you again reach a paved road, make the next right into the headquarters of Mount Washington State Forest and continue to the parking area.

Description

From the kiosk near the end of the parking area, enter the woods, following the Alander Mountain Trail, which is not blazed at this point. In 0.8 mile, after crossing a brook on a footbridge, you'll come to an intersection (marked by a sign) with the blue-blazed Ashley Hill Trail. Turn left and follow this pleasant trail for the next 3.5 miles, paralleling a brook for much of the way. In one mile, proceed straight ahead where a side trail leads right to a camping area, but be sure to turn sharply left in two miles at a junction (also marked by a sign) to continue on the Ashley Hill Trail.

About 3.4 miles from the start of this trail, you'll pass on the right a Massachusetts/New York boundary monument, placed in 1898. A short distance beyond, you'll reach an intersection with the red-blazed Mount Frissell Trail. Turn left onto this trail, which soon begins to climb.

In a short distance, you'll pass another boundary monument - this one marking the point common to three states, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut (although, interestingly, the name of Connecticut is not inscribed on the monument). Continue ahead, climbing a little more steeply, and in another quarter mile, you'll reach the highest point in Connecticut (marked by a green pipe and a cairn), with views south over Riga Lake. Proceed ahead on the trail for another 200 feet, and you'll come to an even more expansive viewpoint to the southeast. (If you wish, you can continue on for a short distance to the summit of Mount Frissell, where there is a trail register box, but there are no views from the summit.)

Now retrace your steps to the junction with the Ashley Hill Trail, and continue ahead on the Mount Frissell Trail to its terminus at the white-blazed South Taconic Trail. Turn right onto the South Taconic Trail, and you'll immediately reach a great viewpoint over New York to the west and Brace Mountain to the south. The trail continues along open rocks, with more views, for another quarter mile, then reenters the woods.

Continue ahead on the South Taconic Trail for the next 3.7 miles, proceeding ahead on the white-blazed trail at several intersections with blue- and red-blazed trails. After reaching an intersection in about 2.7 miles with the blue-blazed Alander Loop Trail, the South Taconic Trail bears left onto a footpath and descends rather steeply (on the way, rejoining the woods road). It crosses a brook at the base of the descent and soon turns right, leaving the woods road (be alert for this turn, which is easy to miss).

After steeply climbing about 600 vertical feet, the South Taconic Trail emerges on open rocks, near the New York-Massachusetts boundary, with spectacular views to the west and south. The trail continues along the ridge for another half mile until it reaches the west summit of Alander Mountain (marked by the foundations of a former fire tower), with more views.

About 300 feet beyond the summit, turn right at a sign for the park headquarters and descend rather steeply. As you descend, you will see a cabin below to the left. Bear left and pass in front of the cabin, then continue ahead on the white-blazed Alander Mountain Trail. Follow this trail for about three miles back to the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Daniel, pls check final route description.

Daniel says:  " Bear left and pass in front of the cabin, then continue ahead on the white-blazed Alander Mountain Trail. Follow this trail for about three miles back to the parking area where the hike began." My map, South Taconic Trails 2006 shows the Alander Mntn trail as Blue. Pls advise. BW. 

Didn't quite make it!

My teens and I tried this hike this weekend, but decided to do it in reverse since the writeup described the beginning as easier than the end.  We wanted to do the hardest part while fresh.  It also gave us the ability to truncate the loop if the hike proved too hard for us, which we needed to do.  We figured our truncated loop was about 9 miles and that took us 8 hours to do.  This is definitely an advanced hike!  But we enjoyed what we were able to accomplish and saw many things we haven't experienced before.