Taconic State Park

Photo

On South Taconic Trail. Photo by Georgette Weir.

Map


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Park Overview:

The trail system of the Southern Taconics features two parallel trails running north-south:  the 15.6-mile South Taconic Trail following the western range and escarpment, and a 16.5 section of the Appalachian Trail on the eastern range.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:50 miles
Park Acreage:
City/County/
State:
Copake Falls/Columbia/NY
Buy Trail Map:
Web Map:Trail Maps provided by OPRHP
Buy Book:New York Walk Book

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

East of the Harlem Valley of New York and west of the Housatonic Valley of Connecticut and Massachusetts rise the Taconics.  They extend north through western Massachusetts and eastern New York into southwestern Vermont, where they reach their highest elevations.  The name "Taconic" is a modern rendering of a Native American name variously spelled Taghkannock and Taghkanic.

  • Seemingly remote from civilization, much of the highland in the south is protected as a relatively wild area.  The trail system features sweeping views over the adjacent valleys to Mount Greylock to the north, the Catskill Mountains to the west, and the Hudson Highlands to the southwest.

A large part of the New York section of the highland lies along the western range and slope, sharing a border with Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Near the northern end is the Taconic State Park Recreation Area.  The park has outdoor recreation and camping facilities at its Copake Falls area south of Hillsdale and at its Rudd Pond area north of Millerton, both at the base of the highland. 

The best-known natural site in the area is Bashbish Gorge, east of Taconic State Park in Massachusetts, with its towering walls and cascading brook ending in Bashbish Falls.  Adjacent to the falls, also in Massachusetts, is Mount Washington State Forest extending further south and traversed by the South Taconic Trail.

The Connecticut part of the highland is loosely called Mount Riga.  Most of this section is owned by Mount Riga, Inc., a private conservation-minded body, but the National Park Service has acquired 1,225 acres from this group as a protective corridor for the Appalachian Trail.  In 2008 The Nature Conservancy acquired an additional 621 acres from Mount Riga, Inc., along the New York State side of the Berkshire Taconic Ridge.

 

Trails Overview:

The trail system of the Southern Taconics features two parallel trails running north-south:  the 15.6-mile South Taconic Trail following the western range and escarpment, and a 16.5 section of the Appalachian Trail on the eastern range.  Other hiking routes consist mostly of side trails ascending to the highland from the valleys on either side.  This system provides for circuit hikes, some of which include stretches of unpaved road.

  • The highly scenic South Taconic Trail lies mostly in Taconic State Park and Mount Washington State Forest along the western escarpment and range of the southern Taconics.  The trail may be divided into two sections that together span 15.6 miles.
    • South Taconic Trail, Southern Section [9.4 miles; white] goes from Rudd Pond Farms to NY 344, and includes steep, very rough sections.
    • South Taconic Trail, Northern Section [6.2 miles; white] goes from NY 344 to NY 23.
  • The route of the Appalachian Trail through the southern Taconics lies entirely within Connecticut and Massachusetts.  For a description see Appalachian Trail Guide to Massachusetts-Connecticut.  The NY/NJ Trail Conference map South Taconic Trails shows this section of the AT and its feeder trails from Lions Head in Connecticut to Battlesite Monument in Massachusetts. 
  • A 3.7-mile segment of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail extends south from the Capoke Falls area.

Click to find detailed descriptions of hikes in the park.

Directions:

To reach Taconic State Park, take Taconic Parkway, exit at Claverack-Hillsdale Exit. Take Route 23 east for 8 miles into Hillsdale. Turn right onto Route 22 south and go 4 miles to Copake Falls. Turn left onto Route 344 east. Park entrance will be ½ mile on the left.

Contact Information:Taconic State Park -- Copake Falls Area
518-329-3993
Region:Southern Taconics
Fees:Some times and places; check with park

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