From the Hoyt Road parking area, cross Hoyt Road and head north on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. You will soon pass a short side trail on the left, which leads through a small field to a large hiker parking lot off of NY-55. This provides another parking option if the small Hoyt Road lot is full. Very soon you will notice a sign on a tree indicating the beginning of the...
From the Hoyt Road parking area, cross Hoyt Road and head north on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. You will soon pass a short side trail on the left, which leads through a small field to a large hiker parking lot off of NY-55. This provides another parking option if the small Hoyt Road lot is full. Very soon you will notice a sign on a tree indicating the beginning of the Appalachian Trail through Connecticut, although you will be hiking in New York again later on. A map box, several of which are located along this route, is probably stocked with maps. Although these maps offer a very nice overview of the entire section of the Appalachian Trail that passes through Connecticut, it gives no details specific to this hike. Best to print out the topo map to take along in order to track your progress along the route.
Exercise caution at the .65 mile mark when you will need to cross over CT/NY 55 with speeding traffic. The trail will now start to ascend Tenmile Hill through beautiful forests. You have reached the top of Tenmile Hill at 1,000 ft elevation when a short side trail to the left leads to limited views. The Appalachian Trail now starts to descend Tenmile Hill, arriving at the blue-blazed Herrick Trail on the right at 2.1 miles. This side trail, later blazed with preserve markers, leads into Herrick Preserve with two short side trails to views at the Housatonic Overlook (somewhat obstructed) and Amy’s Lookout (beautiful breezy and mossy spot with nice views). An out and back hike into Herrick Preserve to both views, the farthest of which is the better of the two, would add 2.35 miles to this hike.
Continue on the Appalachian Trail reaching the bottom of Tenmile Hill at Tenmile River at 2.9 miles. Turn right and follow along Tenmile River, crossing over to the left on the Ned Anderson Memorial Bridge that spans Tenmile River just before it spills into the Housatonic River. Ned Anderson was a farmer from Sherman, Connecticut who mapped and blazed most the Connecticut section of the Appalachian Trail. Shortly after crossing the bridge, look overhead to see the power lines responsible for the sizzling sound you hear. Leave that behind as the trail begins to parallel the scenic whitewater of the Housatonic River.
In about half a mile, the AT merges onto a wide gravel road briefly before leaving to the left into the woods. To visit Bulls Bridge and additional scenic views of the Housatonic, continue to the right on the gravel road. Don’t expect any solitude here – it’s a highly popular area even during the week. Once you reach Bulls Road, turn right on Bulls Road. Either of the two short side trails to the right lead to a viewing deck over the Housatonic. Continuing along Bulls Bridge Road, arrive at Bulls Bridge. Turn left just beyond the parking lot and before the bridge at the information board for trails that lead to canal head gates, a dam, and interesting potholes carved into the slabs of river rocks. Return to Bulls Bridge Road, turn right and head west, meeting back up with the Appalachian Trail as it comes out of the woods from the left and follows west along Bulls Bridge Road. The side trip to Bulls Bridge would probably add about a mile to the hike.
Whether sidetracking to the Bulls Bridge Scenic Area or not, end up heading west on the paved Bulls Bridge Road. Turn right on paved Schaghticoke Road – no street sign noticed but there is a pole with signs directing to the Native Indian Farm Stand – that is the intersection for Schaghticoke Road. In just over a quarter of a mile, the AT leaves the road to the left into the woods where it switchbacks up Schaghticoke Mountain and back into New York. At the first open view to the south at a rock outcrop, the mountain straight ahead is Tenmile Hill – you can gaze over the area and retrace in your mind the route you have just hiked! Continuing on, multiple views appear, more during times of no foliage, as you hike along the ridge. There are some beautiful flat, easy stretches of hiking along here, giving your legs a break from the climb up. At 7.2 miles a sign on a tree indicates you are crossing back into Connecticut. About half a mile farther, cross a rocky expanse known as Indian Rocks in the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation. This is the only part of the entire Appalachian Trail that crosses an Indian Reservation.
Where the trail has been relatively smooth up to this point, it now becomes much rockier as it descends. There is another uphill stretch to a high point on the mountain at the 9.4-mile point. Pay attention to how much drinking water you have left because there is still one more ascent up Mt. Algo and you will want to save a few swigs for that.
Cross Thayer Brook at 10.2 miles then start the uphill trek on Mt. Algo. You will reach the high point in .4 mile. Now the rocky trail will descend continuously and soon your car will soon come into view way down at the bottom of the trail.
Turn By Turn Description:
[ 0.00] Shuttle to Hoyt Road, hike north on white-blazed AT
[ 0.40] Side trail on left to Route 55 parking lot at information board
[ 0.45] Connecticut Appalachian Trail sign
[ 0.65] Cross Route 55 (caution - very fast traffic)
[ 1.20] Trail forks left - easy to miss
[ 1.90] Partial view from short side trail to left
[ 2.10] Blue Herrick Trail on right (turn right here for 2.35 mile out and back side trip to 2 views)
[ 2.40] Trail turns sharply to the right where branches cover trail straight ahead
[ 2.80] Cross woods road
[ 2.90] Trail turns right at Tenmile River
[ 3.10] Cross Tenmile River on the Ned Anderson Memorial Bridge (steps may be difficult for dogs)
[ 3.20] Trail crosses power cut
[ 3.70] Bear right at fork on wide gravel road
[ 3.85] AT leaves gravel road to the left into woods (stay on gravel road for side trip to Bull's Bridge - return to AT by heading east on Bull's Bridge Road)
[ 4.00] Turn left on paved Bull's Bridge Road
[ 4.10] Turn right on Schaghticoke Road at Indian farm stand sign
[ 4.40] AT leaves road to the left into woods, crossed into NY and ascends Schaghticoke Mountain with multiple views
[ 7.20] NY/CT state line sign indicating return to CT
[ 7.70] View to the east at Indian Rocks in the Schaghitoke Indian Reservation
[ 8.25] Short side trail to right to view
[ 8.40] Stay on white-blazed AT when blue-blazed side trail goes left to Schaghticoke Camping Area
[ 9.40] High point; begin descent
[ 10.20] Cross Thayer Brook
[ 10.60] High point of trail on Mount Algo; begin descent
[ 11.20] Stay on white-blazed AT when blue-blazed side trail goes left to Mt. Algo shelter
[ 11.40] Cross woods road
[ 11.50] AT parking area on CT 341
Experience the introduction to New England on the Appalachian Trail when transitioning from New York to Connecticut through beautiful forests with multiple countryside views and the raging whitewaters of the Housatonic River.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.