Appalachian Trail - Hoyt Road, NY to Conn. 341, Kent, CT
Directions to trailhead
Take I-87 to Saw Mill River Parkway North for 18 miles; then merge onto I-684 North. After 11 miles, I-684 North ends and becomes NY-22; keep straight on NY-22 for another 18 miles. Turn right on NY-55 for just under 2 miles, turn left on Dogtail Corners Road. Follow Dogtail Corners Road around as it enters CT and becomes Bulls Bridge Road. Cross the single-lane Bulls Bridge watching for oncoming traffic. Just after the covered bridge, turn left at the stoplight on US-7/Kent Road. Proceed almost 4 miles then turn left on CT-341 and continue under a mile to roadside AT parking on left across from AT sign and cattle stile. Spot car 1 here. In car 2 backtrack to Bulls Bridge, heading east on CT-341, turn right on US-7, turn right on Bulls Bridge Road, cross Bulls Bridge, continue as Bulls Bridge Road becomes Dogtail Corners Road. At NY-55, turn left for 1.2 miles then right on Hoyt Road. Parking for 3 cars on right a short distance ahead. If parking area is full, return to NY-55, turn right and park in large lot on right a short distance ahead. AT can be accessed through the field at the far end of this lot.
NOTE: A dog-friendly shuttle service is offered by Backcountry Outfitters (860-927-3377) which is on CT-341, 0.6 mile east of the parking area.
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 0.65 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 of 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 Bridge Road, turn right on Bulls Bridge 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 0.4 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.
[ 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