In the nineteenth century, the forests surrounding Phoenicia were the center of two industries – harvesting hemlock bark for tanning hides, and quarrying bluestone for sidewalks. This hike follows woods roads that were built for these industries, climbing to two viewpoints over Phoenicia and the surrounding mountains. Most of the hike is not exceptionally difficult, but there are several very...
In the nineteenth century, the forests surrounding Phoenicia were the center of two industries – harvesting hemlock bark for tanning hides, and quarrying bluestone for sidewalks. This hike follows woods roads that were built for these industries, climbing to two viewpoints over Phoenicia and the surrounding mountains. Most of the hike is not exceptionally difficult, but there are several very steep sections, including the initial climb from the field.
To reach the trailhead, walk to the end of St. Ursula Place and continue across a large grassy field, known as Parish Field. A yellow sign marking the trailhead is at the edge of the woods, behind a blue rope-net play structure. The trail is marked with blue blazes, although the start of the trail is currently not blazed.
After crossing a short wooden bridge over a stream, the trail climbs very steeply over large rocks and loose gravel. Extreme care should be exercised when traversing this trail section, especially when descending at the end of the hike.
At the top of this very steep climb, the trail emerges at the base of cliffs. Paths go both left and right, but you should turn right and continue along the base of the cliffs, passing an overhanging rock on the left. Beyond the cliffs, the trail follows an old road, then bears left and climbs to a junction, where the loop begins. A sign indicates that it is preferable to follow the loop in the clockwise direction, which is how this hike proceeds.
Turn left and follow an old road to an interpretive sign “Phoenicia and the Tanbark Business.” Just beyond, the trail bears right and begins to climb on a footpath. Pay very careful attention to the blazes, as just ahead, the marked trail turns sharply right at a switchback. This turn is easily missed, as an obvious unmarked trail continues straight ahead.
Follow the marked trail uphill on switchbacks, passing an interpretive sign “Bluestone Quarrying in Phoenicia” along the way. At the top, the trail bears left onto an old road and soon reaches the Phoenicia Overlook. The hamlet of Phoenicia is visible below, with Romer Mountain straight ahead and Panther Mountain on the right.
After taking in the view, continue ahead on the old road, which soon descends a little, then bears right and begins to climb steadily. After bearing right again, the trail levels off. Be alert for a sharp left turn, after which the trail continues on a relatively level route, with some minor ups and downs.
After traversing the first three-quarters of the loop, the trail begins a steady descent, steeply in places. As it bears right, the trail passes Grandview Ledge, with views over Phoenicia and the surrounding mountains. The descent now steepens. Soon, the trail joins an old road, which it follows downhill to reach the start of the loop just beyond a stream crossing. Turn left and retrace your steps to the trailhead, paying particular care during the final very steep descent.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 08/13/2020
This loop hike follows old 19th century roads and climbs to two viewpoints.
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.