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Taconic Crest Trail

Difficult

Trail

38.2 mile 61.4 kilometer point to point
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 6,453' 1,967 m
Descent: -7,423' -2,262 m
High: 2,766' 843 m
Low: 551' 168 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 59% (31°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by David Smith

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A 40-mile roller coaster up and over the Taconic ridgeline.

David Smith

Features Birding · Cave · Commonly Backpacked · Historical Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

While there aren't any established campsites, camping is allowed 150 feet off any road, trail, or water source. The water sources are very limited (especially during the summer); be sure to carry enough for your hike or bring a water filtration device.

Description

This trail starts from the parking pullout off Route 20, just west of Hancock Shaker Village. It ascends moderately through an area with many herd paths; please adhere to the main trail by following the blazes. The blazes consist of a blue square with a white diamond or just a white diamond.

The trail parallels the Taconic Skyline Trail through Pittsfield State Forest. If you plan on hiking this as a thru-hike, take advantage of the water sources through this area; there's barely any water after Route 43. The trail hits a few switchbacks as it approaches Berry Pond Campground. Check the mass.gov website or call the office for camping availabilities.

The trail follows the road past an overlook with a picnic table. From here, the trail re-enters the woods (near the parking area), goes a short ways, follows the edge of the paved road, then turns left into the woods again. After passing by William Berry Way, the trail begins to descend down to Potter Mountain Road.

The trail traverses a poorly-maintained section down to Potter Mountain Road. At Potter Mountain Road, the trail turns left to follow the road; this stretch is rough since it's a lot of road-walking. It crosses over Hancock Road (Route 43), turns right onto Main Street, then left onto Madden Road. Follow Madden Road to the end, and stay right when it re-enters the woods onto an old road.

The trail ascends the old road (for a ways), then it turns right to ascend steeper terrain. There are some old trails that lead you to Rounds Mountain, where you can catch some excellent views. The trail weaves its way back and forth through New York and Massachusetts, with varying degrees of difficulty.

The only places you'll be able to find water are going to be down in the hollows. There are many sidetrails that can be used to escape the ridge if you get caught out in a storm; my brother and I had to get off the ridge when a storm rolled in.

Don't miss the opportunity to catch the sunrise from Berlin Mountain. Here, there's 360-degree view over three states. The trail runs along the old road on top of the ridge down to the parking area off Route 2. The trail climbs up to Vermont, then passes through the southwest corner back into New York.

It's just a short 0.2 mile roundtrip to see the snow hole, a shallow cave that has snow year-round. The trail becomes rough and little-used after the snow hole. It pushes through overgrown beech and other overgrowth to the parking area off Route 346.

Flora & Fauna

Flora: wild sarsaparilla, hay-scented ferns, white birch, beech, eastern hemlock, jewelweed, rock polypody.
Fungi: tinder polypore, birch polypore, chaga, chanterelle, artist's conk.
Fauna: porcupine, sugar maple borer, grouse, white-tailed deer, groundhog.

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Photos, Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed

Contacts

Local Club: Taconic Hiking Club

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#10741

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#105

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