Taconic Crest Trail, Northern Section


Help Support vftt.org:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Jan 15, 2013
Reaction score
Vernon, Conn.
On Saturday (the 20th) I hiked the third and final section of my Taconic Crest Trail section hike. This time Joe ("Goat"), Barbara ("Nice Lady"), and Diane joined me.

We started by climbing up to the ridge on Phelps Trail. This was the hardest part of the day. It's a mile and a half of up. Once on the TCT itself, though, there was a lot of smaller ups and downs, some flat trail, and a steep drop at the end.

We started out in Massachusetts, but most of this section is in New York, with a short bit clipping the SW corner of Vermont.

Early on we got to Berlin Mountain (in N.Y.), which has a meadow at the summit and a good view of Greylock. This is the high point of the TCT.

There are a few other decent viewpoints along the trail, but not as many as shown on the map.

When we got to Hopkins Forest we passed by some Williams College forestry research projects. These were baskets weighted down by rocks with nets clipped to them. Our best guess is that they were collecting data on what falls off of the trees.

We took the short side trip to the Snow Hole. This is a rocky gash in the ground which was about 30 degrees colder than the air above it. It was cool, in both senses of the word.

For the second TCT hike in a row, a tree fell down close enough for us to see it. This one wasn't quite as close as the last one, but it fell right over the trail.

At one point, near the end, I was in the lead and I decided to wait for the others to catch up. After fifteen minutes I turned on my phone and texted, "Everything OK?". After another fifteen minutes, a half hour after I started waiting, I decided I needed to do something. I could see a TCT blaze just up ahead, so I knew (or "knew") I was on the TCT. I figured they probably had lost the trail. I figured that if that was so, they should be able to find their way to Rte. 346 and thence to the trailhead. So I decided to continue to the trailhead, and if they weren't there leave a note and start backtracking up the trail. Just as I was getting ready to head out, I got a response to my text:
Goat: Yes, just reached the car.
Me: Did you lose the trail?
Goat: No, but there was a hard turn to a re-route. Did your reach the car and then walk for service?
Me: No. I waited a half hour for you guys to scatch up. I was just about to continue. Maybe I missed the reroute, but there's a TCT blaze here so I figured I must be on the trail.
So I headed down the trail, and immediately found that trail I was on ended in some brush where it joined the current TCT. That blaze I had been looking at, about 100 feet ahead of me, was on the actual TCT, but not, as it obviously seemed to me, on the trail I was on. I had stopped at the worst possible place, a place off of the trail, but close enough to the trail that the blaze ahead of me convinced me I must be on the trail. The others must have passed a hundred feet from me without either of us noticing the other. Anyway I got to the trailhead, where the others were waiting, and it all ended well.

So Goat and I have now section hiked the Taconic Crest Trail. It's a nice trail overall, if the trees don't fall on your head. It's got a lot of short but steep elevation changes, some very easy trail, a lot of nice fern fields, and some interesting features, like the Snow Hole. If you're interested in doing it yourself, the maintainers' website is: https://taconichikingclub.org/

Here are the pictures.



NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
NE111 in my 60s: 84/115 (59/67, 23/46, 2/2)
NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 41/48; NEHH 89/100
LT NB 2009; CT NB 2017

"I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
- Lewis Carroll
That's a pretty funny story - thinking you are on the trail but not quite. The woods (and decommissioned trails) will trip everyone up at some point.