Route: Tri State U (MA, CT, NY)

Location
Massachusetts, US
Connecticut, US
New York, US
Description

This route has had some variations & discussion of the best combination of trails.  We preserve the discussion from our old website here.  The FKT progression is also documented.

Tim B (6/30/2016):

The Tri-State U (MA, CT, NY) is a non-established name for a route that goes thru Mass, CT, and NY. It crosses over 8 peaks in three states including the highest peak and point (not the same) in CT.

The route is ~27-28 miles long and ~+9.8k ft elevation gain / -9.8k ft elevation loss (according to my only track of it, which might have been a little generous).

GPS track below
connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/572230896

I did this route as presented below a couple years back (slow run / hike) and have intentions to do it again to possibly establish a baseline FKT that I would hope people might be interested in besting.

The route is a “U”, with the start and finish at different points.  Though close enough to connect via bike (that's how I do it solo) or even road run, in the interest of a trail running FKT, I would present the times pertaining only to the actual trail running “U” portion below.

The start is at the AT on Jug End Road in MA and finish near Catamount Ski Area on Nicholson Road, off of RT23/Hillsdale Road in MA. If anyone wants to reverse it, that’s possible.

Here is the route as I did in 2014:

Note – There are two slight deviations from the South Taconic Trail portion which I feel follow a more natural flow of the trail and also provide better access to water
- Park car at Catamount Ski Area
- Bike over to the start on Jug End Road in MA (If anyone wants a GPS track of the connecting bike route, I can provide it, along with one major wrong turn and hill climb!)
- START - Take AT South up to Jug End
- continue down south along the AT
- over Mt. Bushnell
- past Guilder Pond
- over Mt. Everett
- over Mt. Race
- down into Sages Ravine (Water point)
- up into CT
- over Bear Mt (highest peak in CT)
- West on Bear Mountain Road (woods road)
- North onto Mt.Washington Road/East Street heading North to Mt.Frissell Trail
- West onto Mt.Frissell Trail over Round Mt.
- skirt along side of Mt.Frissell over the CT high point
- pass the Tri-state marker into NY
- Junction with the South Taconic Trail
- Quick South out & back on South Taconic Trail to tag Brace Mt
- North along the South Taconic Trail passing back and forth thru NY and MA
- up and over Alander Mt. continuing North on the STT
- down to the UPPER Bash Bish Falls (water point) Note - this is a step descent, but fun! and the top of the falls provide far better water access then the bottom, however, this may be a potential water crossing hazard around times of recent rainfall).
- West along the trail following down Bash Bish falls then West to the main parking area on 344
- Cross 344 North, onto Cedar Brook Trail, following it North rejoining the South Taconic Trail (this deviation from the STT follows a more natural flow, and the Cedar Brook Trail is quite nicer than the STT at this point)
- North along South Taconic Trail up over Catamount Ski Area
- Descend down (trail runs down Catamount for a bit) to Nicholson Road / Route 23 – END


Here is a link to my 2014 trek. It is not intended to stand as any FKT, but rather a map and elevation profile as best captured by my GPS that day.
connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/572230896


On Sunday, 03Jul2016, I do intend to repeat the route above with the following specifications:
- Solo, Un-supported
- Water will be filtered with Sawyer mini at Sages Ravine and Bash Bish
- Bike will be dropped at END, then will drive myself to the start at Jug End Road
- GPS track will be started at Jug End Road AT and stopped at Nicholson Rd/ RT 23

As far as verification, I will post a link to the garmin track, or can provide any other possible exported form of it.

I’ll take some pics along the way, but have no intentions of posting them outside of personal Facebook.

I have run with Art Byram who recently posted an FKT on the Metacomet Trail and I also intend to link this post to a FB group (CT trailmixers) who could possibly vouch for me.

Aside from setting an actual "FKT", my true intention is really just to present this fun tri-state route to others and to try to run it again as best I can.

I really hope I can post up a good track and that someone out there is willing to run the route and set a faster time!

 

Tim B (7/3/2016):

So 03Jul2016 I ran the above route as intended (tho slower than what i hoped for).

Here is the garmin GPS track for the route as described above:

connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1240433500

Miles: 27.46
Total time: 7:46:55
Moving Time : 6:21:04
Total Avg pace: 17:01 min/mile
Moving Avg Pace : 13:53 min/mile
Elevation Gain/Loss : +9k / -9K

Some notes from start to finish:
- The route starts with an immediate climb, then eventually settles into some nice running on the AT
- Everett downhill is probably the most tech section with slab rock
- The downhill after Race (ridge section) is a freaking blast, but use it wisely
- Refilling at Sages Ravine (~9 miles) is a good spot
- The climb out of Sages Ravine is probably the hardest section of extended climb, i used poles, but took them out too soon after Sages Ravine - wait until you actually hit the uphill
- There is a side path (right) off of the Bear Mountain Road trail - the actual trail continues to the left
- Round mt is a quick climb, Frissell is definitely harder / longer than it seems
- The South Taconic Trail descending to Alander is probably the best place for speed
- The 0.8 climb to Alander is the hardest section
- The trail to the top of Bash Bish Falls used to be blazed blue - it appears they colored the blazes black/brown - the trail is still evident, and follows closely the edge of the falls as it descends
- The descent to the top of Bash Bish falls is a quad killer 
- The climb out of the top of Bash Bish falls is straight up following the cables which goes up then down to the upper parking lot.
- The above descent/climb and descent to the actual Bash Bish parking area is where i killed my quads - be cautious
- Cedar Brook trail is a long climb up to the STT
- Once you get to back to the STT its just a up/down ride before you finally pop out at Catamount
- The descent down Catamount is killer - think thigh high grass ski-slope fun
- Look to the left for a metal gate that is spray painted white for the STT
- After the above, the trail goes back up one of the ski slopes, then down a woods road for a bit then climbs back into the woods

Overall, I'm satisfied with my time/effort, but struggled with my quads from the descent to Upper Bash Bish falls to the end.  Definitely was short on salt today.  I think a different shoe (I have a bit too much fwd slide in mine) and more salt would have kept the quads working prime.  The last 6 miles was a struggle with too much powerhiking and the descent from Catamount was too slow.
Looking at my stopped time, there was way too much time lost.  I felt the 2 stops to filter could have been quicker with a different system (i used a sawyer mini), but not sure what would be lighter.  
I stopped and talked a little too much - stopped on Brace to talk to a paraglider and on Alander to a kid that actually lived close to my area.  Also stopped and helped a couple looking for a loose dog.  Can't say it wasn't worth it, but the stopped time does add up.

I think I'd like to try the run again, but maybe just to Bash Bish - the section beyond Bash Bish (Falls Road/344 to Catamount just isnt worth it). Keeping it short and fast to Bash Bish would be more fun.

I hope others see this route and give it a shot - would love to see what's an actual good time one it!  Any questions, post up and I'll try to help out!

 

Nate Davis (7/22/2016):

Funny, I just sent out a blast e-mail to some local runners for a very similar route we're doing on August 28th, which I dubbed "The Taconic Traverse". Major difference is that we're starting at Mt. Everett Rd, heading around Guilder Pond, then following almost your exact route , and ending at Bash Bish. The plan is to stop at Sage's and Bash Bish for swims. I'm figuring this is just shy of 20 miles and 5,000 feet of gain. Does that sound right to you?

Sounds like you had a good time -- glad to hear that the descent from Mt Race is as fun as it looks on paper!

 

Dan Rosenthal (4/20/2017):

I ran the tri-state u today in 7:05:10 and followed the route except I did not depart from the STT. I forgot to reset my gps before starting the jog back to my car so the activity time is 7:08. I hit the ascents hard seeking some crs so the legs were a little tired later in the day. I also stopped to take pictures and filter water along the way. You laid out a great route. However, with all due respect I didn't agree the deviation from the STT. Bash Bish Falls are great but sometimes one route or one trail can't take in everything. The blazes covered up means the trail is closed. It wouldn't be fair to future runners seeking an fkt to face a deteriorating trail as part of the route. It seems that the STT could be safer in high water conditions. Also, it is a simpler route - basically take the AT down over Bear cut across, out & back to Brace and up the STT. I realize that my decision might cost me the fkt or perhaps I have an fkt on a slightly modified route. I just don't see a route catching on that is overly complicated. My modified route might not catch on either but maybe it has a slightly better chance? Here is a link to my strava activity:
www.strava.com/activities/950948350

Just to clarify the elapsed time for the loop was 7:05:10. I created a strava segment called tri-state u which can verify that time. When I finished I still had a 3+ mile jog back to my car. I remembered to stop the gps but unfortunately forgot to reset it so when I started jogging the time kept rolling and in the process I also erased whatever my moving time was. I definitely made stops along the way for pics and water filtration.

Final Thoughts: My time of 7:05 won't be terribly hard to beat with a serious attempt and good weather conditions. It had rained the night before my attempt so in the morning the rocks were wet and slick. I had to exercise caution coming off Mt. Everett. Also, I didn't taper for this and ran it in the middle of a 2nd straight 100mi week and I hit the early ascents hard which I paid for later on the Alander and Sunset Rock ascents. If I was seeking the fastest over all time I would hold back more on these early ascents. I also struggled to find a rhythm as much of the route wasn't overly runnable. A couple times I began to find my stride coming in to Sages but then had to stop and filter water. I found my stride again on Bear Mtn Road but then tried my best to give directions to a couple ladies on Mt. Washington Rd. Finally I found my stride from Brace to right before the Alander ascent but then had to stop to filter water again. The temperatures were in the 60s - not bad but I'm not used to it yet coming off a long cold winter.

Also bashed my toe on a rock ascending Round Mtn. I couldn't bear weight on it for a couple strides but then I didn't notice it again until later in the shower when it didn't look quite right. Fortunately, I don't think I fractured it.

I forgot one last thing. Following the STT through Catamount Ski Area is a little tricky once you emerge on the ski slope. You leave the slope and go through the woods to a clearing. The trail goes straight across the clearing before emerging onto a dirt road. I spent a few minutes hunting for the trail in this area.

 

Ryan Williams (5/9/2017):

Hi everyone,

Really excited to find this post a while back but haven't gotten to chime in. I grew up (North Canaan, CT) and still live (Norfolk, CT) in the area of the Southern Taconics and love those mountains. For a while now I've envisioned this route (including the road section to make it a loop). Then one day last summer I found this FKT page and got super psyched that folks were messing around on the route. As an aside - I always called it (in my head and to friends) the "Taconic Rim" as it traverses each ridge high on the plateau on the two major trails. Anyway, not trying to name your route, just wanted to say.

As far as the anonymous post - the tone was pretty negative. I think it could be a great FKT for folks to try. The only thing that would make it better would be to have the loop completed by trail (I've thought of some good bushwhack routes that would avoid private land to connect it).

That said, I'll be heading out there this Saturday to give it a go. Not so much to get the fastest time (plus, I'll be altering the route - will describe below), but want to get a lot of vert and time on the feet. I'm running the Cayuga 50 in a month and this'll be one of my harder long runs. I will also say that I have done the two "legs" of this run previously in various ways. Once from Mt. Washington State Park Headquarters to Catamount and one route from Bear Mountain to Jug End. I'm also very familiar with 95% of the route (least familiar with STT side) having hiked or run the mountains many, many times.

MY PLAN:

I'll be going self-supported and at least one buddy's going to join me for a portion. We're going to park my car at the big pull off on 23 near Catamount at the northern terminus of the South Taconic Trail. I'll then be dropped off at the Jug End trailhead and my friend will make his way up to the AMC Northwest Camp trailhead on Mount Washington Rd. I'll be carrying all my gear from Jug End till that half way point where I'll re-supply and start running with him (and maybe more folks depending on who wants to come).

NOTE: I'm using both the South Taconic Range map (by the Berkshire Natural Resources - beautiful map, though without mileages), and the AMC's Massachusetts Trail Map (w/mileages).

1. Jug End AT trailhead (Guilder Hollow Rd.)
2. South over Mt. Bushnell
3. Past Guilder Pond and up Mt. Everett
4. Up and over Race Mt.
5. Into Sages Ravine and up Bear Mt. the steep way
6. Down Bear to the Bear Mt. Road
7. Take the right onto the Bog Trail to the AMC Northwest Camp
NOTE: This cuts down on the amount of gravel road
8. At the AMC Northwest Camp head left (west) out to the trailhead

THIS IS WHERE I'LL RE-UP ON WATER & FOOD

9. Take a right (north) back onto Mount Washington Rd.
10. Take a left (west) onto the Mt. Frissell Trail
11. Over Round Mountain and Mt. Frissell
12. Stay on this trail until the junction with the STT
13. Take a right (north) onto STT
NOTE: I'm not going to do the out and back to Brace Mt. just to keep the route a point-to-point. I understand the desire to tag the peak as it's so close, but I'd rather not mess with my perceived flow of the run - just more my style.
14. Stay on the STT to go over Alander
15. Head north towards Bash Bish and stay on the STT
NOTE: I think for trail etiquette, conservation reasons, and safety it's best to stay on the STT and avoid upper falls
16. Get onto the Cedar Brook Trail
NOTE: The time I came through here I stayed on the STT but thought the Cedar Brook Tr would be much more enjoyable
17. Take a right back onto the STT and go to Sunset Rock
18. Stay on the STT to Prospect Hill and to Catamount
19. Finish the STT to the end
NOTE: I too had trouble finding my way on the trail through Catamount. I was there in the early spring and ended up running down part of the ski trail with people flying past me. I'll do my best to follow the true trail.

I'd love anyone's input about all of this and am excited for the run. I'll post my link to Suunto Movescount and Strava as well as a post-run write-up. I might post on some of the FB groups as well.

LASTLY, watch out for Timber Rattlesnake as it heats up. Please do not disturb them. They just want to do their own thing and are listed as State Endangered in CT and MA, and Threatened in NY. But be aware they may bask in the trail.

I want to also say that my route was designed for maximum enjoyment on my part. I'm more drawn to point-to-point runs with lots of technical ups and downs avoiding roads as much as possible. By no way am I saying this is the end-all route for this area but just my take on it.

 

Dan Rosenthal (5/9/2017):

Ryan, this sounds like a great run and good luck in the race! Taconic Rim is a great name! I hear you about avoiding roads. I'd only suggest making an fkt route as simple as possible. I don't mind running with a map in hand but I'm not sure that everyone likes that. I also wondered about the out and back to Brace and how it affects the flow. It also seems like a shame to miss it being so close so I could see a route with or without Brace. I agree that the route should avoid the closed steep trail also for safety reasons. Don't have a strong opinion on STT vs. Cedar Brook. Cedar Brook sounds nice but there's a need to keep it simple. It seems like there is great potential for a route but somehow there just has to be a consensus on what the route is. Your route seems very close to the original and the route I ran so I think the only questions are
1) Route from Bear to Mt Frissel Trail
2) Inclusion of Brace?
3) STT vs. Cedar Brook
Maybe others can weigh in on these decisions?
It will be great to hear how your run turns out.

 

Ryan Williams (5/9/2017):

Thanks Dan!  Agreed on the need for an FKT to be fairly straight forward. I think there can be an argument made for the "best" route (whatever that means) and the most direct or obvious route.  Sometimes they are the same, but in this case I think the detours will make it more enjoyable.  Just one person's opinion.  I won't be running with a map in hand (though probably in my pack) because I know the trails well but someone not as familiar would likely want one.  Strangely enough, I think all of the turns would be straight forward except for the actual STT once you hit Catamount..it got funky in there last time.

I think your list is a good one that could be used for consensus if enough people ever wanted to give it a go. All of my personal detours/routing were just to keep the flow nice and skipping out on that part of the STT parallel to Cedar Brook (I recall it being pretty boring double track). I'd love for there to be a bunch of folks going for some sort of "Taconic Rim" FKT whatever it shakes out to be. If there ever is a generally agreed upon route I'll definitely give it another shot with time in mind. For now, just looking for a difficult run. I'll make sure to post afterwards.

 

Dan Rosenthal (5/11/2017):

The route I ran was only "better" because it eliminated an obvious safety hazard. I set out to run the route exactly as it was laid out by the OP and did that for 20 miles but when I got to the closed trail it just didn't make any sense. I only have a strong opinion about eliminating the closed trail. Once I made the decision to stay on the STT my only other decision was to remain on it or take the Cedar Brook Trail. It just seemed simplest again to keep following the white blazes to the end. I think since there is consensus on the vast majority of the route maybe the connections just don't matter. Maybe the simplest connections are best for the route. If this is true, than the route I ran is the route. Keep in mind that one is free to alter the route any way they want if they aren't going for an fkt.

This isn't about me or any claim to an fkt because I don't think my time was that great anyway.

It would seem like a shame to never have a route established because of minor differences about the least important parts of the route. Maybe just maybe it wasn't just a run I did but it was a run that helped transform a great vision from the OP into a viable fkt route. I hope others will join the conversation to help craft this route.

 

SVT (5/16/2017):

Folks,

There's a need to split this page into a number of different routes.

1) I propose a new super-traverse of the Taconics that encompasses the length of the new STT, the AT between Salisbury, Jug End & connecting roads that I've dubbed the "Taconic Trails Challenge". More information here: taconictrails100k.blogspot.com/; I plan to create a new FKT page for this superloop shortly.
Amy Hanlon & Curt Pandiscio completed this on April 22, 2017 in 14:39:12- supported with a detour to the summit outlook on Mt. Fray.

2) Several loops linking the crest trails on the Mt. Riga plateau are possible, all of which can be done entirely on foot.
- The U-shaped route proposed above can be connected by running Jug End Rd & MA 22 to bridge the AT & the STT.
- A "Middle Crown" loop that traverses Mts: Everett, Race, [possibly Bear], Rounds/Frissell, [possibly Brace] & Alander can be done using the NW Road- Mt Frissell Trail connector in the South & Mt Everett Summit Rd- East St- Cross Rd- West St- Falls Rd/NY 344 in the North. Stanislav Trufanov completed this loop wile marking for the Taconic Trails 75k but has not track nor time- only good memories... The distance was 18<l<20mi
- Additionally, a "Southern Crown" loop encompassing the Southern section of the AT, the NW Road- Frissell Tr connector, the Southern Section of the STT & a Shagroy/Belgo Rd- US 44- CT 41 road connector has been completed & tracked by Scott Patnode & Stanislav Trufanov- also in the week preceding the TT100k event. There is a track but no intent to report an FKT.

Folks are welcome to comment on this suggestion!

 

Ryan Williams (5/22/2017):

Hi SVT,

I think it's really cool what you're putting together with the big loop. Also nice website. I think the nature of all of the previously proposed routes try to eliminate road sections. It would be easy to make a loop using Rt. 23 and Jug End Rd. but it's so nice not to have to run on the pavement after all the great trails. Plus, point-to-points are awesome. Though this makes it a little more logistically challenging.

I ran my version of the "U" yesterday starting at Jug End and ending at Catamount and crossed paths with Ben Nephew who went the other direction, and at a much faster clip. I will be posting a description of my run shortly but for now here's the Strava link
www.strava.com/activities/999713382

Ryan

 

Ben Nephew (5/22/2017):

I ran the U with the Bog Trail and Cedar Brook in 5:42:30. This version seems like a great route to me. That road section is over 3.5 miles, and I don't think anyone would be happy about including that in a full FKT attempt.

www.strava.com/activities/999767281/overview

www.mountainpeakfitness.com/blog/2017-taconic-rim-fkt-ben-nephew

It was nice crossing paths with you, Ryan!

 

Tim B (5/26/2017):

Original poster here. Sorry for the long silence – great to see the discussion on the route and people getting out there and running it! My main objective with posting the route was to try to establish it and get others out there to run it. It’s awesome to see Ben run the route and set a killer time! Couldn’t be more stoked and the fkt report is a great read! Thanks.

As for addressing a couple questions/issues with the route as I ran it:

- A trail from Alander to the tops of Bash Bish did exist. Previous versions of the NYNJ South Taconic map as well as a (really nice but seemingly no longer available) BNRC Taconics map had a trail leading down to the top of the falls. New versions of the NYNJ map no longer show this trail, which confirms its closure. My main reason for this original route was water access at the top of the falls as well as enjoyment of the run from the top of the falls down along the brook. This route should no longer be followed do to trail closure and following the STT down as drawn is best.

- In regards to the route from Bear Mt to Mt.Frissell (trail) – I ran over Bear and down to Bear Mountain Road straight out to the dirt road and headed north 0.2 miles to Mt.Frissell trail. This seems to be the easiest, most direct route.
Ben’s route is more difficult both terrain wise and navigation wise, especially coming from the West. Finding the Bog trail connector from Northwest Road Trail is difficult.
I would highly suggest using the dirt road for a short distance along with the full length of Bear Mountain Road.

- Brace should not be missed. It’s an incredible little open hill with great views and a worthwhile out and back to the route.

- I maintain that Cedar Brook is a better trail than the actual STT. It’s more direct and a heck of a lock more fun traversing the brook several times.

 

Dan Rosenthal (5/26/2017):

I'm sold on Cedar Brook now even though I haven't seen it. I agree about Brace. I can see your point about Bear Mtn Road. That is how I ran. But, I think Ben deserves the fkt after his effort and I'd hate to see it lost over such a small difference in routes.

 

Neil Clauson (5/28/2017):

I managed to lower the time to 5:26:52 today (5/28/17). I followed Ben's route exactly but did it clockwise starting at Jug End. My cheapo gps always shortchanges my mileage, but the 7500+ elevation seemed right on. What a brute! The Cedar Brook trail is SWEET! It's like Sage's Ravine only less technical. I am happy to report also that the Bog Trail now has more than 1 board. Actually, the whole thing has boards...nice. My favorite part is when you go over Frissell and get to see the western view after seeing the eastern side all morning. Definitely an adventurous feel.

I took a bottle and a Coke from my wife who was relaxing over at Bash Bish so I guess this counts as supported. Oh well, I bonked really bad after the Cedar Brook trail anyway- the trail was begging to be run.

Here is the Strava:

www.strava.com/activities/1010535685

-Neil Clauson

 

Scott Gregor (7/12/2017):

Here's a loop variation with some road running for those who don't own a bike. I didn't go as far north on the STT as I veered off at Mt Alander and took some roads over to the AT at Mt Everett.

www.strava.com/activities/1052362911

 

Sonny Gerardi (7/15/2017):

I just completed the Tri State U. Solo and unsupported. I would never be able to obtain the FKT but I want to support this course. All I have to say is this is a worthy route. Even if you have to stash a bike at one end or run the 3 miles of road (and it could be uphill depending on what direction you run it) Its super technical, Lots of Vertical, and takes some planning to do it unsupported (Not a lot though :) I think its a worthy course of having an FKT for sure. I have been backpacking the STT and AT since I finished my AT thru hike in '08 and always wanted to try to run the whole U

www.strava.com/activities/1085257242

I chose to run this route from East to West Starting on Jug End RD and ending at Catamount (RTE 23) The reason for this is I parked my car at the Northern Terminus of the STT (RTE 23) and the ride to the start is "mostly" Downhill. I stashed my bike at the beginning and took off. We have had a lot of rain this year and the rocks were very very slippery. I actually ran with poles most of the way, and in all my years of trail running I have never done that. It saved my butt multiple times even if it slowed me down. I stashed water on MT Washington Rd Crossing and treated water the rest of the way. In hindsight I would stash water in the Bash Bish area as well. It took a little effort to treat the water and it was buggy doing it. Not ideal after running 20 hard miles. This is a personal choice of course. I finished in 8:25:56 I know it doesn't challenge the FKT, but hey it was my first solo attempt at something like this and you learn a lot your first time. :) Plus doing this in July with wet rocks, it was slow and overgrown so that slowed me down as well. But I finished and feel accomplished none the less. Actually ran into a BobCat coming down the ski Slopes !!!

Some thoughts that if anyone reads this feel free to discuss.

1. Brace Mountain should be included in the run, its an additional mile out and back but worth it to see the views and hit another peak.
2.I think the FKT route should use Bear Mtn road and not the Bog trail that goes through the AMC cabin. The reason for this is there are signs that say they don't want people running through the camp without a reservation, these signs may be new and one could say they didn't see them. (I personally think its ridiculous to say someone cant go through there) but it may deter some from going through or make them feel uncomfortable. Using the Bear Mtn Road trail is not any shorter or longer and there is no reason not to go that way. I heard this mentioned in an earlier post as well. But no mention of the signs in any posts ( So maybe they just put them up?)
3. If you choose to run this in the summer the ski slopes are WAY overgrown at Catamount, with really no trail. Some years they mow it, but not yet this year, and it was tick city. This is also where I ran into a Bobcat coming up the trail not even seeing me until we were like 50 feet apart due to the overgrowth. It was cool though. I think running this in spring or fall would be way better timewise for sure!! Some of the weeds were 6 feet high.
4. I also was wondering while running if there was an advantage going one way or the other and any way you slice it its tough. The only thing I can mention by going East to West is you don't have to go up Alander on the North side. Its a beast!! Just going down its a quad buster.

Well there you have it! I wanted to just post some thoughts after this epic run.

One more thing! Cedar Brook Trail is the way to go for this run! I agree with all. I have done both the STT and Cedar Brook several times and Cedar Brook is beautiful and way more interesting. It gets you to the same point so I vote for Cedar!

Thanks and happy running!

 

David D. (7/16/2017):

Did a complete traverse of the South Taconic Trail today (North to South) starting from Catamount Ski Area and ending at the parking lot on Shagroy Road. Wondering if anyone else has done this? Trail was rough and appeared scarcely traveled in the newly constructed southern section. I bonked hard around mile 15 - didn't bring water or filter to drink from and spirits were a bit broken when I realized the trail was quite a bit longer than the 15.7 miles advertised online... It's not!! Hung around the top of Brace to see several paragliders launch and ate handfuls of blueberries on many of the summits... Great run!

From my Strava
Distance: 20.0 miles
Time: 4:45:28
Elevation: 4,850
Max elevation: 2,315

 

SVT (8/2/2017):

I've added an entry for the Taconic Loop here: http://fkt.websubstrate.com/route/taconic-loop-ma-ct-ny

Notes on others' comments:

- The trails on the South Side of Bash Bish Falls have been taken off the DCR & STT maps and- according to the current DCR district manager- will no longer be maintained. The trails are still there and can be traversed, but will likely fall into disrepair fairly soon. Trailheads leading to these from above BB Falls upper lot have been roped off.

- David, the STT needs a separate thread;-) as its a challenging route on its' own!

- Ben- nice job trolling the forum, I wish you'd waited til the Loop post to make the drive out!!

- To give the OP & others a props- the "U"'s been on my mind since I purchased AMC' 2003 MA Trails Guide & Map. Prior to 2015, this was the longest continuous loop on the range & I've long contemplated pressing South on the AT and continuing across Riga Lake to link to the STT as a loop. In 2015 I found TSP maps of possible trail routes through the Rudd Pond area, but it appears NYNJTC had a leg out on it & was already extending the STT to Rudd Pond. Thus the Loop was born.

 

Gregory Soutiea (9/22/2017):

I did the same "U" loop that Ben recently did yesterday. It is no joke. I did the "U" starting from the Catamount Ski area and ending at Jug Hill Road, then I ran the ~4 miles back to my car to make it a nice loop. The views were fantastic and the terrain rocky and gnarly. The total elevation was just over 8k, which is quite impressive especially for never getting over 1600 ft of elevation. I did it in a little under 8:30, but was taking my time, taking photos, and not pushing the pace. Even so, a sub 6 is quite impressive!! Strava link here: www.strava.com/activities/1195184924/overview

 

Ben Nephew (11/6/2017):

I managed to lower the FKT to 5:00:59 this past weekend. I took the Bog Trail. I didn't see any signs and the caretaker was perfectly friendly as I ran by. I prefer running east to west, but the climbs up Alander and Cedar Brook to Sunset Rock are long and late in the run, and the descent from Alander is outright abusive. It is also hard to follow the last mile down through Catamount as it winds in and out of the ski slopes. I finished at the parking spot right off of route 23, as Neil did. Running downhill and south on the AT around Bushnell and Brace is wild; the trail is right on the exposed edge of a 1000' drop.

www.strava.com/activities/1263225234/overview

FKTs

Male
Unsupported
Athlete
Ben Nephew 5h 59s