The Taconic Loop is a recently-estalished route that consists of the entirety of the South Taconic Trail & a section of the AT between Jug End Rd(MA) & Undermountain Rd(CT). Current estimates put the length of the route at 45+miles & the vertical gain close to 8000'. Road connectors link the two trail segments & make up ~20% of the route:
Prior to NYNJTC's completion of the Rudd Pond Leg of the STT in 2015, the Tri-State U was the longest continuous route on this plateau. The Taconic Challenge is the completion of the Loop while observing each landowner's hours of operation. Visit taconictrails100k.blogspot.com/ for further information.
- NYNJTC's South Taconic Trails Map is the only publication to date that shows the route in its' entirety. A smartphone/PDF copy is available through Avenza. Printed copies are available at Bash Bish Bicycle & Taconic State Park HQ.
- AMC's Massachusetts Trail Map #2 has most of the trails but not the recently completed STT extension.
- BNRC published a very detailed map "South Taconic Range"- also without the STT extension. Limited copies remain at The Book Loft in Great Barrington, MA.
Despite numerous access points on the route, it is recommended hikers avoid using New York- side parking lots if planning to stay out past dusk. Ticketing does occur around North East/ Millerton, NY parking lots & other Taconic State Park lots close at dusk as well. Route 23/ Nicholson Rd, AT & Jug End Rd(MA) & Undermountain Rd(CT) parking lots are accessible around the clock.
I (Iain Ridgway) ran it yesterday following Dan Grip's way in 10:37, https://www.strava.com/activities/3538488114. One thing I noticed in planning was the Salisbury 2 mile long Railroad Ramble could take out most of route 44, future runners could use the Railroad Ramble which takes out almost all of the dangerous Route 44 section: https://hvatoday.org/HVAGIS/RailroadRamble.pdf, mileage wise it will add very little. But it would make it an aesthetically better route and less busy roads. For those aiming for the FKT the road will still be quicker but I had a few close calls with distracted drivers. You'd have to either get off the railroad a bit earlier (at Library Street) or pick up the AT a bit further south at the end of the rail trail (cobble road and Rt 44 junction). You can see on the strava heat map it is regularly used.
Hey, I'm planning to run this tomorrow (7/25/2020). Mostly due to logistics, I'll be leaving a drop bag at the Rt 23 trailhead and starting at the Salisbury AT trailhead. Running counterclockwise. I might use the rail trail that Iain references but I'll see how I feel when I get there. - Kehr Davis