Blue Blaze: This little 4.1 mile (each way) trail has a lot to offer, but it also has a lot of very wet and boggy deep rutted trail at its southern end that may not be worth the effort. The Northern half of this trail is superb with gorgeous views and dramatic cliffs and slopes. At the northern tip you will also find the impressive Beckley Furnace Monument and easy parking. The Iron Trail is one of the CFPA Blue Blaze Trails and is 4.1 miles long. It runs through Housatonic State Forest and the Canaan Mountain Natural Area Preserve. The southern but starts at Canaan Mountain Road and meanders northwards towards the Beckley Furnace in Canaan.
Stone Mountain: The outing can be lengthened by continuing south on Canaan Mountain Road for a short distance (under a quarter of a mile) to reach the Great Mountain Forest Iron Trail on the right side of the road. This orange-blazed single-track trail alternately climbs and descends through beautiful forest as it makes its way up to the lichen-covered rocks of the summit of Stone Mountain, crossing a couple of brooks along the way. There are a couple false summits, so make sure you reach the actual summit (1713'), marked by a five-foot tall cairn on top of a rock outcropping.
I grew up in North Canaan and know this trail/mountain well. Has anyone considered continuing on the road for a short while and then summiting Stoneman (the open rocky summit along Canaan Mountain) on the rest of the Iron Trail? That is by far the most scenic section of the trail and a Furnace-to-Summit-to-Furnace route seems the most logical. My two cents.
Hey Ryan! If you know the area well and the route makes sense to you, you can create it! :-) A lot of people create routes in areas that aren't really their homes, so they follow the marked trails, which is perfectly logical, but they don't necessarily connect them in creative ways. Looking forward to seeing your new route!
Annnnnd I just realized why your name sounds familiar. You're the person helping out with the Northeast FKTs, so you know this. :) Nevermind! lol
Hahah, yeah I was just more giving my two cents on the route and wondering why folks didn't go up to Stone Man. It is a logical route to go from the Blackberry River up to the height of land and cool bald summit. Plus the trail up Stone Man is much nicer in my opinion. I'll be home (NWCT) a little bit this fall and may give it a go.
Ryan, thanks for the idea! I tried this route out yesterday, but looking at the maps on Strava afterwards, I realized I turned around too soon, at what I thought was the peak and the end of the trail. I still had about a third of a mile to go! I agree that it's a great addition to the blue-blazed Iron Trail! It's a good, non-technical climb with some nice scenery.