Connector trail from the Strobridge Recreation Area to the Taconic Crest Trail.
The objective is to provide a link to the Taconic Crest trail. It would generally follow the route of a previous link trail that crossed private lands. The Town of Pownal is currently working with the private land owner though whose property the trail would start. John Case’s notes (which follow) from the May 16 watershed excursion that he led provide an excellent description of current conditions.
On May 16, six hikers joined the HooRWA trip from North Pownal to the Taconic Crest. The Pownal Recreation Committee, in conjunction with HooRWA, hopes to restore this trail, which was once the terminus of the Crest Trail. Joining Dick Schlesinger and John Case were Green Mountain Clubbers Tim Marr, Barb Hine, Celia Berkes, and Susan Lambert. We climbed on a beautiful spring day, virtually bug-free, with spring flowers just emerging. The trail is in great condition most of the way, wide and erosion-free. On the upper reaches some clearing needs to be done. If you are interested in replicating our trip, here is some important information:
The trail is not officially open, nor is the route particularly clear. If you have questions, you could contact John, Dick, or Lauren Stevens. The route begins at the end of Snake Hill Road through a gate onto the Armstrong property. Pownal is currently negotiating with the Armstrongs for an easement, but this transaction has not been completed at this time. Immediately past the gate, head right down a steep hill. There is no trail at this point. At the bottom of the hill, cross a brook and look for an established but unmarked trail heading up the other side of the ravine. At the top of the ravine you will find an old woods road paralleling the brook. Follow this road for about half a mile past the ruins of an old stone dam on the left. Shortly beyond the dam, you will see a trail veering off to the right where you can make out a marker from the original trail, an aluminum diamond with blue paint in the center. This route is possible, but it is preferable to continue on the road a little further until you come to the next right. The junction is quite conspicuous but it is currently unmarked. Follow this trail a short way where you will come to a trail crossing. On the trail straight ahead you will see the markers for the old trail. If you had come up the first trail on the right past the dam, you would turn right here.
From this point until the New York State line, it is easy to follow the old diamond markers. There are two junctions, but in both cases the markers indicating the correct trail are clear. After a steep climb, you will cross the New York State border. After the state line there are no more diamond markers, but there are a few orange ribbons remaining from when we flagged the route a year ago. The trail soon turns to the right, paralleling the ridge. It then turns left again, a complete U turn. At this point it becomes very obscure. Look for a couple of orange ribbons that appear to head off into the woods up the hill. If you head up the hill following these ribbons, in a very short way you will find a wide trail that is easy to follow. Go right (north) on this trail, and in a few hundred yards you will come to a junction. Look carefully at this spot so you can find it on the way back. There is a trail down the mountain here that looks very enticing, but resist the temptation to follow it on your return. It is badly eroded further down and goes over private land. The correct trail is particularly obscure right now, because there is a tree down just after the junction. Head left (west) at this junction on a wide attractive trail, and in no time you will be at the Taconic Crest. If attaining Crest Trail doesn’t fully satisfy you, head left (south) on the trail. In about a quarter of a mile you will find a clearing with good views to the east.
Look for future HooRWA messages about re-establishing this trail. We hope to have a work day soon when we can clear and mark this trail so it can once again be an easy route to the Taconics.