Taconic State Park: The Complete Guide

Taconic State Park, Copake Falls, New York, in the Fall

Barry Winiker/Getty Images

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Taconic State Park

Address
253 NY-344, Copake Falls, NY 12517, USA
Phone +1 518-329-3993

In the eastern New York town of Copake Falls, cozied up close to the state's borders with Connecticut and Massachusetts, Taconic State Park is a popular camping destination that places both overnight and day visitors in the midst of a region rich in recreational opportunities. This is the oldest state park in the Taconic region, and its 6,000-plus acres that run along the western slopes of the Taconic Mountain Range are part of a 14,400-acre, multi-state forest that survives as one of the largest and healthiest undeveloped tracts between Maine and Virginia. The park's name is a Native American term that means "in the trees," and in these woods that shelter a number of rare plants and animals, you'll also find a true escape.

There are two developed areas within the park, Copake Falls and Rudd Pond, each with campsites, hiking trails, and other recreational amenities. And you'll want to explore beyond Taconic State Park's boundaries, too, as attractions like Bash Bish Falls in the Berkshires of Massachusetts are just a handful of miles away. This guide highlights the many adventures that await park visitors and will help you make the most of your stay.

Things to Do

The Taconic Mountains have been mined for natural resources since the 19th century, and the 1845 Copake Iron Works is a unique feature within Taconic State Park. Now a museum, its visitors' center in Copake is open throughout the year during daylight hours, and guided tours are available between 2 and 4 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays between Memorial Day Weekend and mid-November. Here, you'll see tools and other artifacts and have the opportunity to explore a remarkably intact 18-acre industrial complex. Use this map to set out on a self-guided tour of 25 sites including the blast furnace, the black powder storage building, a still-equipped machine shop, the Carpenter-Gothic-style office, workers' homes, and ironmaster Isaac Chesbrough's residence. You can also listen to this free audio tour as you follow the Iron Works Heritage Trail.

The park's former ore pit is now water-filled and open for rainbow trout fishing, as well as public swimming when lifeguards are on duty. There is a kiddie pool adjacent to the designated swimming area.

For non-motorized boating, head to Rudd Pond in the southern section of the park, where canoes and rowboats are available for rent. You may also launch our own canoe, kayak, or rowboat.

In season and with the proper license and adherence to regulations, Taconic State Park is a destination for deer, bear, turkey, squirrel, fox, and ruffed grouse hunting.

Hikes & Trails

Several of Taconic State Park's hiking trails can be accessed from the Iron Works Heritage Trail. A one-mile trail leads to spectacularly photogenic Bash Bish Falls, a double cascade on the Massachusetts side of the state line. The 13-mile South Taconic Trail crosses through this area, as well. This is a challenging, strenuous hike that climbs Alander and Brace Mountains.

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail, a popular walking and biking route, can also be picked up from near the Iron Works district. There is parking on Route 344 near the park office. The paved railbed trail runs south from here to Wassaic along more than 20 completed miles. Eventually, it is envisioned that the trail will extend north to Chatham for a total length of 46 miles.

In the winter months, trails are available for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and there are five miles of trails for snowmobiling, too. Nearby Catamount Mountain Resort in Hillsdale, New York, is your place to ski downhill in the Taconic Mountain Range. 

These maps of the northern and southern sections of Taconic State Park will help you identify additional hiking opportunities. You'll find some of the most rewarding views along these trails:

  • Sunset Rock Trail - This moderate, 3.9-mile loop, best hiked counter-clockwise, has some creek-crossing challenges and traverses dense forest, but you'll be exhilarated by the view of the Catskills from Sunset Rock.
  • Iron Mine Pond Loop - For an easy, scenic hike, choose this 4.7-mile loop that begins near Millerton, New York, and traces the shores of Iron Mine Pond and Rudd Pond.

Where to Camp

Taconic State Park has two seasonal campgrounds. Rudd Pond, which typically operates from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, is the smaller of the two areas, with 15 tent sites and 26 tent platform sites. The Copake Falls area has 45 tent sites, 25 tent platforms, 36 sites for trailers of up to 30 feet (no hookups), and 18 cabins with electricity, lights, hot and cold running water, and equipped kitchens. This larger campground typically accepts reservations between early May and mid-November.

Both of Taconic State Park's camping areas also have Tentrr sites: perfect for inexperienced campers. Book with them, and you'll find your well-situated, fully equipped, canvas-wall tent all set up and ready for your stay.

Prefer a private campground or planning to camp in a larger RV? Nearby camping destinations to consider include:

  • Waubeeka Family Campground: Located 2.5 miles from Taconic State Park in Copake, New York, this pet-friendly camping spot has full hookup RV sites, tent sites, and cabins for rent. Family-fun amenities here include a mini golf course, arcade, swimming beach, water slide, kayaks and paddle boats, and a variety of sports courts and lawn games.
  • Copake Camping Resort: This seasonal resort with space for 217 RVs can accommodate the biggest of rigs and offers full hookups and extensive amenities including a heated inground pool, a dog park, arcade, and mini golf course. Don't own an RV? Book a tent site or one of the campground's 20 pet-friendly cabins.

Where to Stay Nearby

You'll find inns and motels outside the park on both sides of the New York-Massachusetts state line. Among the best-rated options are:

  • The Alander: A new boutique lodge in Copake, New York that caters to year-round visitors.
  • Sheffield Lodge: A rustic but lovely, six-room B&B in Sheffield, Massachusetts, about 20 minutes from Taconic State Park.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Great Barrington: A more traditional chain hotel, located in the Berkshires and just under a half-hour from the park, where you'll enjoy the use of the indoor pool and whirlpool and 24-hour fitness center.

How to Get There

Taconic State Park is roughly an hour south of Albany and just over an hour and a half north of Westchester, New York. The main entrance is at 253 NY-344 in Copake Falls, New York. There are no public transportation options, so you will need a car or ride service. There is a vehicle entrance fee of $8 per car for the lot near Ore Pit Pond during the summer swimming season only.

Accessibility

Taconic State Park offers a limited number of tent platform sites and camping cabins (in the Greenwich Cabin Area) that are wheelchair-accessible. The Copake Iron Works Museum is partially accessible. The paved Harlem Valley Rail Trail is closed to motorized vehicles with the exception of electric mobility wheelchairs. For specific information about access needs, call the park directly at: 518-329-3993.

Taconic State Park's Copake Iron Works Museum

Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Tips for Your Visit

  • The park is open daily year-round, from sunrise until sunset.
  • Up to two dogs may join you on trails or at your campsite, but they must remain on a leash of no more than six feet or in a crate at all times.
  • Horses are not allowed on park trails or on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, but there are several great places to ride in this region including Mountain Valley Farm in Millerton, New York.
  • During hunting season, hikers (and their canine companions) should wear blaze orange, particularly if they are planning to venture away from marked trails.
  • You'll need a New York State Freshwater Fishing License in order to go after trout if you are 16 years or older. Purchase one online or by phone.
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Escape to the Woods: Camp Out and Explore NY's Taconic State Park