Adventures around the Capital Region area of New York State, as well as the Adirondacks, Catskills, Berkshires and Vermont
Search This Blog
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Sages Ravine/ Bear Mountain(South Taconics)
Visited Sages Ravine and Bear Mountain in a beautiful remote area of the southern Taconics this afternoon along the Massachusetts/ Connecticut state line. Sages Ravine is a beautiful walk along a babbling brook, through a deep hemlock woods and provides continuous, beautiful views of multiple small cascades and falls. Rising steeply out of the ravine brings you up the steep slopes of Bear Mountain, the highest mountain in the state of Connecticut. There are several different trail options to reach this section of the Appalachian Trail, which provides access to both sites, but I chose to enter from the west side today. I parked in the small parking area just north of the border on East Street which has room for about 5 cars.
An unmarked trail begins just past the parking area and leads through a level open woods.
Pleasant woods walking.
You soon arrive at a fork, where the Appalachian Mountain Trail's Northwest Cabin can be found to the right, but our trail continues left over a small unnamed brook. The unmarked trail quickly comes to a trail junction for the Applachian Trail, where we took a left again, heading north and down into Sages Ravine.
The pleasing sounds of rushing water can soon be heard, and the trail brings you down to the brook's banks. Crystal clear mountain water can be found here.
Even with water levels at their normal low late summertime levels, the brook is still beautiful to follow. A nice footbridge crosses the brook here, leading to a camping area.
Water cascading down through mossy green rocks,
Calm waters in a small pool.
This is a truly magical place where the brook has carved out its pretty cascades through a large boulder filled ravine.
Another small cascade.
Water from the brook plunging down through the ravine.
Sun is minimal in these woods, but tried its best to break through a couple of times.
The dark hemlock woods provide a cool atmosphere and give a sense of solitude.
The trail continuing to follow the pleasant, quiet, rushing waters.
We followed the AT along the brook all the way to the state line, where the trail crosses the water. This was our turnaround point and we retraced our steps back through the ravine.
After climbing up out of the ravine, the AT returns to our unmarked trail junction again, but we continued south towards Bear Mountain. The trail immediately begins climbing.
While not overly long, the trail up Bear Mountain is very steep and rocky.
This was a steep, but fun climb up.
After finishing our steep climb, we arrived at the summit of Bear Mountain, where a large stone monument is found. This is a very popular summit area, but we were shocked to discover we had the place to ourselves.
Bear Mountain, with an elevation of 2323 feet, is the highest mountain in Connecticut, but not the highest point, which is located on a shoulder of nearby Mount Frissell. A stone plaque from 1885, incorrectly claims this to be the highest point in the state.
Beautiful skies provided a dramatic view over rural northwest Connecticut and Twin Lakes.
Mount Everett and Mount Race can be seen just to the north.
A breathtaking panorama south and east off Bear Mountain.
Huge, puffy clouds made for a truly incredible scene.
We were pleasantly surprised to see several birds rock hopping
Views back to the northwest are nice, but not as substantial.
Climbing up the stone monument.
On top of the world!
Sap dripping from a freshly cut limb.
Berries along the summit ridgeline.
After descending back down Bear Mountain's steep, rocky slopes, we headed back along the unmarked trail through the filtered sunlit woods.
Although we only hiked a total of 3.9 miles RT, it was a very rewarding hike with many enjoyable sites and sounds.