Bordering Massachusetts and Connecticut within the Taconic Mountains, Taconic State Park is a gorgeous wildlife paradise within New York that is great for the RV lovers who want a primitive camping experience. It is truly a wild area of America, with the location being part of the most extensive unfragmented forests between Maine and Virginia at over 5,000 acres.
The park has elements of the landscape that every guest should see, such as the cascading Copake Falls, which provide a beautiful background for swimming during the summer. The falls are a popular spot to kick back and relax at, so bring your camera and get some memorable shots. If you want to chase more waterfalls, Bash Bish—the most dramatic and highest single-drop waterfall in Massachusetts—is located just over the border.
If you're looking to learn about the history of the area, you can check out the Copake Iron Works Museum. The building is located at the old Copake Iron Works building, which was built in 1845.
There are many other recreational opportunities in the park, including hiking trails, a visitor center, biking trails, fishing, and hunting. During the wintertime, there are five miles of snowmobiling trails, along with cross-country skiing and shoe shoeing opportunities
Camping wise, the park has 36 trailer sites available for RVs, with the maximum size length being 30 feet. You won't find any hookups at this state park, so make sure you are prepared for this before you begin your stay. The camping area is closed from December to April during the off-season, but the park is still open for snow-play during the colder months. Whether it's your first road trip or your fiftieth, Taconic State Park is an excellent pitstop for first-timers and nomads alike.
Taconic State Park is located along New York State Route 22 and is just north of where the New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut borders all come together. Due to this location along this busy route, the park is easy to access. Whether you're renting an RV from nearby or hauling your rig, you should have no trouble getting into the park as long as your vehicle is under 30 feet.
Although the park is off of a major route, winter weather can sometimes put a chink in travel plans. The roads within the park may become difficult to maneuver for large vehicles when snow and ice are present, so stay up to date with the local weather and road conditions before heading out.
The campground at Taconic State Park is quite small, with 36 sites available for RVs with a maximum length of 30 feet. If you have a rig bigger than 30 feet you will have trouble fitting in this campground. The sites at Taconic State Park are quite primitive, so there will be no water, electric, or sewer services available to the RV sites. Despite this, there are still toilets, showers, and a dump station available onsite. Other amenities in the park include a water fill-up station, picnic area, and two dog-friendly campsite loops. Phone reception should be available throughout the campground, and there are plenty of shops close by if you need to get more supplies. If you want to be close to the toilets and showers, try to get a site from 2-14. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance. Please note that the camping area is closed from December to April during the off-season, so you won't be able to camp during the winter at the park.
If the Taconic State Park campground is full, or if you're not one for roughing it, there are numerous RV resorts and campgrounds in the surrounding area. Most RV resorts offer standard amenities like full hookups, flush toilets, and hot showers. Some provide more ornate features such as heated pools, bike and golf cart rentals, dog parks, and laundry facilities.
If you're looking to ditch the camper for a few nights, consider renting a cabin in the Taconic State Park. The cabins can accommodate between four to six people and are equipped with electricity, running water, kitchen appliances (including a refrigerator and stove), picnic areas, and campfire rings. Some of the larger cabins are furnished with superior features like private showers, flush toilets, and cable television hookups. Renting a cabin is a great way to be close to all the action in the park while indulging in the conveniences that camping can sometimes lack.
If you're itching to get out of the campervan, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail. The terrain in Taconic State Park varies from easy to challenging, so the park is suitable for all hikers. Some of the trails offer spectacular views of the countryside as they make their way through the mountains and over the Massachusetts border. The hike to the picturesque Bash Bish Falls should not be missed. If the famous Appalachian Trail is on your bucket list, you are in luck. Segments of the trail traverse through the Mt. Everett State Reservation located just east of Taconic State Park.
The Copake Iron Works was established in 1845 and operated from 1848 until 1903. This site has been recognized as one of the most complete ironworks in the four-state Litchfield Iron District, and the location now serves as a museum. A rare blast furnace, blowing engine house, and machine shop with equipment are all still in their original place within the Iron Works. The diorama room in the museum is open year-round during daylight hours, while the rest of the museum remains open on the weekend from Memorial Day weekend through to mid-November.
Freshwater fishing enthusiasts will be delighted with the opportunities available in Taconic State Park, so don't forget to pack your equipment in the RV if you're an avid angler. There are two main spots to fish within the park, the Bash Bish Brook or the old iron ore mine pit. If you head to Bash Bish Brook, you have the potential to catch big brown trout. In the old iron ore pit, the rainbow trout will hopefully be biting. If you are going to fish at Taconic State Park, you will need a New York State Freshwater Fishing License. Licenses aren't available at the park, but they can be purchased from select locations in town.
Within Taconic State Park is an area known as the Ore Pit Pond where you can cool off during the summertime, so don't forget to pack your bathing suit in the Airstream. This freshwater catchment has a small swim area with a separate smaller wading pool for young children. The water is very deep and clear, perfect for taking a dip. A lifeguard will be on patrol in Ore Pit Pond, and the swimming area is roped off. Once you are finished swimming, there is a lovely grassed area overlooking the pond where you can relax or enjoy a picnic.
Hunting is a popular pastime for both visitors and locals in Taconic State Park. Some of the animals that people hunt in the park include rabbits, hare, squirrel, fox, and ruffed grouse. In season both deer hunting (shotgun/bow) and turkey hunting (bow only) are permitted in designated areas throughout the park. No waterfowl, migration birds, or reptiles are allowed to be hunted. If you want to hunt within the park, a New York State hunting license is required.
The scenic 64-acre Ore Pit Pond is a great spot to take out the boat before the weather gets too cold. Unfortunately, motorized boating is not permitted in the pond, but there are rowboats and canoes available to rent from the park if you didn't haul your own paddle boat behind the camper. If you are a visitor, who has a regional boating permit (also available for purchase at the Park Office), you are allowed to launch your rowboats, canoes, or kayaks yourself.
If you seek to learn about both history and nature, don't miss the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. Two sections of old railroads that were once part of the New York City rail extension are now an interpretive trail open to the public. In total, 15 paved miles will take you through stunning rural Dutchess and Columbia County landscapes. In the autumn, this stretch is especially awe-inspiring. The fall foliage and the crisp air make for a perfect hike or bike ride.
Although the campground within the park does not stay open during the winter months, there is still plenty to do once the snow sticks. Trails once used for hiking and biking are converted to cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails for the winter. Take in the scenic views of the frost-covered area while you trek through this winter wonderland. After a day of fun in the cold temperatures, you'll be glad to warm back up in the camper.