Saturday, October 31, 2015

Burnt Knob and Acra Point Loop

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
10/31/2015 6.8 miles 3 hours 53 minutes 1,511' 653.4

Trail Map
Parking: Parking: End of Big Hollow Road

Hike directions:
From the parking area, walk back down the road (the same way you drive in) a short ways.
Turn right into the woods onto the red blazed trail and walk for 1.1 miles.
At the end of the trail, turn left on the blue blazed Escarpment Trail.
Head more steeply up, and check out a nice view on the left side of the trail.
Continue a ways and do a short bushwhack on your right up to the highest point of Burnt Knob.
Return back to the Escarpment Trail and turn left to go back the way you came.
Stay on the Escarpment Trail, passing the red blazed trail that you started on.
Continue to Acra Point. There are many views along the way.
After Acra point continue along a ridge on the Escarpment Trail. The hiking is easy here.
When you reach the yellow blazed trail, take a right (a longer loop can be done by going straight to Blackhead).
Pass the Batavia Kill Shelter. 
The trail crosses the Batavia Kill several times.
At the intersection with the Black Dome trail, continue straight now following the red trail back to the parking lot.

Our intent today was to do a loop of Burnt Knob, Acra Point, and Blackhead. We had tried to do this hike a week ago, but had to turn back before hitting our first summit. This weekend we tried again. Our route was flexible - we could do a shorter loop with 2 summits, or a longer loop with 3 summits. There is one point on the trail where you can make a decision on whether or not you will do the 3rd summit.  We knew we couldn't hike 3.6 miles in the 90 minutes we had left before sunset, so we opted for the shorter route back - only 1.5 easy miles.

The parking area was much, much less crowded than a week ago. I guess the leaf peepers are gone. Last week the drive up the Taconic State Parkway was spectacular. This week, the leaves on the drive up were just shades of brown. 

The start of the hike up the red blazed trail is a gradual uphill. Once you turn onto the Escarpment Trail, the hiking soon becomes more strenuous, but it isn't a long way. We chose a steepish bushwhack up to the Burnt Knob summit. Looking at the map, it looks like you could have a much less steep hike up depending on where you start your bushwhack from the Escarpment Trail. But, it is a very short bushwhack, so we didn't mind. We hiked up to the highest point - no canister of course, and no marking as to what was the highest point, but we walked around a bit until we felt we were on the highest area.

The hike to Acra Point had many views. The views to the west were more open, but the views to the east (town) had much more colorful foliage (and just much more foliage period).

After Acra Point, the hiking was easy along the ridge. We decided we couldn't do Blackhead. So, we turned onto the yellow blazed trail, where we met a group of backpackers at the Batavia Kill Shelter. The trail in this section is often very wet. We continued on down to the intersection with the Black Dome Trail. This intersection is challenging. There is a stream crossing which we've done a couple of times before - that is difficult especially when water is high (which it was). Ugh. I walked up and down the stream trying to see if there was an easy way to cross. Nope. I did find a place that I decided was safe enough. The rocks were partially submerged, but I managed not to slip on any of the rocks and got across without falling in. Once we passed that intersection, the rest of the hike was an easy continuation back to the parking lot. Trek liked the end of the trail - he was in and out of the stream.

End of red trail, turning left towards Burnt Knob (mileage listed above is overstated)

Burnt Knob

View to left of trail, shortly before Burnt Knob summit

Burnt Knob summit

Burnt Knob summit

No bushwhack is complete without at least a little blood

View heading towards Acra Point

Obstructed view to the east - where there is much more foliage

Acra Point - the highest point seemed a little to the side of the trail

Trek, Acra Point

At this point you can choose to do a shorter loop or longer loop

Stream crossing - no easy way across

The trail continues to follow Batavia Kill (with bridges to cross it after the difficult crossing)

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