Sunset Rock Trail, Taconic State Park, New York

Copake Falls, NY
Length: 1.50 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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ACTIVITIES: Hiking, birding, boulder scrambling

LENGTH OF HIKES: 1.5 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back



PARKING FEE/PASS: $7/vehicle








POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Ticks, rocky ground and short ledges,
scant poison ivy, rattlesnakes

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Hiking poles, sunscreen, bug spray

The Sunset Rock Trail at Taconic State Park is a favorite of Hike it Baby Columbia County. It’s located in the southeast corner of the county, where the Taconics meet the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley. The trail is named for the highlight of the
trek: a rocky ledge in a small clearing, looking out over a 180-degree vista of the rolling Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.

There are two ways to get there: a 3- or 5-mile loop for older kids and fit parents looking for a workout while carrying, and a brief, 1-mile there-and-back trail perfect for toddlers, new walkers, and adults who are up for something mellower.

The air is fresh, the lichens and ferns grow like crazy, there are hobbit-like corridors through mountain laurel and scrub oak and pine, wildflowers in spring and summer, and of course, Sunset Rock itself is great for picnicking and scrambling!

To make the hike to Sunset Rock into a 3-plus mile trail with substantial elevation gain, park at the entrance to Taconic State Park off Route 344 in Copake Falls, and check out the map by the HQ office. This is recommended for fit adults carrying
smaller kiddos.

Maybe the best thing about the Sunset Rock Trail is that it’s nearby so many other gorgeous trails that straddle the Taconic range. Bash Bish Falls (can be done with a rugged stroller), Guilder Pond Loop, and the Appalachian Trail to the Mount Everett Summit (recommended for carry/preschool for the first, toddler/carry/rugged stroller up to big views for the second); and the entire South Taconic Trail connects the Copake Falls portion of the park to the southern Rudd Pond portion just outside Millerton.

Finally, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail runs along the park at the base of the mountains and offers a wonderful, safe riding experience for families through woods and farmland (and cross-country skiing in winter).

Taconic State Park has a nice playground and a shallow, freshwater splash pool in the summertime. If you like exploring back-mountain roads and the kids need a nap, drive through the mountains into Massachusetts, and make your way to Great
Barrington for sightseeing in the Berkshires, restaurants, ice cream, and many other outdoor pursuits. If staying closer to the trail, Cross Roads Food Shop in Hillsdale is the family-friendly local food place to go for breakfast and lunch. Hillsdale is on the way to Hudson, New York, and the rest of the Hudson Valley/Capital Region, with plenty of sightseeing and natural areas to explore.

One thing to consider when hiking here: Disease carrying ticks are always a risk in the area. Dress appropriately, check and brush clothes with a lintroller post-hike, and check again during bath and before bedtime. Also, rattlesnakes live here, but
rarely pose a threat. Just be aware.

Lastly, Sunset Rock rests on a ledge outcrop. There is no big drop-off, but plenty of small ledges that older children will find fun, but that are dangerous for babies and
wobbly toddlers.

Best time of year to visit: anytime! If it’s cloudy and there’s no view, the trail is still worth it. Every season has its beauty: Spring wildflowers, summer blooms and greenery, fall leaf colors, and winter all have their own quiet beauty. Remember that it is always colder and windier up at the top of the Sunset Rock Trail. Bring two extra layers of clothing appropriate for a mild climb in the day’s worst forecast.

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Trail Features

Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 150 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Viewpoint, and Wildlife Viewing

“The Sunset Rock Trail at Taconic State Park, Copake Falls, is one of our favorite trails in Columbia County. There is a gentle climb, then a long, flat, wooded corridor, followed by hobbit tunnels through the mountain laurel and pine. At the summit is the Sunset Rock, great for very low-key bouldering, exploring, and picnicking. This is a peaceful place to come—it is quiet and feels far away but is pretty easy for anyone with a car to get to.” —JILL JAKIMETZ

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $7.00


Trail Contributor

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Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.


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