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This is a guide to some nearby hikes, with notes on duration, difficulty, views, and other things that came to mind. Please contribute details to routes you know, and add any hikes not on the list already. Enjoy the Mountains!
- 1 Bellows Pipe Trail
- 2 The Dome
- 3 Pine Cobble
- 4 Money Brook Trail
- 5 Stone Hill
- 6 Snow Hole
- 7 Mt. Berlin
- 8 Mt. Greylock
- 9 Other Resources
Bellows Pipe Trail
The Dome is that big mountain you see behind Mission if you're standing on Mission Hill. The hike primarily follows woods roads in various states of no longer being used. There is one particularly confusing spot. The trail emerges from the woods on an old woods road to an intersection with a much more recently used dirt road. Straight ahead, the trail seems to continue past an old rusted pickup truck hulk. In fact, you should turn to the right and follow the old woods road that leaves the more used one. Soon you'll see blazes directing you onward. Near the top, the trail leaves the woods roads and becomes a rough trail through the woods. This hike is not often done, and the condition of the trail is a testament to this. The view from the top is, unfortunately, quite limited, but there are little pieces of views here and there. What you do get for your exertions is a beautiful sunny outcropping surrounded by evergreens. Since it is little-traveled, solitude is most likely to be found.
To reach the trailhead, follow Route 7 North from campus over the Hoosic River. Turn at the second right onto Sand Springs Road. Take the first left. This is a weird intersection. Three roads branch off from it, all headed north of the road you're on, which officially becomes Bridges Road here. Anyway, you want the middle of the three branches. (Both the leftmost and the middle ones seem to be named Sand Springs Road.) When you come to a T intersection, turn left onto White Oaks Road, and follow this past Brook Road (on your left), across the Vermont border (there's a little marker and the road surface changes). Continue until you reach a parking area (probably beat up and littered) on the right just before you cross a stream. If you come to a sharp turn to the left, you've gone too far. The trail starts here and heads out to the right of the road, through a field, and onto a woods road.
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Pine Cobble is a popular short hike for good reason. It is located quite close to campus and offers grand views of the Purple Valley and the surrounding mountains and valleys.
From the trailhead, the trail goes through the woods, gradually climbing and crossing numerous old logging roads. Be careful to pay attention to the trail, as it is easy to follow one of these accidentally instead of the trail. In one particular spot, the trail is headed uphill and turns right suddenly, though there is an old logging road straight ahead. It also passes right behind a house in the Pine Cobble Development. At somewhere near half a mile in, the ground levels off (here, you're at the old shore of Lake Bascom). Around three quarters of a mile in, the trail reaches the end of the level ground and turns to the left, with an intriguing ravine opening to the right. At 0.8 miles is an intersection with the Class of '98 Trail, which leads to the Chestnut Trail in turn. The Pine Cobble Trail continues straight at the intersection, and soon turns right, heading up a steeper rockier section. After looping around to the left again, all the while ascending, the trail eventually reaches an intriguing three-trunked tree (oak?) in the middle of the trail. Between the three trunks is a hollow which is always full of water (or ice). From here, the trail goes a short distance further and turns right, heading up an abrupt steep section to the top of the ridge at one 1.5 miles. Here, there is an intersection. The trail to the left leads another half mile to an intersection with the Appalachian Trail. To the right is the trail(s) to the summit. Walking along the ridge on this trail, there are two good views. To the right is a small outcropping where you can see the Purple Valley with the Taconic Range beyond. Most of campus is visible from here. Farther along is the summit. Down to the left, there is a large cliff/rock outcropping area with wide views to the east towards North Adams and the Hoosic Valley. The Greylock Range is in view to the right (south). Beyond North Adams is the ridge that Route 2 climbs. If you hike up before sunrise on a clear enough day, you can see headlights coming over the ridge and down.
Getting There By Foot
To reach the trailhead from campus, walk down past Cole Field to Cole Avenue, or down Cole Avenue. Follow Cole Avenue across the bridge to the intersection with North Hoosac Road. Follow the small road slightly to the right of the intersection on the opposite side of North Hoosac Road. There should be a sign here indicating that the Pine Cobble trailhead is 0.4 miles further east on North Hoosac Road, but that's for cars. Follow the road up past a gate into the Pine Cobble Development. At the intersection here, turn right. The trailhead will be on the left and a parking area on the right a little while later.
Getting There By Car
To reach the trailhead from campus drive down Cole Avenue and cross the bridge to the intersection with North Hoosac Road. Turn right and follow the road for about 0.4 miles to the entrance of the Pine Cobble Development on the left. There should be a small sign indicating that the Pine Cobble Trailhead is near here. Follow this road up a short hill to a parking area on the left. The trailhead is on the left, across the road from the parking area.
Money Brook Trail
Stone Hill offers a nice short walk and a good view of the Purple Valley. The top is an open field with a few great climbing trees. The trail is a short path up the hill through the pasture, starting behind the Clark Art Institute. There are also a few longer trails that head farther afield from here.
From campus, follow South Street from the roundabout. At the Clark, turn in the driveway and head through under the foot bridge thing to the parking area behind the buildings. The trail starts at the far side of the field here, or you can blaze your own and hike up the hill anywhere.
Snow Hole is a big rock crevice and small cave in the ground that has snow even in July, whereas snow in the surrounding area usually melts in May or much earlier. There are multiple approaches.
Trail Description from Petersburg Pass
The hike passes by a gorgeous view of the valley and a blueberry patch. On a clear day, you can see the Hudson Valley to the west, the Catskills to the southwest, and the southern Adirondacks to the northwest. It takes a couple hours round trip. The Taconic Trail heads north here, along the ridge. You'll pass intersections for the Shepard's Well Trail and the Birch Brook Trail, as well as an umarked path to the New York-Vermont-Massachusetts three corners marker. A couple miles in there will be a marked Snow Hole loop, which will take you there in about half a mile.
Getting There (Petersburg Pass)
From campus, follow Route 2 West. Parking is on the right at the crest of Route 2 at Petersburg Pass. The Taconic Trail north trailhead is directly across the road from the parking area.
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Trail Description from Hopkins Forest
Snow Hole is also approachable from Hopkins Forest. From Hopkins Forest, follow the loop trail. The Birch Brook Trail leaves the Upper Loop and continues up the Taconic Ridge to meet the Taconic Trail. From here follow the description of the trail from Petersburg Pass.
Trail Description from RRR Brooks Trail
A longer hike will take you along the RRR Brooks Trail through the beautiful Flora Glen to a clearing near Route 2. Follow the trail onward and then take the Shephard's Well Trail up the ridge to its intersection with the Taconic Trail. From here follow the description of the trail from Petersburg Pass.
Getting There - RRR Brooks Approach
The trailhead for the RRR Brooks Trail starts on Bee Hill Road. Follow Route 7 south from campus. Bee Hill Road is a dirt road which bears off Route 7 to the right, headed uphill. The trailhead is about a quarter mile up the road right after crossing a small bridge and has no parking, just a small sign. There is a parking area about a half mile farther up the road on the right for the Fitch and Running Pines trails.
Mt. Berlin is located on the Taconic Trail, south of Petersburg Pass. There are multiple approach possibilities.
WOC has good info on any of these hikes and you can likely find a group hike or PE trip that will take you there. They also publish a trail guide and map for the Northern Berkshires. Browse their website. Also, check out the Trail Mix series published in the Williams Record in 2003-2004.