Sheep Hill Trails
Two scenic walking loops (one an easy half-hour, one a not-so-easy 45 minutes) for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing
Located approximately 1.5 miles south of the center of Williamstown on Routes 2 & 7 at a gravel driveway marking the entrance to Sheep Hill and the WRLF headquarters, the former Rosenburg Farm. These trails offers dramatic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Sheep Hill formerly hosted a family farm and ski area for the town and Williams College. Two short walks traverse the hillside meadow, providing a pleasant way to enjoy viewing the dramatic scenery and diverse flora and fauna. Both trails begin from the cluster of old farm buildings. Rosenburg Ramble begins north of the barns, looping around the entire property for approximately 1- 1/2 miles. Several parking areas are situated at the top of the hillside where the panoramic views of the Greylock range are dramatic in all seasons and are accessible from Bee Hill Road. The Rosenburg Ramble terminates south of the farm buildings, where the Meadow Walk begins. The Meadow Walk is a short, easy way to enjoy the views of Sheep Hill, and loops around the pond at the foot of the hillside.
The Phelps Trail
Moderately strenuous, 1.5 miles, 2-1/2 hours, hiking
Located in Williamstown on the west side of Oblong Road approximately a quarter mile south of its intersection with Sloan Road. The trail climbs through land purchased by the Commonwealth as part of the Phelps Farm Preservation Project. Blue blazes mark the Phelps Trail from Oblong Road to the Taconic Crest Trail. The trail features a 1300-foot elevation gain, making for a somewhat strenuous two to two-and-a-half hour round-trip. The climbing, however, is worth the effort, for the trail passes through an open meadow, a pine grove, along the crest of a remarkably sharp ridge, through two-century-old rock walls, and numerous glades of ferns. Parking is available at the trailhead, along with maps of the Phelps Trail, the Taconic Crest Trail, and its access trails.
Pine Cobble Trail
Moderate to strenuous, 2.1 miles, allow 2 hours for hiking
Featuring some of the most spectacular views in the area, the 2.1 mile, blue-blazed Pine Cobble Trail begins 0.1 mile north of North Hoosac Road on Pine Cobble Road in Williamstown, climbs to the summit of East Mountain, and then continues another half mile to intersect with the Appalachian Trail in Clarksburg. The trail runs on land owned by Williams College, the WRLF, Mass DCR, and private owners, and is maintained by the Williams Outing Club and the WRLF. The unique oak forest is interspersed with white pine, the rarer pitch pine, and a diverse fauna and flora. Pine Cobble features an expanse of gray, Cambrian-age Cheshire quartzite cliffs overlooking Northern Berkshire County from an elevation of 2,100 feet. These cliffs make for impressive year-round vistas, and unmatched viewing of fall foliage in the valley to the west.
The Chestnut Trail
Moderate, 1.5 miles, allow 1-1/2 hours for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing
The Chestnut Trail begins at the north end of Chestnut Street, which is located off the north side of North Hoosac Road 0.1 miles west of its intersection with Cole Avenue. . A woods road marked with a cable and a sign welcoming hikers, it is an alternate route to the Pine Cobble summit. The land was donated to the WRLF in 2006. The trail follows the road through a beautiful oak forest to an area of ledges and massive tumbled boulders. Where the Chestnut Trail intersects with the Class of 1998 Trail, turn right to continue to the Pine Cobble Trail. Or turn left to view the ledges and the accompanying mountain laurel display in June.
The Hopper Trails
Hopper Brook Loop - easy, 3/4 miles, 45 minutes, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing.
Haley Farm Trail - strenuous, 1.5 mile, 2 1/2 hours, hiking
The Hopper Brook Loop and Haley Farm Trail begin at the eastern end of Hopper Road at the western entrance to the Mount Greylock State Reservation. Two miles east of the intersection of Hopper Road with Route 43 (Green River Rd.) is a designated parking area. Farming still continues on the former Haley and Greene farms purchased by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide public access to Mt. Greylock. All trails begin at the gates at the road's end. The Money Brook and Hopper Trails to the summit also originate here.
Hopper Brook Loop - Easy, ¾ mile, 45 minutes, hiking, snowshoeing and X-C skiing. The trail begins at the end of the north hayfield, going in on the left along a stonewall. The trail goes downhill through an old pasture toward Hopper Brook. The grassy meadow is an inviting resting or picnic area. The trail joins the road near the campsites. To complete the loop, turn uphill on the road.
Haley Farm Trail - Strenuous, 1.5 mile, 2 ½ hours, hiking. The trail crosses a pasture and enters a woods area rich with spring wildflowers. The trail climbs steadily to end at Stony Ledge, offering panoramic views of the Hopper and the Greylock Range. Walk to the east on Sperry Road to where the Hopper Trail intersects on the left for a less steep route back into the Hopper entrance.
Hoosic River Nature Trail
Short interpretive walking trail
The Hoosic River Nature Trail is an in-town interpretive walking trail along the Hoosic River on Town of Williamstown property. The trail is a project of the WRLF and the Hoosic River Watershed Association (HooRWA). The trail begins off Elm and Mill Streets, in Williamstown's historic Mill Village neighborhood, and introduces users to the importance of riparian areas. Limited off-road parking is available at the end of Mill Street. The site can be reached by turning east off Cole Avenue onto Arnold Street, and then left on Elm Street to its intersection with Mill Street.
The Berlin Road Trail System
Easy, 1.5 miles, 1 hour, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing
The WRLF Berlin Road trails are located on Berlin Road on property acquired in 1997 by the WRLF. They can be reached from Route 2 west (The Taconic Trail) by turning left onto Torrey Woods Road, then continuing straight ahead onto Berlin Road where the road becomes gravel. Parking is on the left about 4/10ths of a mile past the last house. The entrance to the Class of '33 trail is 100 yards to the east of (downhill from) the parking area.
The blue-blazed trails are on relatively flat and easy terrain and include a one-hour loop across the WRLF property and adjoining Town of Williamstown property, a scenic overlook and interpretive signs. The trail follows a logging road, crosses the brook and then climbs to a woods road to an old ski area at the top of Berlin Road. Take the road back to the trailhead.
The Waterfall Trail is a short spur off the first part of the trail, making for a short but rewarding hike. The great variety of flora and fauna that have been identified on the property, along with several charcoal pits and other curiosities, are reflected in the interpretive signs and markings placed along the trail. The interpretive signs also chronicle the history of logging and forest recovery on the property.
LINKS TO OTHER LOCAL HIKING ATTRACTIONS: