The Pine Cobble Trail
1.6 m (3.2 m out and back). Moderate-to-strenuous. Some steep stretches. Allow about two hours, plus time to linger at the top. Longer loops are possible.
Directions from Sheep Hill kiosk:
Go left out of the driveway on Cold Spring Rd. (Rt. 7) into town. Right on Main St. (Rt. 2 E) and left at the traffic light (Cole Ave.) At the end, turn R on No. Hoosac Rd. and go 0.4 m and turn L on Pine Cobble Rd. Then 0.2 m to trailhead on R. Park on L.
Directions from Spring St. trail kiosk:
Go around corner onto Latham St., and turn L at the end onto Water St. Proceed to end at Main St. Go R on Main and quick L at traffic light (Cole Ave.) At the end, turn R on No. Hoosac Rd. and after 0.4 m go L on Pine Cobble Rd. Then 0.2 m to trailhead on R. Park on L.
Trail climbs through an oak forest (where you can find five kinds of oak — red, black, white, scarlet, and chestnut), past an unmarked right turn (leading down to Bear Spring) and a marked left turn (“Class of ’98 Trail”). If you are hiking in June, you will see a fine display of mountain laurel in flower. Then a steep climb to a large sign and a marked turnoff (R) to “Pine Cobble.” Then left when trail splits, over quartzite outcroppings (a “cobble” is a rounded outcropping, and you will walk through a rare pitch-pine habitat), for a big view east toward North Adams, or right for an equally splendid view of Williamstown. Elevation gain: 1100?. Return by retracing steps. If you continue uphill on the main trail 0.5 m you reach the Appalachian Trail.