Among Williamstown's unique assets is the great number and variety of recreational trails, highly valued by residents and visitors. In fact, promoting Williamstown as a Town of Trails was one of the action items that resulted from the last Master Planning effort in 2004. Whether you enjoy a lunchtime jaunt to the top of Stone Hill, or a weekend climb to the top of Mount Greylock, there is a trail with a great reward to suit your abilities and interests.
Why not celebrate Earth Day by getting out and exploring Williamstown trails? Early spring is a great time to hike. The woods are open, there are no bugs, streams are rushing, and the first wildflowers are beginning to unfurl from the forest floor.
Trailing Arbutus or Mayflower, the state flower of Massachusetts, is one of the first woodland wildflowers to blossom, sometimes sending its buds up from under the snow. The delicately pink and sweet scented flowers bloom close to the ground in exposed areas along both the Chestnut Trail on Pine Cobble and the Broad Brook Trail, among others.
Woodland wildflowers like Arbutus, Red Trillium, Dutchman's Breeches, and Trout Lily are known as spring ephemerals, and they must quickly grow, bloom, attract pollinators, and set seed before the canopy leafs out and blocks the sun. The best wildflower sites are found in rich woods that have been relatively undisturbed over time. The Trustees of Reservations' Field Farm property is an example of a prime wildflower site.
For a panoramic view of our incomparable North Berkshire scenery, try the Pine Cobble Trail. Pine Cobble is one of Williamstown's most popular hikes, featuring an expanse of 600-million-year-old quartzite cliffs overlooking northern Berkshire County from an elevation of 2,100 feet.
For easy and fun family outings, visit the WRLF's Berlin Road property off Berlin Road, where a short hike leads to a platform overlooking a small waterfall on the upper reaches of Hemlock Brook. Sheep Hill, the WRLF headquarters, is also a good family destination. The Nature Cabin is always open and stocked with nature discovery backpacks to borrow for a hike of the meadow trails or pond exploration. The view from the top of Sheep Hill to Mount Greylock is well worth the climb in all seasons.
If you would like to participate in a more organized event for Earth Day, join the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation for a spring bird and ecology walk on Saturday April 20 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Sheep Hill. This walk is suitable for bird enthusiasts of all skill levels. After the walk join WRLF for a spring cleanup of the Sheep Hill campus.
Williamstown trails offer the opportunity for everyone to get outside and discover new places. Whether you are a serious hiker or want a more leisurely discovery walk, there is a trail that will meet your needs. For more information about area trails, visit the WRLF Website, www.wrlf,.org, or check out the Williams Outing Club North Berkshire guide and map, available at local retailers.