view from mount meadow

The view from the former camp takes in Greylock through the trees.

This low-snow winter (so far) favored walking over skiing, which gave me the opportunity to return to the northern portion of the Trustees of Reservations’ Mountain Meadow Preserve, in Pownal, Vt. on foot recently.

I did get in a couple ski runs there earlier but, as elsewhere at lower elevations, this winter’s storms were more rain and ice than powder: micro spikes rather than skis the proper accessories. It is always good to get back to this property, by whatever means. A 1.5-mile tour includes the somewhat occluded view from the site of Mausert’s Camp.

a dog on mount meadow

Dogs on leashes are welcome at Mountain Meadow.

This winter, the Trustees replaced the map, both on the kiosks and on wayfinding posts, making it easier to find your way. They are transitioning away from paper hand-out maps, by the way. The new map shows the State Line Trail and the potions of the trail system that are on Williamstown conservation land. There are numerous informal trails on the property: those on the map are marked and maintained. The property is open to dogs on leashes.

To get to this part of the Mountain Meadow Preserve from most of Berkshire County, follow Route 7 through Williamstown, crossing the Hoosic River. Take the next right on North Hoosac Road and then a left on White Oaks Road. Continue on White Oaks past where it becomes gravel, at the Vermont line, then swings left. Where it bears right, go straight on Benedict Road. Trailhead parking is on the left. The lot is beaten down rather than plowed. Further warning, come the thaw, the gravel roads may be soft.

Mount Meadow field

The mixture of forests and fields at Mountain Meadows increases the diversity of plants and animals.

The trail departs by the kiosk. It climbs gradually, takes a couple turns and through a stone wall and then left on an old road. This portion is not blazed, although signs show the way. The topography is far from natural. The site was mined for gravel before the Trustees took it over. You can see where mounds surround pits. Yet the pine and maple forest grows back regardless.

Continue straight on the Oak Loop, blazed yellow, which descends to a denuded area then enters the woods again. Turn left at the top of a right corner, and then, soon, right on the State Line Trail, blazed blue. Small brown signs provide directions. Actually you are well over the state line into Massachusetts.

Turn left on the Mausert’s Camp Trail to gain a bit of elevation—although nothing too strenuous. You come out at a chimney, which is all that remains of the camp after a fire. The view, best with no leaves on the trees, is south to Greylock.

Follow back down the camp trail, past the State Line Trail, and onto the Grace Greylock Niles Trail. She was a botanist and writer who lived on this land. Turn left and then straight at a fork in the meadow. Again, there are signs at all intersections, now including small versions of the map. You are back on the Oak Loop. Then left to follow the signs to Benedict Road parking.

Numerous other trails, some more strenuous than those you just hiked, beckon for your return trip. This is a peaceful spot, where you can watch nature healing what man disrupted. Happy trails to you.

Lauren R. Stevens is author of “50 Hikes in the Berkshire Hills,” Countryman Press/W.W. Norton, 2016.