Birch knobview

Captions: The knob in Taconic Trails State Forest provides a view of Greylock and the Taconics.

As you drive up Route 2, the section known as the Taconic Trail, from where it departs Route 7 in South Williamstown to Petersburgh Pass, you note the open field on the right, about two-thirds of the way up. That would be an interesting place to explore, you think. And having thought that multiple times, you turn onto the pullover across the way to check it out. It turns out that the field is a trail nexus.

Birch Hill signs

The Hunter Family Trail meets Bob’s Ski Trail near the summit of Birch Hill.

You cross the road carefully. Just beyond the gate to Taconic Trail State Park a kiosk tells all (or almost all). Trails run to all the compass points. Had you now crossed the road, from just below the guard rails you could take the Tenney Hill Trail west or the Sara Tenney Trail north to Petersburgh Pass. Just inside the gate, the Triple-R Brooks Trails descends, having, with the Shepard’s Well Trail, met the Taconic Crest Trail on the other side of Route 2 from the old Petersburgh Pass ski area. As you start out on the old road, Triple-R soon turns right, south, through Flora Glen to Bee Hill Road near its start. A bit further along, the Sara Tenney continues south, eventually to join Triple-R. Straight ahead the old road continues, this route not yet on the map because the road is too incised and tree-covered to use, although you can pick your way along the edge. You cross a field and arrive at the maintained portion of Petersburgh Road, an extension of Main Street in Williamstown heading west. For a 2.5-mile introduction to the area, take Sara Tenney south. It leads you up to a knob with excellent views of Greylock and the Taconics. Then you descend to an intersection. Straight is Bob’s Ski Trail, advertised as an easier route to the ridge. Following the adage of climb the steeper and descend the gentler, turn right to stay on Sara Tenney — with the warning that the steep is indeed steeper.

Birch Sara

A spur departs the Sara Tenney Trail in the open field before it plunges into the woods.

First, though you follow a gentle descent, passing a stub trail that connects with Bob’s Ski Trail. After about a mile the Hunter Family Trail goes up to the left. All the intersections are well-marked. All the trails are blazed blue. This is a quarter-mile climb, somewhat eased by an alternate route. You meet Bob’s Ski Trail to the right, just a bit below the high point of Birch Hill. “Bob” is Bob Hatton, Williamstown’s trailmeister, responsible for making dozens of trails. His characteristic brown signs have guided hundreds as they explore the woods. So you climb a bit more and then begin the gradual descent, eventually passing that stub trail and rejoining Sara Tenney. You have the choice to return to the knob for the views or to skirt it, on your way back to Petersburgh Road extension. Petersburgh Road was in the 18th century one of several competing routes to get over the Taconics into New York State. The northern part of Sara Tenney follows another. Sara, by the way, is the scion of the family whose land became Taconic Trails State Park. So now you’ve been introduced to the Birch Hill area. Dollars to doughnuts, you will return. Happy Trails to you.

Eagle correspondent

As you drive up Route 2, the section known as the Taconic Trail, from where it departs Route 7 in South Williamstown to Petersburgh Pass, you note the open field on the right, about two-thirds of the way up. That would be an interesting place to explore, you think. And having thought that multiple times, you turn onto the pullover across the way to check it out. It turns out that the field is a trail nexus.

Birch Hill signs

The Hunter Family Trail meets Bob’s Ski Trail near the summit of Birch Hill.

You cross the road carefully. Just beyond the gate to Taconic Trail State Park a kiosk tells all (or almost all). Trails run to all the compass points. Had you now crossed the road, from just below the guard rails you could take the Tenney Hill Trail west or the Sara Tenney Trail north to Petersburgh Pass. Just inside the gate, the Triple-R Brooks Trails descends, having, with the Shepard’s Well Trail, met the Taconic Crest Trail on the other side of Route 2 from the old Petersburgh Pass ski area.

As you start out on the old road, Triple-R soon turns right, south, through Flora Glen to Bee Hill Road near its start. A bit further along, the Sara Tenney continues south, eventually to join Triple-R. Straight ahead the old road continues, this route not yet on the map because the road is too incised and tree-covered to use, although you can pick your way along the edge. You cross a field and arrive at the maintained portion of Petersburgh Road, an extension of Main Street in Williamstown heading west.

For a 2.5-mile introduction to the area, take Sara Tenney south. It leads you up to a knob with excellent views of Greylock and the Taconics. Then you descend to an intersection. Straight is Bob’s Ski Trail, advertised as an easier route to the ridge. Following the adage of climb the steeper and descend the gentler, turn right to stay on Sara Tenney — with the warning that the steep is indeed steeper.

Birch Sara

A spur departs the Sara Tenney Trail in the open field before it plunges into the woods.

First, though you follow a gentle descent, passing a stub trail that connects with Bob’s Ski Trail. After about a mile the Hunter Family Trail goes up to the left. All the intersections are well-marked. All the trails are blazed blue. This is a quarter-mile climb, somewhat eased by an alternate route. You meet Bob’s Ski Trail to the right, just a bit below the high point of Birch Hill. “Bob” is Bob Hatton, Williamstown’s trailmeister, responsible for making dozens of trails. His characteristic brown signs have guided hundreds as they explore the woods.

So you climb a bit more and then begin the gradual descent, eventually passing that stub trail and rejoining Sara Tenney. You have the choice to return to the knob for the views or to skirt it, on your way back to Petersburgh Road extension.

Petersburgh Road was in the 18th century one of several competing routes to get over the Taconics into New York State. The northern part of Sara Tenney follows another. Sara, by the way, is the scion of the family whose land became Taconic Trails State Park.

So now you’ve been introduced to the Birch Hill area. Dollars to doughnuts, you will return. Happy Trails to you.

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

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