Thursday, March 22, 2012

Petticoat Hill

Today we visited Petticoat Hill, in Williamsburg.  Petticoat Hill is a 60 acre tract of land owned by the Trustees of Reservation.  It’s very simple to get to, just get on route 9 in Williamsburg and look for Petticoat Rd.  It’s right near the general store.  Petticoat Hill is actually on land that is owned by the Williamsburg Water District.  The Trustees own the land that Scott Hill is on.  With the help from the Williamsburg Woodland Trails Committee a new loop trail was created, called Locke’s Loop.  The trail helps to make a nice loop up and around the area.  The total hike is around 1.5 miles and compared to the trails in Mass it’s a strenuous hike.  I picked a rough day to go on a strenuous hike because the overhead display on the Dodge Ram read 82 degrees.  I don’t like to hike when it’s over 75 degrees but I decided to throw caution to the wind.  Usually you can find me on the water when it’s over 75.  

Petticoat Hill is one of the hills that raise over 1000 feet, similar to the Holyoke Mountain Range.  Speaking of the Holyoke range, in the 1800s from the top you could see the Range, the Connecticut River, and Mount Tom.  Over the years as the farms have dwindled the forest has grown up and blocked the views from the top.  Now you may be wondering why the name Petticoat Hill.  Well legend has it that the daughters of the farmer in the 1800s would hang their petticoats to dry and were seen for miles.

We arrived at the parking area at about noon and noticed right away that the parking is not truck friendly.  With a quad cab truck I had to angle my truck so I wouldn’t hog the whole area.  From the get go you hike straight up.  There is essentially two loop trails which resemble a figure eight.  We started with the intention of taking the left side of the trail all the way up to Locke’s Loop and coming around back to the truck.  The hike was steep at first then leveled out once you got to Locke’s Loop.  The loop trail walks along side of the mountain until you sweep around the back and make one final ascent to the summit.  If you decided to go this way be careful to watch for trail markers.  Since the trail is on private property there are other trails cut.  If you walk up to what looks to be a dirt road and a creek, you’ve gone to far.  Turnaround and look for the trail that goes up the hill.  We arrived at the scenic vista but with the grownup forest the view was blocked a little.  We eventually arrived back to the main trail and walked back to the vehicle.  Due to the heat and me being overly cautious about staying on trail I didn’t get to experience all the trail had to offer.  There is an old cellar hole that I missed.  If you’re strictly a “view hiker” then you probably don’t want to try this hike.  If you enjoy just being out in the woods and enjoy historical aspects of the trail then by all means give it a shot.  It’s a very good workout for a 1.5 mile trail.  On the way out don’t forget to stop by the general store and look around.

For a trail map click here.

For more on Petticoat Hill click here.

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