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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hike to the Snow Hole

Most of the Trail to the Snow Hole is on Hopkins Forest Land

We took a long overdue hike to the Snow Hole located in the Taconic Mountains Monday.  An easy hike since you are already almost at the highest point when you park and simply follow a well-marked, well-worn trail.  Click here for a map of all the Hopkins Memorial Forest trails, including the one to the Snow Hole.

1. Drive east on Route 2 as though you were headed to Williamstown, Massachusetts to the highest point on the Petersburgh Pass, just before the Massachusetts state line.  The parking area is 5-1/2 miles east on Route 2 from the intersection of Routes 22 and 2 in Petersburgh.

2. Slow down when you get to the hiker's road sign on the right.

 3. The parking area is right after the sign below (on your right):

3. Pull into the large, and safely off Rt. 2, parking area on your right.

4. Carefully cross Route 2.  The start of the Taconic Crest Trail is directly across Rt. 2 from the parking area.  There's no sign, simply the start of the trail shown below.  The first 100 yards present a moderately steep -- but quite doable -- climb.

The Snow Hole is 2.7 miles from here -- 5.4 miles total.  With our various stops and slow pace the total hike took about 3 hours.
Always a good idea to sign in.  Note the Taconic Crest Trail marker.  This is a well-marked trail
Most of the trail looks like this.

I spotted a good number of moss-covered white quartz outcroppings.
You will walk through the remnants of a very old apple orchard, an exposed area that was hit by a blow-down, and you will leave the Hopkins Forest in the state of Massachusetts and enter New York State Forest land.  Multiple signs indicate that the trail is closed to mountain bikes, ATVs, four-wheelers, dirt bikes, etc.

After the blow-down area, you hit a grassy area with a fork.  I suspect the break to the right loops around,  but I know going straight ahead (left fork), gets you to the Snow Hole.

And then.... an opening with a fabulous view to the southwest...

You're almost there when you reach these signs.  The arrows point in two directions because there's a loop around the Snow Hole.

One more stretch and then... I've never seen anything like it before.... the Snow Hole!

"The rocks are cleft in several places, and in one to such a depth that the snow and ice remain there through the year.  The snow hole is about 30 feet long and nearly as deep at the east end, ascends to the west or toward the summit of the ridge and is from 10 to 20 feet wide.  When I visited in June the snow was 6 feet deep on ice of unknown depth."

Prof. Chester Dewey of Williams College
American Journal of Science and Arts, 1818, vol. I, page 340

No sign of snow that I could see, but I played it safe and didn't get too close.  I can't imagine what some pioneer thought when he/she came across this thing for the first time!  Whoa!!!!  What the ?????

A very nice hike.  Not difficult, good trail markers, nice path, gorgeous scenic vista, and then this Snow Hole thing!
Other Hikes
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails
The Long Pond Environmental Education Center
Hopkins Forest
Mattison Hollow
Merck Forest & Farmland CenterPark-McCullough House and Trails
Robert Frost Stone House and Museum and Trail
SVC Hikes

See also
Snowhole - Snow in August?


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