Saturday, March 10, 2018

Short Hike #2: Snowshoeing at The Clark

Looking toward Williamstown Village from the Stone Hill viewpoint

I didn't have a ton of time this afternoon, but I wanted to play in the snow a little bit while we still had some. So off to Williamstown I went, where there's a good 2 feet on the ground after Wednesday's storm. I had heard about the network of trails at the Clark Art Institute and, since I had never been there although living so close, I figured it was a good destination for the day. Parking at the uppermost parking lot, far removed from the crowds at the museum galleries, I strapped on the snowshoes and headed into the woods, figuring I could do an easy 1-2 mile stroll.

Trail map at the trailhead

Easy? Maybe not, as I was generally breaking my own trail. Immediately after crossing a bridge, I took a left onto the Pasture Trail, ascending through the woods. I passed through a gate and walked onto the meadow giving this trail its name. During the summer, this meadow is home to a local farmer's cows and horses. No trail could be seen, so I struck out across the deep snow to what appeared to be the high point marked on the trail map as a "scenic view". And scenic that view was.

The beautiful village of Williamstown. Pine Cobble is in the background. 
Looking east toward North Adams

What goes up must go down, so I went down to the north, exiting through a gate at the north end of the meadow. I walked along the fence to the broken-out Nan Path and turned left. There was a gate at this end of the meadow and I will keep that in mind for future visits.

Bridge after turning on the Nan Path

At the far side of the bridge shown above, the Howard Path branches off to the right, and the Howard Path I took. This path was unbroken and, although I could see outlines of steps along the trail, my snowshoes did not feel steps as I descended to a creek.

The Howard Path

After the creek, it was an uphill stroll through the edge of the woods back to my car. While I only hiked slightly less than a mile, it took nearly an hour between breaking a trail and admiring the views.

I definitely need to get back to the Clark at some point when I can stop inside and view the artwork, but the trails are certainly worth a visit in the warmer months, too.

Getting Here

The Clark is located on South Street approximately 0.4 mile south of the Williamstown village center. Multiple parking lots are on the property, with the southernmost being best if you are only here to walk around the property.


The Clark Campus information. Trail maps and information about the museum.

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