the May 3, 2000 issue of The Advocate, I wrote a front-page article: “New Segment of Mahican-Mohawk Trail makes summit
This is currently the western-most segment of this trail,
which attempts to recreate trails in Massachusetts and New York between the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers, much like those
once used by Native Americans in this region. As natives had to cross over what we now call the Hoosac Mountain Range to points
east, they undoubtedly traveled through these woods.
As I wrote 14 yeaars ago,
“This section of the trail runs from the Wigwam Western Summit at the top of the mountain and descends through scenic
woods about three-quarters of a mile to the lower Mohawk Trail and the new trailhead.”
The Mohawk Trail is, of course, also known as Route 2. The trailhead is about a half mile down from West Shaft Road
on the right as you head north toward the hairpin turn. In fact, the 100th anniversary of the Mohawk Trail is now being observed.
The trail head at that time had a sign and a dirt parking lot.
On Saturday, April 28, 2000, I descended the trail (I had parked below and joined a carpool to the top) with about
10 other people. As I recall, the people were moving pretty fast and the hike did not take a long time.
Over the years, I never did come back and hike the trail from the bottom to the top, as I had intended,
though I thought about it once in a while. As time passed, however, the parking area grew in and then the sign seemed to disappear
and I gave up the idea entirely.
Then in 2010 I moved to the mobile home park across the
street from the trail head. Coincidentally, workers were at this time putting in a real paved parking lot for the trail, hauling
in big boulders to create a semi-enclosed space. I just had to hike the trail then, and so I did. What I rediscovered is that,
unsurprisingly, it is rather steep in several places. And though it is, as one old sign near the summit says, .84 of a mile
from trail head to trail head, it takes a good hour to hike to the top.
this is a good hike and you get the satisfaction of actually climbing a mountain. The trail to the top is a collection of
several fragments of trails, some old roads or logging roads (Route 2 once took a different route up the mountain, including
through these woods.)
The trail is marked with circular Mahican-Mohawk Trail markers
and by oranage and yellow paint blazes on trees. The steepness is compensated for by many switchbacks as you head generally
northeast up the mountain. As you rise on the mountain, you gradually stop hearing car traffic on Route 2 below and start
hearing it on Route 2 above.
You come out at the top on the northern side of the parking
lot of the Wigwam. Don’t be surprised if you hear voices from the parking lot or the observation deck. That the Wigwam
has recently reopened under new ownership is a bonus, and on a recent hike I bought a bottle of water from the food trailer
Over the years, I have wondered at how few people actually seem to make this hike. I think the steepness
has much to do with it, though there are parts of the Appalachian Trail in this area which are as steep or steeper, such as
the climb up Mount Prospect in the Greylock Reservation from either the north or south.
I thought the additon of the new Hoosac Range Trail, which starts about a tenth of a mile east down Route 2 from the
Wigwam, would add to the popularity of this little segment of the Mahican-Mohawk Trail but it hasn’t. Yet, some
people do use this trail to hike, others to hunt.
If you decide to give
it a try, know that the trail actually starts north of the parking lot. Walk about 20-30 feet inside the guard rail and you
will see it descending to the right through the tall grass.