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Friday, May 20, 2016

Flag Rock(Berkshires)

Did an easy walk this afternoon at a relatively unknown Berkshire treasure known as Flag Rock.  Flag Rock is a small open rock peak located on the west side of Monument Mountain, and overlooks the tiny village of Housatonic.  While being unknown to outsiders, the locals know this place very well.  Finding the trail head can be a bit tricky.  Look for matted down grass and a tiny path entering the woods on the east side of Route 183, just north of Ramsdell Road next to a utility pole, and across from an open field owned by Taft Farms. Access is also available from the Trustees of Reservations Monument Mountain property, which recently(2014) acquired Flag Rock.
I followed an obvious, but unmarked foot path into the woods, which starts heading east then north.
 The trail is wide and easy to follow, soon arriving at a fork in the trail.  Stay left here.
 I passed by many large depressions beside the trail.
As you near Flag Rock, the woods to your left begin to climb dramatically and boulder strewn.
 I passed by this HUGE boulder along the trail(photo didn't do justice).
 After about 1.8 miles, I arrived at another fork in the trail.  This time I turned left again, climbing steeply on a less obvious foot path.  The woods change from hardwoods to soft before emerging at an opening at the summit area.
 Flag Rock.
The views to the west from the rocky 1454 foot summit are fabulous.  The village of Housatonic lies steeply below, with Tom Ball Mountain rising beyond.
 Downtown Housatonic.
 Looking southwest towards the Southern Taconic Range. Mount Everett is the high point along the ridge.
 Unfortunately the bare, rocky cliffs are filled with graffiti, but the views more than make up for it.  The drop off is precipitous so good footing is a must.
 Looking back up at Flag Rock.
 Looking directly west towards distant New York peaks beyond the ridgeline.
After enjoying the summit area, I finally turned back, enjoying a peaceful walk through the quiet woods on a beautiful 70 degree, sunny afternoon.
A great after work hike, with some climbing(elevation gain 650 feet) in 3.8 miles RT.

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