When I woke up this morning I decided it would be a good day to go for a hike. Actually, I think the dogs decided it was a good day for a hike. They were up and full of energy at 6 AM. I knew it would be a long day if I didn’t tire them out. I needed some place to go with great views (for me, not the dogs) that wasn’t too far away. So I decided on Berlin Mountain.
Berlin Mountain is the highest point in Rensselaer County, New York at 2,818 feet. It is a moderate physical challenge and easy technical hike. I decided to hike the mountain via the trail head at Petersburg Pass, which is part of the Taconic Crest Trail. The out and back is 5.5 miles.
How Do I Access Berlin Mountain?
I hiked Berlin Mountain via the Taconic Crest Trail. There is a trail head off of Petersburg Pass, which is on Route 2, approximately 5.3 miles east of Petersburg, New York. It is just before the NY/MA border. If you get into Massachusetts you have gone too far. Turn around! The parking lot for the trail is on your right if you are coming from Petersburg. Just before the parking lot there is a yellow road sign warning of hikers crossing that road. When you see that sign you should slow down, as the parking lot is right after.
Hiking the Taconic Crest Trail to Berlin Mountain
My two dogs, Becca and Shipwreck, were my hiking companions on this fine morning. It was a bit overcast, so to be safe I packed my soft shell in my day bag. We signed in at the trail register and hiked south to Berlin Mountain (if you are looking for another adventure, Snow Hole is located on the Taconic Crest Trail to the north. You will have to cross Route 2 to get on the trail). The Taconic Crest Trail is marked with blue square markers with a white diamond in the middle. Follow these all the way to Berlin Mountain.
You will start out hiking on a grassy trail and hike along this for about 0.2 miles until you come to a T at the trail. Take a left to follow Taconic Crest Trail and you will start to gradually climb uphill.
After about half a mile you will begin a steep ascent for approximately 0.25 miles. When the ascent levels off, there will be an off-shoot path on your left marked with a red trail head marker. I believe this may be a hiking trail to Mount Raimer, which has an interesting history as an old ski resort. I am going to check out this trail next time I decide to hike in this area.
After you pass the trail to Mount Raimer, you will gradually climb downhill towards Berlin Pass. This will continue for approximately one mile. You will know you have reached Berlin Pass because it is marked with a small wooden sign. Along the way you will see how the Taconic Crest Trail is being damaged by ATVs (despite the numerous “ATV use prohibited” signs) leaving ruts, which quickly turn to mud with rainwater. The next mile (ish – I didn’t keep that great track of mileage) will be a gradual ascent to the summit of Berlin Mountain.
The top is an exposed peak with some great views of the Berkshire Mountains. You can see Mount Greylock (highest peak in Massachusetts) from the summit of Berlin Mountain. What a view! Anyone else know of any good smaller hikes in the local area?