Northfield Mountain, Fall Hike
November’s hike of the month climbs steadily uphill to the summit of Hill 1050 with views of our Upper Reservoir and beyond. Wide forested trails and a pedestrian friendly paved road allow hikers to keep their heartbeat up while easily social distancing. Highlights along the way include a porcupine den amongst tumbled rocks where Sugarbush and Hemlock Hill intersect and abandoned stone quarries tucked along-side Hemlock Hill below Rock Oak Ramble. Keep an eye out for parallel finger-size grooves drilled into the rock centuries ago.
Before heading out for this 4 mile round trip adventure be sure to click here to download a trail map or take a photo of the map posted on the Visitor Center doors. From the pond behind the Center follow blue diamonds marking the Hidden Quarry Trail. At the opening under the power lines continue up Hemlock Hill to Reservoir Road. Follow the paved route to the summit. Just after the road bends sharply to the right is a grassy knoll on your left providing a spot to rest and enjoy the view at 1050 feet above sea level. Retrace your steps back to the Center or add an extra 1/2 mile and follow the paved road down to the intersection with Tooleybush in Fullers Pasture. Brisk temperatures and sunlit scarlet and russet oak leaves make late fall a great time to walk in the woods.
The late autumn shades of oak leaves provide welcome color to a changing landscape. Long after maple trees are bare, oaks still celebrate the glory of fall. More subdued than the fiery blaze of October’s foliage, oak leaves come in a range of colors. From deep red to purple, from gold to brown, these warm earth tones contrast with the green pines, stone walls and gray boulders dotting the landscape. As an added bonus, beeches and oaks often keep their leaves during the cold months, offering our winter landscape a touch of bronze and brown.
Click here to download our latest scavenger hunt. Search for clues about what is happening in the natural world in late autumn as animals prepare for winter. Will you find signs that animals have dined on pine cones and acorns? A leaf that an insect has nibbled? A place for an animal to hide? Enjoy a family walk on our trails or in your neighborhood as you hone your nature detective skills. Download and go and most importantly, have fun being outside together!