Bartholomew’s Cobble is named after the farmer who used to own this stony outcropping of quartzite and marble along the Housatonic River. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971 for its unusual diversity of plants. The highlight of the Cobble is Hurlburt’s Hill, which climbs 1,000 feet before it plateaus into a meadow with vistas of the Housatonic River Valley. The hiking trail (called the Tractor Path) starts across the street from the visitor center and runs along a flat meadow before gradually climbing up. This climb may tax your strength, but what you are climbing is most definitely not a mountain, a fact for which you will be thankful when you reach the top. You are soon rewarded with a bench to rest yourself and a 180-degree view, mainly north. With your binoculars and a little luck, you can also spot some hawks going along their migration route. We had the binoculars but not the luck.
This picture doesn’t do the hill justice. It was hard to capture the height of this place because of the wide plateau.
The Cobble also has a number of trails by the visitor center. We did the short Craggy Knoll Trail but found it disappointing. The longer Ledges Trail is supposed to be more promising with some caves along the way. There is also the historic Ashley House that you can explore if you take the Hal Borland Trail.
Bash Bish Falls, located in Mount Washington State Forest, is Massachusett’s highest single-drop waterfall. At the MA/NY border, the water flows out of MA and into NY where it later joins the Hudson River. There are two ways to get to the falls, from the MA side or the NY side. We opted for the NY side and did not regret it.
Once we parked and started on the trail, we soon encountered a fast-flowing stream created by the falls almost a mile away. There were plenty of large rocks to scramble over.
We found this guy hula hooping in the middle of the stream with headphones on, clearly unfazed by the audience of hikers.
When we got to the falls, we were rewarded with this.
…and a view from below via stairs.
Bartholomew’s Cobble is in Sheffield off of Route 7A. The entry fee is $5 per person. No dogs or bikes. Bash Bish Falls is in Mount Washington and can be reached off of Route 22 – look for signs for Copake Falls or Taconic State Park. Parking is free and the walk to the Falls is a 3/4 mile of gradual climb. Dogs are ok, but no bikes and no swimming.