About Tyringham Cobble
Ascend through orchards and woodlands to where twin ancient formations of exposed bedrock offer panoramic vistas of the serene Tyringham Valley.
What makes Tyringham Cobble a special place?
A geologic wonder, the Cobble (possibly derived from a German word for “rocks”) was born from massive tectonic movements that shifted ancient strata, leaving an exposed underbelly of rock atop a high ridge. Today, you can follow a loop trail past rugged ledges to the summit, which emerges at a wildflower-festooned field – a perfect spot for a picnic.
The delights of Tyringham Cobble begin on your drive to the reservation, as you pass through the village center of Tyringham and the pastoral scenery of Tyringham Valley.
Once at the reservation, two miles of trails, including a section of the Appalachian Trail, pass over the twin knobs of Tyringham Cobble offering spectacular views of the valley. Wildflowers, blackberries, blueberries, and wild strawberries grow in clearings and open meadows.
While hiking, keep an eye out for an unusually shaped rock formation known as Rabbit Rock. Hop Brook, a favorite fishing stream of President Grover Cleveland, meanders along the northern edge of the reservation on its way west to the Housatonic River.
According to geologist Nicholas Ratcliffe, Tyringham Cobble is one of the few places in New England where you can stand on a major thrust fault. The gently sloping base is made of Ordovician marble rocks (where calcium- and magnesium-loving plants thrive). The top is made of Precambrian gneisses. Some of the rocky proof, gathered more than a century ago by geologist Daniel Clark, lies far below the rugged summit, in the stone work above the fireplace of the Tyringham Public Library.
2-mile loop trail. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours. Please note that the parking area is not plowed in winter.
Regulations & Advisories
- Seasonal hunting is allowed. Please wear bright colors during the November – December deer hunting season; avoid wearing or carrying anything that is white. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties.
- Dogs must be kept on leash at all times.
20 Jerusalem Road
Tyringham, MA 01264
Get directions on Google Maps.
From the Mass Pike (I-90), take Exit 2 in Lee, Route 20 East. After getting onto Route 20, immediately turn right onto Route 102 (towards Stockbridge) and then immediately turn left onto Tyringham Road. Follow into Tyringham Center. At the small post office/library/town hall, turn right onto Jerusalem Road. Entrance and parking (16 cars) are on right.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours. Please note: the parking area is not plowed in the winter.
FREE to all. On-site donation welcome.
In the late-18th century, pioneer farmers cleared the forested slopes of what was then called “Cobble Hill.” The population of Tyringham grew rapidly, and included Shakers who, by the 1840s, owned an extensive 2,000-acre farm holding including Tyringham Cobble, where they pastured cattle and sheep. By 1885, the dwindling group of Shakers had sold out and moved to other communities at Hancock, MA and Enfield, CT where farming was more profitable.
Subsequent farmers grazed sheep in the Cobble’s pastures and hillsides, and, later, introduced a small herd of dairy cattle.
Today, Hereford cattle graze fenced pastures, while other fields are for hay—uses that preserve the historic agricultural character of the property.
Property Acquisition History
In the 1930s, Olivia Cutting James and a group of conservation-minded friends purchased seven parcels comprising Tyringham Cobble and its surrounding pastures to protect it from development (a ski run had been proposed). Calling themselves “The Cobblers,” they set up an informal association as tenants in common.
In her 1961 will, Mrs. James left The Trustees an endowment to maintain the Cobble, and expressed the "earnest hope" that the surviving tenants would give the property to The Trustees as a gift, in 1963. Gift of Dr. Rustin McIntosh, Mrs. Francesca G. Palmer, and Edward N. Perkins in 1963.
Conservation and Stewardship
Management Planning for Our Properties
Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
- Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources.
- Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.
- Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.
- Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.
View Tyringham Cobble management plan.
Maps and Resources
A printed trail map is available for free at the bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies sometimes run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.
Tell Us What You Think
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.
Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.
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