About Petticoat Hill
Climb through a restored forest that boasts a rich variety of hardwood species, passing stone walls and cellar holes that reveal the hill’s agricultural past.
What makes Petticoat Hill a special place?
Petticoat Hill is one in a grouping of three hills that rises more than 1,000 feet above South Williamsburg. By the late 18th century, this was the most populous part of town, active with farming families who cleared the area for crops and pasture.
In the 1800s, you could see Mount Tom, the Connecticut River, and the Holyoke Range from the hilltop. The farmsteads have long since disappeared, reclaimed by the forest, which now obscures views that once extended to the Connecticut River and as far south as Mount Tom and Holyoke. The trees themselves are so varied and so healthy that the Eastern Native tree Society has visited to examine the reservation's offerings.
Even if you’re not an expert, you'll be impressed by the sheer diversity of specimen trees, including hemlock and white pine, red and black oak, yellow and black birch, shagbark hickory, and sugar and red maple. Some trees are more than 110 feet high, among the tallest in the region.
According to legend, when the daughters of a family who farmed the hill generations ago hung their washed petticoats to dry, the garments could be seen for miles. Hence, the name "Petticoat Hill."
1.5 miles of trails. Strenuous hiking in most parts. Allow a minimum of 2 hours. Petticoat Hill Summit is owned by the Williamsburg Water District. The Trustees own Scott Hill Summit on its slope. Locke's Loop, a new trail constructed by the Williamsburg Woodland Trails Committee, begins at the Scott Hill Summit.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hour.
Regulations & Advisories
- Mountain biking is not allowed.
- Dogs must be kept on leash at all times.
- Seasonal hunting is permitted.
Petticoat Hill Road
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Get directions on Google Maps.
From Pittsfield: Follow Rt. 9 East approx.
28 mi. into Williamsburg Center. Turn right
onto Petticoat Hill Rd. and follow for 0.2 mi.
to entrance and parking on left.
From Northampton: Follow Rt. 9
West approx. 4 mi. into Williamsburg
Center. Turn left onto Petticoat Hill Rd.
and follow for 0.2 mi. to entrance and
parking (2 cars) on left.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
FREE to all
The hillsides were cleared and farmed for generations, before forest reclaimed the landscape. The reservation takes its name from the story of a family with seven daughters that settled near the top of the hill. Each daughter wore five petticoats, and, on Monday wash days, people from miles around could see thirty-five petticoats billowing in the breeze as they dried on a clothesline.
Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift of Mrs. Edward W. Nash in 1906 in memory of her husband. Additional land given in 1924.
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 Petticoat Hill management plan.
Maps and Resources
Printed trail maps are distributed free from the bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.
Planning Your Visit
Hidden Hills of Western MA
Hilltowns of Western MA
Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.
Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:
- Protect wildlife and plants.
- Guard against all risk of fire.
- Help keep air and water clean.
- Carry out what you carry in.
- Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
- Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
- Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
- Enjoy and share the landscape with others.
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Before Setting Out
Enjoying Trustees Reservations
About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land
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.
Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.