Follow the directions on the main page.
The Dome trail starts out on a four-wheel drive (4WD) road, passing through a deciduous forest interrupted by a brief meadow. A view of Broad Brook and Pine Cobble to the southeast is hidden behind the trees. The Dome trail always follows red blazes, so make sure to look for them whenever it intersects with a different trail (as it does rather often).
After a short quarter-mile or so, the trail swings to the left, breaks off from the 4WD road, and begins its long climb. As it is less easily accessible and, therefore, less popular than Pine Cobble, the Dome trail provides a wonderful opportunity for finding a bit of solitude during a busy week. This part of the trail tends to be covered in gravel, so be careful, as it can be rather slippery. At about 1.25 miles, more or less the halfway point, you pass the intersection with the Agawon Trail, a .75-mile path leading downhill to the Broad Brook Trail.
After another quarter-mile, the trail intersects with a 4WD road by an abandoned truck. To get to the next part of the trail, make a right and look for the path on the left marked by a red blaze and a blue arrow. Look for the red blazes to make sure you’re on the right trail – I forgot to do this and, as a result, spent nearly a half-hour on the wrong trail.
From here, the hike becomes quite an adventure. As the trail has become a bit overgrown, it is sometimes difficult to maneuver through brush and under tree limbs. Take extra care on steeper slopes, as the eroded grade provides less-than-steady footing. The trail alternates between steep pitches and swampy flatter sections, including a forty-foot long bog through which hikers navigate on strategically placed stepping-stones.
After experiencing the Hyde to the lower section’s Jekyll, you ascend into a spruce forest that surrounds the summit. With little protection from the wind, the trees are lankier than their lowland counterparts. After ascending a false summit, a short walk brings you to the Dome’s true summit – a large mass of granite with a smooth top. The summit affords a partial southward view of the valley below, including Pine Cobble, Mount Greylock and the Taconic Range.
In the end, the Dome is a great hike if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging in terms of length, remoteness and vertical gain. Even if the condition of the upper part of the trail convinces you that the hike was not worth it, at least you’ll be able to say to friends when walking towards Mission, “That mountain? Oh, yeah, I’ve climbed it.”
Sturdy hiking boots (I wore sandals; big mistake), bright clothes
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