Just as Mount Rainier rises dramatically above the Seattle skyline, a monument to nature’s ceaseless dominance, so too does the 2,748-foot granite hill known as the Dome dominate the landscape north of Williamstown, MA. Like the great symbol of the Pacific Northwest, the Dome is often shrouded in clouds, giving it a mystical loftiness. However, unlike Rainier, ascending the Dome requires neither technical expertise nor superlative willpower; rather, all one needs is a pair of sturdy hiking boots and about three hours.
To get to the trailhead from Williamstown, MA, you’ll need to cross the Hoosac River at the Cole Avenue bridge. To get there, head north from Baxter Hall on Stetson Road past Mission, Poker Flats and the Cole Field House. The road will turn towards the right, and after passing Cole Fields, will intersect with Cole Avenue. Make a left and cross over the river and B&M railroad tracks. Turn left on North Hoosac Road and go about a mile before making a right on White Oaks Road. Stay on White Oaks Road for about 1.5 miles, as it winds its way up into the mountains, passing through the White Oaks neighborhood. At about 1.25 miles, you’ll pass a sign that says “Entering Vermont,” after which the road ceases to be paved. The trailhead immediately on the right is the Broad Brook trail, which will be profiled in a later column. To get to the Dome trailhead, cross Broad Brook, pass a small reservoir on the right and ascend a steep but short grade. The trailhead will be on the right, distinguished (at least when I was there) by the presence of a large traffic marker.
Wear bright clothes in the fall; in hunting season it's a good idea not to look like a deer.
When To Climb
It is best to climb in the "dry" season (summer and fall), as the poor trail maintenance results in many puddles and much mud in the spring. It's possible to do in winter with snowshoes, although this requires expert routefinding skills, as the blazing is not great.
There's not really any on-mountain camping. The closest would probably be the Seth Warner shelter on the Appalachian Trail.
No web-cams or phone numbers that I know of.