Discover Pine Knob Loop Trail in Sharon, CT

Last summer when I was looking for new places to hike, I discovered Pine Knob Loop trail in Sharon, CT and have been back three times since.  Each time I went I brought a friend who I thought would find it as nice as I do.  The reason I keep going back is because this loop trail has a little bit of everything that I like a hike to have…mountain views, water features, glacial erratic, a variety of terrain, interesting flowers, and lots of tall trees.

When my friend and I headed out recently for a midweek hike it was a perfect spring day with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s. The parking lot was almost empty so we figured we wouldn’t run into many other hikers, which was the case. This is a popular trail and can get busy on the weekends. 

As soon as we left the parking lot we crossed over a little stream that has perfectly spaced flat rocks to walk across. That brings us to the start of the loop trail. We took the recommendation of many who have hiked this trail and headed counterclockwise (right). If you have knee issues and/or prefer to tackle the hardest part of the trail early on, then going counterclockwise is best.

The trail starts out very gently for less than half a mile and then the climb up begins.  It’s a rocky trail so you really have to watch your footing .  It’s fairly well marked with a blue blaze but there were a few occasions we had to stop and look around for the marker.  Many trees have come down both naturally and purposely cut but nothing was obstructing the path.  We took our time hiking to the northern summit and found a shady spot to rest and look out over the Housatonic River Valley at the rolling hills.  It’s a beautiful, unobstructed view and a great spot to catch your breath. You may even see some large birds of prey soaring across the sky way out in front of you, like I have each time I’ve stopped there.  From here the trail drops quickly and then joins up with the Appalachian Trail, marked with a white blaze, for less than a mile.  Before the two trails split there is another great lookout spot facing eastward.  After that the descent down is much more gradual and not nearly as rocky.  It also was noticeably quieter on the south side of the peak since there was now a small mountain between us and the Route 7 traffic. Once the AT branches off toward the right, the Hatch Brook Stream really comes into view.  The real reason I bring my friends to Pine Knob is for this last section of the hike from here back to the trailhead.  The moss covered rocks and logs, the little and not-so-little waterfalls, the soft pine needle path, and large glacial erratics make me feel like I’ve stepped into a fairy tale. Add in the wildflowers and little pools of water with flat rocks to rest on and you have yourself an area that may call you to sit somewhere to cool off your feet on a hot day. This is a great place to take out your camera and get some beautiful nature photos.

This is a short hike, only 2.6 miles, but I don’t hike it quickly. There is a lot to enjoy and take in. The reward of the views at the lookouts makes the moderate challenge of the climb to the peak definitely worthwhile.  The gentle return back to the start of the loop is the perfect way to end the trip. 

Pine Knob Loop is a great option for those who are up for a moderate yet short hike. I do have a few recommendations.

  • Taking trekking poles for some stability in the rocky areas. 
  • Consider downloading a free app like Seek by iNaturalist to help identify the native wildflowers that are blooming now.  We spotted trillium, trout lily and hepatica.
  • Allow yourself time to enjoy the views
    • Directions: Take Route 7 to Cornwall and stay on Route 7 after the spit with Route 4.  The trail head and parking lot are on the left, about 1 mile north after the split and right across from the Housatonic River. There is room for several cars in the parking lot. 

Enjoy!

Discover Pine Knob Loop Trail in Sharon, CT

Last summer when I was looking for new places to hike, I discovered Pine Knob Loop trail in Sharon, CT and have been back three times since.  Each time I went I brought a friend who I thought would find it as nice as I do.  The reason I keep going back is because this loop trail has a little bit of everything that I like a hike to have…mountain views, water features, glacial erratic, a variety of terrain, interesting flowers, and lots of tall trees.

When my friend and I headed out recently for a midweek hike it was a perfect spring day with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s. The parking lot was almost empty so we figured we wouldn’t run into many other hikers, which was the case. This is a popular trail and can get busy on the weekends. 

As soon as we left the parking lot we crossed over a little stream that has perfectly spaced flat rocks to walk across. That brings us to the start of the loop trail. We took the recommendation of many who have hiked this trail and headed counterclockwise (right). If you have knee issues and/or prefer to tackle the hardest part of the trail early on, then going counterclockwise is best.

The trail starts out very gently for less than half a mile and then the climb up begins.  It’s a rocky trail so you really have to watch your footing .  It’s fairly well marked with a blue blaze but there were a few occasions we had to stop and look around for the marker.  Many trees have come down both naturally and purposely cut but nothing was obstructing the path.  We took our time hiking to the northern summit and found a shady spot to rest and look out over the Housatonic River Valley at the rolling hills.  It’s a beautiful, unobstructed view and a great spot to catch your breath. You may even see some large birds of prey soaring across the sky way out in front of you, like I have each time I’ve stopped there.  From here the trail drops quickly and then joins up with the Appalachian Trail, marked with a white blaze, for less than a mile.  Before the two trails split there is another great lookout spot facing eastward.  After that the descent down is much more gradual and not nearly as rocky.  It also was noticeably quieter on the south side of the peak since there was now a small mountain between us and the Route 7 traffic. Once the AT branches off toward the right, the Hatch Brook Stream really comes into view.  The real reason I bring my friends to Pine Knob is for this last section of the hike from here back to the trailhead.  The moss covered rocks and logs, the little and not-so-little waterfalls, the soft pine needle path, and large glacial erratics make me feel like I’ve stepped into a fairy tale. Add in the wildflowers and little pools of water with flat rocks to rest on and you have yourself an area that may call you to sit somewhere to cool off your feet on a hot day. This is a great place to take out your camera and get some beautiful nature photos.

This is a short hike, only 2.6 miles, but I don’t hike it quickly. There is a lot to enjoy and take in. The reward of the views at the lookouts makes the moderate challenge of the climb to the peak definitely worthwhile.  The gentle return back to the start of the loop is the perfect way to end the trip. 

Pine Knob Loop is a great option for those who are up for a moderate yet short hike. I do have a few recommendations.

  • Taking trekking poles for some stability in the rocky areas. 
  • Consider downloading a free app like Seek by iNaturalist to help identify the native wildflowers that are blooming now.  We spotted trillium, trout lily and hepatica.
  • Allow yourself time to enjoy the views
    • Directions: Take Route 7 to Cornwall and stay on Route 7 after the spit with Route 4.  The trail head and parking lot are on the left, about 1 mile north after the split and right across from the Housatonic River. There is room for several cars in the parking lot. 

Enjoy!


Valid: 01/01/1970 - 01/01/1970

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