Jiminy Peak has 172 acres of trails that are perfect for hiking. While on one of these trails you could run into some of Jiminy’s wildlife. The Whitetail deer, Jiminy’s symbol, are common. Some groups can be seen at dusk, feeding in or crossing the meadow. Black bears also emerge from the woods occasionally, as do red foxes and eastern coyotes. In any season, there is a breathtaking view from the 2,390-foot summit.
Jiminy’s hiking trails are marked according to their degree of difficulty. The most difficult hiking trails encompass some of the steepest terrain on the mountain. Jericho and Upper & Lower Whitetail is the route of these hikes. Jiminy’s longest hiking trail covers approximately four miles. This is an uphill route and although gentle, some guests may find it a bit strenuous.
The Berkshires also offer many trails that will satisfy any hiker or outdoor enthusiast. Many of the state forests also have camping available.
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine covers about 90.4 miles within Massachusetts. After entering Massachusetts through Williamstown, the Trail winds through the Berkshires before going on to cross the Hoosic and the Housatonic Rivers. The Appalachian Trail climbs 10 miles of Mt. Greylock. The Trail has a difficulty between 4-5, strenuous ups and downs with the occasional flat sections. The elevation of the Trail ranges from 650 feet (Mass Route 2) to 3,491 feet at Mt. Greylock.
This area of the Trail is noted for its proximity to water, such as the Housatonic and the Hoosic Rivers, and scenic Upper Goose Pond. The Trail passes through the Housatonic Valley, an area rich in history. Several summits and ledges provide pastoral views, particularly in the southern part of the state. The Trail is mostly moderate, but with short, steep, and fairly challenging sections. Check out the Appalachian Trail online by logging onto www.atconf.org or call the Appalachian Mountain Club at (413) 443-0011.
The Mt. Greylock State Reservation covers 11,500 acres and Mt. Greylock, at 3,491-feet, is the highest point in the state. The summit offers a 360-degree view of the Taconic Range, the Berkshires and, on clearer days, Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire. At the summit, Bascom Lodge offers overnight lodging and dining. The lodge can be reached by hiking or by automobile.
The Mt. Greylock Visitor Center has information on trails and other activities at other parks in Berkshire County. The Mt. Greylock Visitors Center is off Route 7 in Lanesborough. To get to the Mt. Greylock Reservation turn right leaving Jiminy Peak and follow Brodie Mountain Road to Route 7. Turn right onto Route 7 South. Follow Route 7 south into Lanesboro and turn left onto Rockwell Road just past the Par 4 Family Fun Center. The Mt. Greylock Visitors Center can be reached at (413) 499-4262. You can also check out the Department of Environmental Management’s website www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/mgry.htm
One of the more popular properties among the 4,000 acres owned by the Berkshire National Research Council, based in Pittsfield, is Yokun Ridge. With a wide range of well-marked trails for both hiking and mountain-biking, it also boasts superb views. Steven’s Glen, a spectacular waterfall, little known among outsiders, is also located at Yokun Ridge. For more information about these trails, call the Berkshire Natural Research Council (413) 499-0596.
To get to Yokun Ridge, turn right leaving Jiminy Peak and follow Brodie Mountain Road to Route 7. Turn right onto Route 7 South. Follow Route 7 to Lenox and pick up Route 7A to Route 183. Take a right on 183 and follow it past Tanglewood. When the road comes to a fork, veer off to the right, onto Lenox Road. Continue on Lenox Road to Olivia’s Overlook. Once there you can park your car and start your hike.
The Pine Cobble Trail located in Williamstown is a good day trip. The length of the trail is approximately 2.1 miles each way. The trail ranges from level to moderately steep and there are some rocky sections. The Trailhead elevation is approximately 600-feet. The side trails to Bear Spring, the only water on the trail is at .8 miles. Pine Cobble has an excellent view of Williamstown, nearby towns and mountains. The elevation is 2,200 – feet.
To reach the Pine Cobble Trail, turn right leaving Jiminy Peak and follow Brodie Mountain Road to Route 7. Turn left onto Route 7 North to Williamstown. In Williamstown, bear right onto Route 2 East. At the traffic light (only one in town) turn onto Cole Ave and proceed to “T”. Turn right onto Massachusetts Ave and proceed approx. 1 mile. Turn left onto side road at “Pine Cobble Trail” sign. Park 100 yards up street at trailhead.
Beartown State Forest
Beartown State Forest in Great Barrington offers many trails up Beartown Mountain. Beartown is the third largest state forest in Massachusetts. Some of the trails include Wildcat Trail and Turkey Trail. The total distance is 8.1 miles with a maximum elevation of 2,122 – feet.
To get to Beartown State Forest, turn right leaving Jiminy Peak and follow Brodie Mountain Road to Route 7. Turn right onto Route 7 South. Follow Route 7 south to Great Barrington. Turn left onto Route 23 East to Monterey (Blue Hill Rd), then follow the brown signs. For further information about Beartown State Forest, call (413) 528-0904 or check out their web site at www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/bear.htm
Also in Great Barrington is Monument Mountain. Monument Mountain Trail is 2.7 miles long and has a maximum elevation of 1,735 – feet at the peak. The peaks overlook the hills and valleys of Southern Berkshire County. The three miles of trails lead to the canopy forest of white pines and oaks with tulip trees, maples, chestnut saplings and mountain laurel. Squaw Peak is the highest ridge on Monument Mountain. Here, you can sit in peace and safety, a mere step from oblivion, and enjoy warm sunshine, beautiful views, and other good things of life. These trails pass through mixed woods of white pine, hemlock, white ash, red maple, and striped maple before dropping to the road.
To get to Monument Mountain, take Route 7 to Great Barrington. Once in Great Barrington, follow the signs to the park. For further information call (413) 298-3239 or log onto www.thetrustees.org and click on Monument Mountain.
Savoy Mountain State Forest
In Savoy, Savoy Mountain State Forest and Spruce Hill can be combined to make a full day’s outing. Spruce Hill is 2.6 miles long and has the maximum elevation of 2,566 – feet, while Savoy Mountain State Forest is 7.1 miles long with the maximum elevation of 2,510 – feet. The Savoy Mountain State Forest has expansive vistas, cascading waterfalls, wooded picnic sites, sparkling ponds, babbling brooks and with miles of wooded trails, the hiker can enjoy the natural features that include Bog Pond, with its floating bog islands, and Tannery Falls. The hike takes you from Tannery Falls to Borden Mountain, which is one of the not-to-be-missed places in Western Massachusetts.
To get to Savoy Mountain State Forest, turn right leaving Jiminy Peak and follow Brodie Mountain Road to Route 7. Turn left onto Route 7 North to Williamstown. In Williamstown, bear right onto Route 2 East. Fololow Route 2 through North Adams and up into the town of Florida. Turn right onto Central Shaft Road, and follow the signs. For more information on Savoy State Forest, call (413) 663-8469 or log onto www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/svym.htm
Three different museums are within a short drive of the Country Inn at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Massachusetts, and very nice day trips can be created that combine nice walks in the woods or open parks with educational visits to museums.
Clark Art Institute
The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, with a world-class collection of American and European art, makes a nice prelude to a 1.5-mile walk/hike (round-trip) to the stone bench at the top of Stone Hill. The trail goes through woods, and then descends through fields with incredible views of the mountains over Williamstown and North Adams. There are simple maps available at the welcome counter within the museum. For more information about the Clark, please go online to www.clarkart.edu. After your hike, stop by the the Store at Five Corners (a real historical landmark!) for a sandwich to enjoy outside at one of their picnic tables, or inside the glassed in porch if the chill is too much.
Hancock Shaker Village
There’s a very interesting trail to the top of Shaker Mountain right near Hancock Shaker Village that leads past the foundations for buildings on the North Family Shaker site. Please stop by the Visitor’s Center at the Hancock Shaker Village for a map and a special pass before you go hiking. Do remember that if you wish to view the various exhibits and buildings in the Village either before or after your hike, you will need to pay admission. Hancock Shaker Village is a really neat museum for families, since it is both outdoor and indoor, and the Shakers were an interesting group of people. Among other things, you can view a demonstration of an 1858 reproduction water turbine in the historic machine shop, sit in the school room, walk through herb gardens, and spend time in the round stone barn. Hancock Shaker Village offers a number of different festivals and exhibits throughout the season. Or, a wonderful way to experience the Village in the quiet of the evening is by attending one of their Shaker Suppers, offered on selected weekend dates throughout the year. Please call (413) 443-0188 or check online at www.hancockshakervillage.org for more information about events at Hancock Shaker Village
Natural Bridge State Park
The Natural Bridge State Park is a perfectly fitting way to end a day in North Adams after viewing the extremely interesting modern art works and installations at MASS MoCA. This huge modern art museum has a number of fascinating exhibits which change on a regular basis as well as a part of the museum called Kidspace, just for children. MASS MoCa also offers a number of performing arts events throughout the season. The State Park is just a few minutes from the museum – for information, please check www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/nbdg. It is a really neat park where you can walk over and around a natural marble bridge over a river and its chasm. For more information about MASS MoCA, please go online to www.massmoca.org.
Mt Greylock – Nice and Easy Senior Hikes
Easy hikes of one to two miles for seniors, led by Bud Hoover within Mount Greylock State Reservation. Different hikes offered every Wednesday from June 9 through September 1. Meet at the Visitors Center on Rockwell Road in Lanesborough. Featuring flower, bird and tree I.D. and poetry on demand. Rain cancels hike. Bring a lunch, water, wear appropriate clothing for the weather and sturdy hiking shoes. Grandchildren are welcome too. Special accommodations available upon request. No fee.
Mount Greylock State Reservation, Visitors Center
Rockwell Road, 1.5 miles off Route 7 in Lanesborough.
For more information about Mount Greylock, please go online to www.www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/mgry.htm or call (413) 499-4262.