Berkshire Life: Foliage Hikes

Fall in the Berkshires is one of the best times for hiking. The foliage and light is beyond compare. It’s cool and comfortable, but warm in the sun, and generally there are no bugs to speak of. The light has definitely changed and this week the greens on the trees are starting to get an orange tinge, fall foliage is coming.  This time of year I generally try to do hikes with nice vistas in order to see all of the changing colors. Peak foliage is predicted for around the 13th of October so there a few good weekends to come.

Traditionally, I almost always hike up Mt. Greylock in October, my favorite is the Bellow Falls trail, but this year I’m suggesting joining Ramblefest on the Cheshire Harbor. If a big day hike summit is a little too much for your taste, here are some other favorites with different leveled options. I’ve rated them like ski trails: Green Circle for Beginner/Mellow; Blue Square for Intermediate and Black Diamond for Advanced.

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Gould Meadow: Green Circle

Gould Meadow is managed by the Town of Stockbridge and the Trailhead can be found off of Rte 183 about a half mile after you pass Tanglewood. You will pass Hawthorne Street and see what is arguably one of my favorite views in the Berkshires. A new trailhead parking area is on your left. This trail will take you down the the Stockbridge Bowl and the trail meanders along the lake side. The trail will take you around a Tanglewood Bypass and no long after make a sharp left up towards Bullard Woods. Follow the trail to Bulland woods and loop back through the gorgeous meadow. This hike will take you about an hour and a half.

The Cheshire Cobbles: Blue Square

I always revel whenever I get my feet on the Appalachian Trail, I imagine the thousands of feet who’ve travelled through here on their way to Mt. Katadhin in Maine or Springer Mountain in GA. This is a short jaunt on the AT with a  climb that will take you up to a nice view. From its bouldered summit you’ll see Mt. Greylock to the North and Cheshire Lake to the west. Being on the AT you can make this hike as long as you like if you continue south, or you can do an out and back hike to the top of the Cobble, which is about a 2 mile round trip. Park at the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail (at E. Main Street and Railroad Street) and follow the AT blazes south, briefly through a neighborhood, then the trail turns into the forest. There are a number of woods roads that cross the lower portion of the hike so be mindful of following the white blazes.

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Mt. Greylock Ramble Blue/Black

I love the tradition of the Mount Greylock Ramble. As I said before, on my own I almost always plan to summit Mt. Greylock in October: blue skies and amazing views at the top offer hard earned views for miles. When I learned about the ramble  I was excited to see the town coming together to enjoy the beautiful resource that Greylock is. The Ramble is put on by the town of Adams, MA. On Columbus day thousands of hikers take the Cheshire Harbor trail up Mt. Greylock. The moderately strenuous route is 6.6 miles round trip and takes about four to five hours. Cheshire Harbor Trail is the gentlest route up Greylock. Oh, and it’s free!

Details from their website:

The Mount Greylock Ramble will take place beginning at 8 a.m. Thousands of hikers will trek up the Cheshire Harbor Trail to the summit of the state’s highest mountain. No parking will be available near the trail head but there will be a free shuttle from the Adams Free Library between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. A return shuttle will begin at 4 p.m. The first 2,000 hikers will receive certificates of accomplishment and awards will be given to the first to the top, the youngest, oldest and the hiker who traveled the greatest distance to participate. Refreshments and souvenirs will be sold. Pet are permitted on leashes.

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