Resource to the Outdoors
Books, guides, and other resources for hiking, swimming, and having summer fun
Do yourself a huge favor and get your hands on any number of the Berkshire County nature and trail guides available at local bookstores and libraries. My little pile includes:
- A Guide to Natural Places in the Berkshire Hills (Berkshire House) by René Laubach. It includes a run-down of 33 natural sites, geology and physical highlights, plant communities, wildlife, natural history, seasonal highlights, detailed maps, and directions.
- Discover the Berkshires of Massachusetts (Appalachian Mountain Club Books) by Charles W.G. Smith and Susan A. Smith. It includes more than 40 hiking, biking, and paddling trips.
- Doggin’ the Berkshires: The 33 Best Places To Hike with Your Dog in Western Massachusetts (Cruden Bay Books) by Doug Gelbert, illustrations by Andrew Chesworth.
Of the many places to hike, swim, bike, and launch a canoe or kayak, here are a few to to visit:
- Beartown State Forest: 12,000 acres, including the 35-acre Benedict Pond, open to camping, hiking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Blue Rd., Monterey (413-528-0904).
- October Mountain State Forest: 16,500 acres. The largest state forest in Massachusetts. Campers, hiking, and boating. 256 Woodland Rd., Lee (413-243-1778).
- Mount Everett State Reservation: 1,356 acres. Hiking. Meet up with the Appalachian Trail as it winds its way along the ridge line and through Sage’s Ravine. East St., Mount Washington (413-528-0330).
- Mount Washington State Forest: 4,169 acres. Includes access to Bash Bish Falls. East St., Mt. Washington (413-528-0330).
- Campbell Falls State Park: Hiking. Campbell Falls Rd., off the Norfolk Rd., New Marlborough, at the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line.
- Pittsfield State Forest: 10,000-plus acres. Hiking, biking. 1041 Cascade St., Pittsfield (413-442-8992).
- Mount Greylock State Reservation: 11,000-plus acres Rockwell Rd., Lanesborough (413-499-4262/4263).
- Wahconah Falls State Park: 104 acres. Hiking, fishing. Off Route 9/8A, Dalton (413-442-8992).
- Savoy Mountain State Forest: 1,000 acres. Fish, swim, canoe, sail, camp. 260 Central Shaft Rd., Florida (413-663-8469).
- Steven’s Glen: Hiking. Lenox Branch Rd., West Stockbridge (413-499-0596).
- Notch Brook Cascades: Hiking. Marion Ave., North Adams.
Lake enthusiasts will want to visit:
- York Lake (in Sandisfield State Forest): Swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing, picnicking. York Lake Rd., Sandisfield.
- Laurel Lake: Routes 7 & 20, Lee/Lenox line. Sandy beach for swimming (lifeguard) with changing rooms, restrooms. Boat ramp area (pets allowed), fishing.
- Onoto Lake: Burbank Park, Pittsfield Swimming, hiking, fishing, boating. Picnic area, playground. Dogs welcome.
- Pontoosuc Lake: Route 7, Pittsfield/Lanesboro line. Swimming, boating, boat rentals, fishing, hiking and biking trails, picnic area. Dogs welcome.
- Stockbridge Bowl: Start at trail head on Route 183 near Kripalu. Hike brings you into woods and along lake. A small beach is about ten minutes into the woods. Swimming, boating.