A rare outcrop of quartzite and marble along the Housatonic River nurtures more than 800 kinds of plants. Bartholomew’s Cobble shelters one of the greatest diversities of ferns in North America and as many as 50 varieties of wildflowers.READ MORE
n a still day, a canoe will drift gently in mid-river. You can curl into the bank for a closer look at an otter slide. A blue heron takes off from the shallows, where it was standing on one leg, watching for green frogs.
We keep open space open up here in the valleys along the Hoosic River in the north and the Housatonic in the south. When the ridges lift to the horizon in unbroken green — or a line of slate and snow and birch catches the winter light — we find ourselves breathing deeply. And we are reclaiming the rivers that powered mills here a hundred years ago.
You can find white water too, or bike along a reservoir on an old railroad track. Outdoors in the Berkshires you can hike into the back-country for miles to sleep out under the stars.
Hiking Trails and Places to Explorefilter by location or type
Mass Audubon, the statewide conservation nonprofit, protects four wildlife sanctuaries in the Central and Southern Berkshires. At Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, flat and easy trails wander along the Housatonic River, sheltering migrating birds and butterflies in the meadow, and otters and turtles along the water (and now and then a bear).READ MORE
Renoir rubs elbows with Rodin, and the reflecting pool glows between northeast granite and classical marble. The Clark Art Institute holds a collection of Impressionists and more on a campus re-imagined by Tadao Ando.READ MORE
In early June, the herons are nesting. Mass Audubon protects one of the largest blue heronries in the county at one of the newest sanctuaries, a wetland and woodland on Tracy Brook in Richmond. It has no marked trails, but guided walks explore the area.READ MORE
Mass Audubon, the statewide conservation nonprofit, protects four wildlife sanctuaries in the Central and Southern Berkshires. At Pleasant Valley in Lenox, their local headquarters lead into a boardwalk around a beaver pond and trails climb the slopes of Lenox Mountain.READ MORE
Nature and Modern art mingle at Field Farm in Williamstown. The Trustees of Reservations maintains the outoor sculpture garden and trails— open to the public from sunrise to sunset all year — and runs the house as a Bed and Breakfast, and they will open the Folly for art tours occasionally through the summer and fall.READ MORE
Two loops of trail cross the pasture lands of an old farm, past a seasonal pond and wetlands, and hayfields where bluebirds nest, and 50 kinds of butterflies forage. Signs of the old farm remain in stone walls and the historic kiln that gives the sanctuary its name.READ MORE
At Hilltop Orchards, the Vittori family grow apples and make cider and wine on 200 acres. A brother and sister, John and Wendy, bought the orchard more than 30 years ago and preserved the land. They have a farm store and trails open year-round.READ MORE
The highest park in the state, and the oldest, Mount Greylock has held its own legends long before J.K. Rowling named it the site of the oldest wizarding school in North America.READ MORE
The Hoosic River Watershed association is a group of local people who want to restore and conserve the river and bring people to enjoy it — paddling, biking and wandering along the bank or soaking your feet as you watch a migrating solitary sandpiper at the water’s edge.READ MORE