March 4, 2014
While this winter hasn’t been one of the snowiest on record in the Berkshires, what snow we have received has stuck around thanks to colder temperatures. And that snow looks like it will continue to stick around well through the beginning of April at most elevations, which means when the temps do warm up, you’ll have to use some judgement when choosing your spring hikes. Avoiding spring mud not only makes for an easier hike, but more importantly, it reduces your impact and damage on trail systems and sensitive vegetation. By keeping your adventures to lower elevations through the end of April, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the Berkshires in spring, while keeping the higher elevation trails intact for your summer excursions. These are a few of our favorite lower elevation spring hikes in the Berkshires.
One of the most spectacular vistas in the Berkshires can be found along Route 7 in Williamstown at the top of Sheep Hill. The open pasture, managed by the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, is a popular sledding destination in the winter, but due to its low elevation openness, the hill tends to melt early, allowing for a dry early spring hike with 300 feet of elevation gain to help you get your hiking legs under you after a long winter. Sheep Hill’s grassy habitat also provides some beautiful wildflower and wildlife viewing later in the spring, and the top of the hill delivers a 180+ degree view of the Hoosac Range with Mt. Greylock as its towering centerpiece. Sheep Hill’s easy access and terrain, plus its new visitor’s center make it a perfect spring adventure for kids. And after an afternoon of exploring the meadow, the ‘6 House Pub and Mezze Bistro are both a quick walk or quicker drive from the Sheep Hill parking area.
As the days continue to warm and the forest paths dry out, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the rolling terrain of the Berkshires’ foothills. With the snow continuing to melt off of the mountains, these trails also provide for spectacular waterfall viewing through early summer. Canyon Ranch in Lenox is offering a series of spring hikes that feature some of the Berkshires’ best waterfall views from April 30 through May 3. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for area insight, or are a beginner who would appreciate the encouragement and knowledge of an experienced guide, these hikes are a must for anyone interested in experiencing some of the best spring views in the Berkshires. Then from June 12 through June 15, Canyon Ranch is offering their next series of late spring hikes — this time along the Appalachian trail.
The Berkshire Natural Resource Council also offers a variety of guided hikes so be sure to see what they are offering this spring. Wherever your feet take you this spring, the hiking trails of the Berkshires are waiting to reveal their stunning scenery along the way. Be sure to visit our Event Calendar to see all the great nature and recreation options.