Adams - Town of Trails & Treasures
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#1 - Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT)
Trailhead E: Outlook Avenue, Cheshire
Highlights: Beautiful views, interesting forests, historic trail
Difficulty: Moderate steepness, 6.9 miles to summit
Directions/Parking: Head south on West Rd. past Bassett Reservoir to Outlook Ave. Turn right on Outlook Ave. Follow this road past houses, until you see a huge house-sized rock surrounded by birch trees on the left in a field. The trail runs across the road here. Look for a trail sign in the field on your right. Park along the road.
Description: Follow the white blazes through a field and up onto Saddle Ball Mountain. On this part of the trail sphagnum moss bogs can be found. The trail continues through a stand of hemlock and spruce before crossing Old Adams Road. From here the forest reverts to hardwoods. About .25 mile from Old Adams Road, a virtual rock staircase, then a short path to the left leads to a scenic view south of Kitchen Brook watershed and Cheshire Lake. Back on the trail, just .25 mile beyond this view is a spur trail to the Mark Noepel Shelter, a source for water (must be treated) here as well as an outhouse. Continuing north on the AT climb to the top of Saddle Ball Mountain, elevation 3247 feet. At this point the Jones Nose trail enters on left. Continue along the ridge, a fairly flat walk along the spine of Mt. Greylock until you reach a paved road. Cross a corner of the road and re-enter the woods on your right. Follow along another small ridge until you descend onto another road where the Cheshire Harbor Trail enters from the right. Cross the road and follow white blazes along this path to the summit. This is Misery Hill- the last steep pitch to the summit of Mt. Greylock at 3491 feet.
#2 - Red Gate/Silver Fox Trails
Trailhead D2: End of West Mountain Rd.
Highlights: Woodland trail along a lovely stream.
Difficulty: Easy. About 1.5 miles.
Directions/Parking: See directions for Cheshire Harbor Trail
Description: A delightful walk, especially in the fall. At the Southern end of the parking lot for Cheshire Harbor Trail find an abandoned road and after .4 mile turn right onto Red Gate Trail. You soon cross a small bridge, then turn left and cross a larger bridge which crosses Bassett Brook. (Note: straight ahead is the Silver Fox Trail, which connects to the Old Adams Road in approximately 1.3 miles). Climb the old logging road west of Cole Mountain. Follow the trail as it swings west and northwest to meet Old Adams Road near the Appalachian Trail (about 2.2 miles). From here you have two options: 1) follow the AT to Saddle Ball Mountain and Mt. Greylock. Or, for a nice loop, 2) turn right onto Old Adams Road and after .5 mile take a sharp right onto the Silver Fox Trail. After about 200 yards the trail becomes steep, another 100 yards further on the right is a beautiful cascade. Continue down, crossing a wooden bridge and rejoin the Red Gate Trail to return to the Cheshire Harbor Trail parking lot.
#3 Old Adams Road/Cheshire Harbor to Appalachian Trail (AT)
Trailhead D2: End of West Mountain Rd.
Highlights: Pretty streams, beautiful views, a variety of forests.
Difficulty: Moderate in steepness, but a long loop- total distance about 8 miles.
Directions/Parking: See directions for Cheshire Harbor Trail
Description: Follow the Cheshire Harbor Trail/Old Adams Road approximately 1 mile until you come to the fork where Old Adams Road and Cheshire Harbor diverge. Take the left fork. Old Adams Road crosses three mossy, cascading streams. After the third stream the trail flattens out as you approach a forest of hemlock and spruce trees on the mountain ridge. This is where the Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses Old Adams Road. Take a right on the AT and head north. In less than .5 mile from the Old Adams Road, after a steep rocky staircase, a scenic lookout on the left rewards you. Follow the small trail to your left for a spectacular view looking south toward Cheshire Lake, Kitchen Brook watershed and "Rounds Rock". Continuing on the trail, you pass a side trail to Mark Noepel Shelter, and reach a point where the Jones Nose Trail comes in from the left. Continue along a forested ridge of balsam and mossy swamps. Just past the intersection with Jones Nose Trail, look for another view on your right. After about 2 miles you will reach Rockwell Road (paved) and a hairpin turn. The trail re-enters the woods on the right and continues along the ridge lined with yellow birches. In another .25 mile the trail drops back down onto Rockwell Road, where the Cheshire Harbor Trail enters on the right. From here you can take the Cheshire Harbor (about 2.5 miles) to return to the trailhead parking area or you can cross the road and follow the AT north to the summit.
#4 - Cheshire Harbor Trail
Trailhead D2: end of West Mountain Rd.
Highlights: Wide. Beautiful hardwoods to the summit of Mt. Greylock.
Difficulty: Moderate steepness. Approximately 2.6 miles to Rockwell Rd., 3.3 miles to the summit.
Directions/Parking: Heading north on Rt. 8 in downtown Adams, look for the statue of President McKinley and turn left onto Maple St. At the cemetery, turn left onto West Rd. Take West Rd. about .6 mi. and turn right onto West Mountain Rd. Drive to end of West Mountain Rd. (about 1.6 mi.) to parking lot with large white boulders.
Description: The Cheshire Harbor Trail begins as an old carriage road to the right (west) of the parking area. Follow this winding trail over moderately wooded terrain for about a mile and a couple of switchbacks, until you come to a fork. Take the right fork, from here the trail ascends more steeply as it diverges from the carriage road and winds through a forest of northern hardwoods. Near the top you cross a small stream (Pecks Brook). From the stream continue approximately .25 mi. to Rockwell Rd. Cross Rockwell and follow Appalachian Trail (white blazes) to the summit. You will pass a small pond on your left called the fire pond, a great place for your dog to swim. Then cross a paved intersection of Rockwell and Notch Rd. Follow signs and white blazes to the summit.
#5 - Gould Trail
Trailhead D1: West Mountain Rd.
Highlights: Shelter with waterfalls
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous. 3+ miles to Greylock summit, 2 miles to Peck's Brook Shelter.
Directions/Parking: Heading north on Rt. 8 in downtown Adams, look for the statue of President McKinley and turn left onto Maple St. At the cemetery, turn left onto West Rd. Take West Rd. about .6 mi. and turn right onto West Mountain Rd. Follow for approximately .9 miles to a trailhead on the right.
Description: A quiet secluded trail, named after a well-known local family that still has a working farm at the base of the mountain in Adams. From the parking lot, enter the woods at the south end of the large field and follow the blue blazes along the hedgerow. The trail takes you across a gentle brook on a wooden bridge and through a conifer forest. Continue up a short hill and take a left onto the Gould Trail (straight takes you to the Gould Farm, which is private property). After about .5 mi. you will come to an area where a small tornado is said to have touched down. Here, to the right of the trail look for a huge rock that has been lifted up out of the ground by the roots of a tree that was toppled. The rock is still held up by the roots of the tree. At about 1 mile, you reach a junction where you take a right (north) to continue on Gould Trail. (Note: if you go straight at this junction, the trail crosses a brook and connects with the Cheshire Harbor Trail. Take a right onto the Cheshire Harbor Trail and hike to Greylock summit or take a left and make a shorter loop to the Gould Trail trailhead on West Mountain Rd.) Continuing along Gould Trail, at about 2 mi. a short side trail takes you to a waterfall near Peck's Brook Shelter. Back on Gould Trail, ascend 1 more mile to Rockwell Rd. Cross the intersection of Rockwell and Notch Rd.s and follow the AT to the summit.
#6 - Thunderbolt Ski Trail
Trailhead B: Thiel Rd./ Thunderbolt Trailhead
Highlights: Historic ski trail, scenic views from the trail.
Difficulty: Extremely strenuous. Approximately 2 mi. from Greylock Glen to Mt. Greylock summit.
Directions/Parking: Heading north on Rt. 8 in downtown Adams, look for the statue of President McKinley and turn left onto Maple St. At the cemetery, turn left onto West Rd. Take West Rd. to Gould Rd. Follow Gould past Jaechske's Orchard, and bear right at the intersection of Gould and Thiel Rds. Continue on Thiel for approximately .5 mi. and look for a "Thunderbolt Trail" sign. Park in the parking area located below the trailhead on Upper Thiel Rd.
Description: One of the steepest but most scenic trails on the mountain, especially before the leaves come out. Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934 as a championship ski trail, the Thunderbolt was named after a famous roller coaster at Revere Beach near Boston because both gave such and unforgettable ride. Today, the Thunderbolt is primarily a hiking and backcountry ski trail which gains 2175 feet in elevation in an ascent of under 2 miles from the Old Thiel Farm to the Greylock summit. Climbing the trail you can just imagine the daredevils in the 30's and 40's who challenged this trail with wood skis and bear trap bindings. Please be aware the trail is extremely steep and the treadway is difficult throughout. It is still a great backcountry ski trail, expert only. If you are hiking the trail in the winter, please stay to one side so that footprints do not ruin the skiing. Your climb takes you up the steep valley of Hoxie Brook. During your ascent you will cross Bellows Pipe Trail. Continue straight up the Thunderbolt and you will soon cross a stream. Nearing the Greylock summit, you will meet and join the Appalachian Trail (AT). Turn left and follow the AT to the summit. Visit the Thunderbolt shelter open year-round for visitors to the summit.
#7 - Bellows Pipe- Alternate Access
Trailhead C: Above parking area on Upper Gould Rd.
Difficulty: Moderate to very strenuous - 2.5 + miles.
Highlights: shelter, historic terrain, Thoreau's Ascent
Directions/Parking: See directions for Greylock Glen Wetlands Walk
Description: Uphill from the parking area, look for the trailhead on the right side of Gould Rd. From the trailhead off Gould Rd., you cross the Glen and follow the signs up a steep hill that is covered with new growth. This used to be "Picard's Farm." At the top of this section you enter the woods on an old logging trail, with a ravine and a brook on your left. Continue on up this trail steeply for about a half mile until you come to an intersection where the Thunderbolt Ski Trail crosses the Bellows Pipe. Go straight through this intersection until you come to a fork. Take the left fork past the shelter and continue up for about 2/3 mile, the terrain gets very steep. At the top of the steep part of the climb you meet the junction of the Appalachian Trail (AT) which enters on your right. Continue following the white blazes of the AT, which joins the Thunderbolt Ski Trail after 300 yards. Follow this to the summit. Henry David Thoreau followed this route in his ascent of Mt. Greylock in 1844. Thoreau walked the trail from the North Adams trailhead on Notch Rd. Looking back from the summit you can see the saddle between Ragged Mt. and Mt. Greylock, the location of the old Wilbur Farm where Thoreau stopped along his way. The wind funneling through the notch formed by the two mountains creates a sound like a blacksmith's bellows, and accounts for the trail's name.
#8 - Greylock Glen Wetlands Walk
Trailhead C: Below parking are on Upper Gould Rd.
Difficulty: Very easy, about 1 mile.
Highlights: Lovely nature trail, wetland plants and animals highlighted at ten stops described in self-guided "Wetlands Walk" brochure.
Directions/Parking: Heading north on Rt. 8 in downtown Adams, look for the statue of President McKinley and turn left onto Maple St. At the cemetery, turn left onto West Rd. Take West Rd. to Gould Rd. Follow Gould past Jaechske's Orchard, and bear left at the intersection of Gould and Thiel Rds. Continue on Gould for approximately .5 miles and look for a "nature trail" sign on the right side of the road. Park in the parking area located above the trailhead on Upper Gould Rd.
Description: A scenic and tranquil place for children and adults to learn about the workings of a wetland and to experience the sights and sounds of the flora and fauna that abound here. Great birdwatching in the early morning or late afternoon. This is a self-guided nature trail with a brochure describing various stops that correspond to numbered posts along the trail. Brochures are available at the kiosk located just below the start of the wetlands walk. After the first stop, the trail crosses a bridge over the north branch of Pecks Brook and winds through old fields and meadows. Boardwalks or "bog bridges" have been installed in the wettest areas to minimize impact. The trail loops around wetlands expanded by beavers and ends when you cross a final bridge next to the pond and pavilion. Make a relaxing day of it! Consider bringing a lunch for along the way, at the pond, or under the shade of the pavilion. Please return the self-guided tour brochure to kiosk.
#9 - Ashuwillticook Trail
Trailhead A: Town Parking Lot, Hoosac St.
Highlights: Follows old rail bed, nice views of the Hoosic River
Directions: Take Rt. 8 to downtown Adams. Turn onto Hoosac St. at McKinley Square.
Description: This "rails to trails" project follows an abandoned rail bed from Adams south through Cheshire to Lanesboro/Pittsfield town near the Berkshire Mall. The old rail bed winds through varied wetland and woodland habitat and often runs parallel to the Hoosic River. It's a lovely walk today, and will invite joggers, bike riders and cross country skiers when paved in the near future. The railroad corridor is currently an informal dirt path with some sections of rock. The rails and ties were removed by the railroad when the corridor was abandoned.
#10 - Roland Duval Trail
Trailhead: Hoosac Valley High School
Highlights: Fitness trail, beautiful views of the Hoosic River Valley and Mt. Greylock
Difficulty: Easy 2.1 mile loop
Directions/Parking: Rt. 16 east to Hoosac Valley High School. Park near the track/football field.
Description: A delightful trail with rolling terrain where you can enjoy a walk or a run. Find the trail entrance by heading along the east side of the football field. Enter the trail by crossing a small brook followed by a long gradual uphill where you will enter the woods. The trail heads downhill with switchbacks that make the terrain comfortable for walking. At the bottom of the trail, cross the driveway on the outside of the gate and enter a please picnic area. From here walk by the pine trees in front of the school. Be sure to stop and enjoy the dramatic view of Mt. Greylock before heading back to your parked car.
#11 - Around-the-Center Walk
Trailhead A: Town Parking Lot, Hoosac Street
Highlights: Views of Mt. Greylock from most places along the walk; many historic buildings; a great walk fro all ages and abilities
Difficulty: Very easy sidewalk walking, 1.2 miles
Directions: Take Rt. 8 to downtown Adams. The walk is a "loop" that includes Park, Hoosac and Summer Streets. "Start anywhere along the way, any time of day." A suggested walk begins at the Town Parking Lot on Hoosac St. Head east on Hoosac St., leaving the Berkshire Mill on your left. Note the large 19th century brick mill buildings that have been converted from textile manufacturing and printing into a mix of residential, retail, warehouse and office space. Also on Hoosac St. are the St. Stanislaus Convent, Parish House and Church. Turn right onto Summer St. and head south. Buildings are primarily business properties with apartments on upper floors. Note the St. Stanislaus School is at 108 Summer St. Omit the right turn at Spring St. and continue south, noting the architecture of the many historic homes on upper Summer St. At 17 Summer St., for example, is a small home with peaks; it is a very old home and before the additions it was called a "shotgun house", i.e. the owner could stand in the front doorway and shoot straight through the back door. At the end of Summer turn right onto Center St. and continue to the Masonic Temple on the right and the Lodge of Elks on the left. Note the Town Common with gazebo on the left. Cross a bridge over the Hoosic River which flows through flood control chutes constructed in response to the "flood of 1938". Approach the information booth near Greylock Credit Union at 2 Park St. If the booth is open, you can pick up a copy of the historic walking tour for Park St. If you head north, the Adams Town Hall is on your left. Newly renovated, this building was formerly the American Legion Building and is the last of the mansions owned by mill owners at the turn of the last century. Pass by East Maple on your left and continue on Park St. Most of the buildings date back to the 19th century, so be sure to look for architectural features representative of that time. Of special note are the Adams Free Library, statue of President McKinley and Notre Dame Roman Catholic Church on your left. On the right are the Miss Adams Diner, the Adams Police Station and the Armory (modeled after a Norman Medieval castle). Taking a right onto Hoosac St., return to the Town Parking Lot and you have completed the 1.2 mile walk.
Excerpted from brochure published by the Town of Adams, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Management, Adams Trails & Treasures Committee