Housatonic River Paddle from Deckers Landing
A delightful easy paddling flatwater 2-3 hour float trip of 4.6 river miles, with lots of bird life and beaver and muskrat activity, starts at Deckers Landing on New Lenox Road and finishes on the right just beyond the Woods Pond bridge. See pages 33-37 of A Paddling Guide to the Housatonic River in Berkshire County for a detailed description and map. This excellent guidebook is published by the Housatonic Valley Association.
South Yokun Ridge
From Olivia's Overlook, the Michael Walsh "easy access" trail offers a gentle, smooth climb to West Stockbridge Mountain's northern summit, with views of Monument Mountain and the Richmond valley. The more strenuous Ridge or Charcoal Trails offer the chance to make this walk a loop. Look for flat, circular platforms along this latter trail, the remains of old charcoal pits. For more details and a trail map, click here to access the BNRC website: South Yokun Ridge
G. Darey Wildlife Management Area
The 818-acre George L. Darey Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area spans the towns of Pittsfield, Lenox and Lee. Parking lot is on New Lenox Road. The Housatonic River flows through the area from north to south. This popular hunting area is stocked with pheasants. Additionally, native waterfowl, woodcock, turkey, aquatic furbearers, deer, and numerous non-game species associated with its lowland habitat abound. Hiking trails crisscross the area.
Public Access Trails and Waters in and near Lenox
The bucolic Town of Lenox, bounded by the Yokun Ridge on the west and the Housatonic River and October Mountain State Forest to the east, offers a variety of fascinating hiking and exploring opportunities in and around Lenox. The following listed resources are owned or conserved by the Town of Lenox, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mass Audubon, Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), private establishments that grant at least some level of public access without a fee, and private landowners who have granted public access, with conservation restrictions held by the Lenox Conservation Commission, Lenox Land Trust or BNRC. Some of these resources overlap into adjacent towns, but are readily accessible to Lenox residents and their guests.
BNRC, as a county-wide land trust with full-time staff, has been an extremely helpful resource - to the Town of Lenox, the Lenox Land Trust, and county-wide - in helping to preserve lands and developing and maintaining trail systems to ensure public access while preserving the character and wildlife values and viewscapes of the area. Where applicable, links are provided to the BNRC website for further information and trail maps. As indicated below, many agencies cooperate and collaborate to make these and other multiple public access resources available.
Pleasant Valley Sanctuary
One of Mass Audubon's three Berkshire sanctuaries,
Pleasant Valley's more than 1,100 acres and 7 miles of trails wind through forests, meadows, wetlands, and along the slopes of Lenox Mountain, making this site an excellent location for easy-to-strenuous hiking. While exploring, there’s a good chance you will see evidence of the sanctuary’s most visible wildlife resident, the beaver, via dams, dens, or lodges. The sanctuary offers an accessible all persons trail, gift shop, nature play area, restroom facilities, summer camp, and year round public programs. Admission is free to members and Lenox residents. Nonmembers are $5 adults, $3 children/
seniors. See Trail Map.
Decker Boat Launch - Housatonic River
See also the Links page of this website for many additional local hiking and environmental resources and maps.
North Yokun Ridge
From Olivia's Overlook, cross the road and follow Burbank Trail for a three-mile loop on Lenox Mountain, which takes in placid Shadowbrook Reservoir (Monks Pond), the old Gorman cellar hole, and a vista point dedicated to BNRC friend and benefactor Kelton Burbank. Or park half a mile below (east) of Olivia's Overlook to hike up Old Burbank Road to Monks Pond and the other trails. These trails offer high-quality hiking or showshoeing and are suitable to adventurous cross-country skiers. For more details and a trail map, click here to access the BNRC website - North Yokun Ridge.
Ice Fishing at Woods Pond - Housatanic River
Shoreline - Edith Wharton Park
Tom Struts to Impress the Ladies
Winding its way down Lenox Mountain, Lenox Mountain Brook has carved Stevens Glen, a narrow, 40-foot-long gorge in the side of the mountain. The glen derived its name from Romanzo Stevens, a local farmer turned entrepreneur, who in 1884 recognized the beauty and character of the cataract. He built bridges and walkways into the fields, constructed a covered dance pavilion, and charged 25 cents for admission. It was reported that in 1918 a party of 900 people from New York gathered for a celebration at the glen. But in 1919 the pavilion roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, and the structure has since returned to nature.
The trail to the glen loops through varied forest, crossing Lenox Mountain Brook and tributaries, ending at stairs down into the glen and a convenient viewing platform. There is often a refreshing coolness in the glen. It's a short hike, with round trip taking about an hour.
Heading west from Tanglewood, bear right up Richmond Mtn. Road/Lenox Road toward Richmond. Pass Olivia's Overlook. At top of the hill, turn left onto Lenox Branch Road and go 0.6 miles to a small pull-off on the right with a sign for the glen. For more details and a trail map, click here to access the BNRC website: Stevens Glen.
Kennedy Park Entrance at Arcadian Shop
Visitors Center - Pleasant Valley Sanctuary
Toole Wildlife Preserve
See Our Lands link for details about this newly created 111 acre Toole Wildlife Preserve.
Stevens Glen Waterfall & Viewing Platform
Snowshoe Hike - North Yokun Ridge
Edith Wharton Park
This 22 acre park on the western shore of Laurel Lake is co-owned by Lenox and Lee. It is part of the original property the famed author purchased when she designed her palatial residence here in 1902. It is accessed from Laurel Lake Road, off Plunkett Street in Lenox.
Dedication Plaque - Toole Wildlife Preserve
Monks Pond - Old Burbank Road Trail
Kennedy Park is a town-owned multi-use area with a myriad of trails. Expect to see hikers, skiers, dogs, mountain bikers and horses; no motorized vehicles are permitted. Kennedy Park Committee volunteers perform many hours of trail maintenance as well as grooming trails in winter. Parking and access points are the Church on the Hill (except during Sunday services and weddings), at the Arcadian Shop on Pittsfield Road, and off the south side of W. Dugway Road. See Trail Map.