nature trips


dogs on leash



At 16,500 acres, October Mountain is the largest state forest in Massachusetts. Here visitors can camp, hike and enjoy the outdoors while they visit nearby Tanglewood and other Berkshire Region points of interest. 47 campsites dot a sunny hillside and offer a great base to explore this vast forest. The name of "October Mountain" is attributed to writer Herman Melville, whose view from his home in Pittsfield of these hills in fall impressed him so. The state forest originated from the former estate of William C. Whitney, President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of the Navy. Trails are available for every level of experience, and include the famous Appalachian Trail. One of the most scenic trails lead through Schermerhorn Gorge, a striking natural feature which has intrigued generations of geologists. Countless varieties of wild plants and animals can be found throughout the varied terrain of this vast forest.

If you want an interesting hike and only have a couple of hours this is worth your time

Nice hike! Parking lot indicated works well. Leaves just fell on trail so it was a little tricky in spots, but overall pretty well blazed. Pine woods in the first mile is really nice as is the pond!

easy hike

3 months ago

We used the Finerty Trail (south from the pond) to return to Route 8 & 20 after our small AT hike from the road to the lake. This is a boring trail along a VERY rocky ATV road. The map makes it look like the trail extends south of Tyne Road to hook back up to the AT trail. While technically this is true, the vast majority of this portion of trail is along a road in the power corridor; at the end look out for a yellow sign on a tree to the right which will bring you down to the AT.

Park in the AT/Jacobs Ladder lot on Route 8 & 20, then use the blue connector trail to avoid walking along the road to the AT. Beautiful rolling trail through the woods, fairly easy grades. LOTS of mud currently (mid-Oct). It was a wet day with low cloud; views of the lake were only available once we were right on top of it.

Great hike. Very well marked. Very shady but very buggy. Bring bug spray

Fun day and the pond is beautiful. That said, the trail map is poor. We stayed on the AT past the intersection with the Finnerty trail near the pond, and then thought we could go all the way around the pond counterclockwise and back along the eastern edge of the pond, but you can’t do that. Although it looks on the trail map like the Finnerty Trail runs along the edge of the pond and links up with the AT on both sides, it doesn’t. There are dead ends in between and it’s pretty much impassable. There is a way to go around the pond counterclockwise (which we eventually did) but you have to swing wide of the pond to the east.

Also, the trail map makes it look like you can return almost to the parking lot on the Finnerty Trail but you can’t. Finnerty Trail dead ends at Becket Road, and then we had to walk up the pond road, which is steep, to return to the AT. So the bottom line is, this is a nice area to hike, lightly trafficked, and the pond is really nice, but stay on the AT, don’t mess with the Finnerty Trail relying on the All Trails map.

Difficult to find where trail begins- parking area is about .2 miles from trail head. If you park in the Appalachian trail/Jacob's ladder lot, there's a .2 mile connection trail, marked in blue, across the road. It intersects the trail in the woods, hang a left. Otherwise you could walk on the actual road for nearly a quarter mile and catch the trail from there- which is why the Alltrails GPS directions will seem slightly off.

Hike is pretty much all uphill for the first half, but is very well covered. You'll also cross another main road on the way. Took us about 1.2 hours to get to the lake- definitely a moderate difficulty. Beautiful view once you're there. Looked like the muddy beginning portion of the hike had been fixed with raised planking. Nearly exactly 3 miles from parking lot to lake. Well marked, took 2 adults about 3 hours to complete out and back at a moderate pace.

This is NOT an easy trail- whoever wrote that was delirious. We tried this trail for the first time, made it through the first swamp action, very tricky, lots of rotted planks, deep mud, and nothing to hang on to! Took the Knob loop, pretty steep and rugged and decided to head back without completing the entire loop. Another day perhaps with better footwear, water and time. The dog had fun though!

didn't see ant camp sites but nice hike steep at first we had to set up tent on 12 inches of snow about 5 miles past lake there was no designated camp site or fire pits

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nice trail with a sad,interesting history.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Don't go when the bugs are bad! Got chased right out by biting flies! Regardless, I had a ton of fun running the whole thing. Planks, roots, marsh. Cool place.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Great trail for family and dogs! Has a loop now that is 2.5 miles with a few stream crossings and a waterfall if the weather isn’t t too dry.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

not well marked but very scenic. do not park at campground and hike in as it adds an extra 2-3 miles

Overgrown trails, with a good portion running through a swamp. Mossy overgrowth on rocks made for a tricky traverse through some very muddy sections. Came across some day old bear scat as I came upon the swampy marsh section.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

clearly marked, seems popular. it has a small dirt parking lot and a visible sign by the side of the road.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Just off the AT, did not find it to be quite a loop, and loop requires walking on main road. Definitely off the beaten path. Short walk to small lake/pond w view, however no easy water entry point.

The trail is an easy walk. It goes around the lake but not many access points to the lake. The area that is easy to access is for the water supply and it's a no trespassing area.

Right near Lee and a great workout. Beautiful forest and trail.

Monday, July 03, 2017

We hiked from the parking lot on Rt. 20 to Finerty Pond. It was a beautiful day. The climb from 20 was a little steep and the air was muggy but from Beckett Mt to the Pond it was perfect. Nice breeze and no bugs to speak of. Perfect trip. Lunch at the lake and then back to parking by 11:00. We didn't go to the north side of the lake but instead continued on the AT around the south side. Really fun.

nice trail easy to follow

Monday, November 07, 2016

my daughter and I with our 2 dogs made the hike and stayed overnight on the peak of the mountain, and had a great time!

Great trail this place is great never knew about it until this summer. Easy to do some of the wooden planks are rotten or broken.Very scenic

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

did the AT from Washington mountain north 10.xx miles to Dalton, Ma
The trail in this section is extremely easy with very little elevation changes. One viewing point around midway where you can see the Pittsfield State Forest and Mt. Greylock.
Still, a nice walk through beautiful country.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

We explored two different trails while we were here and had a lot of fun. The sights were beautiful and the wildlife was enchanting.

Very easy trail except for a few muddy spots but gorgeous.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

We found some signs as we were on the way to another area before a concert at Tanglewood and decided to go here rather than to the place we'd intended as this location was closer to Tanglewood. We started in a camping area on the southwestern area of the overall state forest. There were a few trails originating in the campground: the Loop Trail, the Ledge trail and the Tamarack trail. We took the Ledge Trail, which was about a 2 mile hike with about 800' elevation over the course of the trail - the steep section was a decline of 600'. It featured gorgeous rocks, streams, waterfalls, and a crossing in a falls area. We had a group of 4, with a couple inexperience hikers, one was 11. The trail is rated as moderate or difficult depending on where you look, and I would agree, though we didn't have any problems with it. Our biggest challenge was that it was very moist and slippery - lots of very wet moss on nearly every rock. But we loved it and had a lot of fun. Took about 2 hours to complete it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

There's no "Washington Mountain Meadow" trail at October Mountain SF; I'm guessing whoever created this entry meant the Washington Mountain Marsh Trail's inner Interpretive Trail loop, which is officially 1.9 miles. We hiked the Washington Mountain Marsh Trail itself (2.7 miles) as part of a roughly 8 mile track loop, starting from the campground (Ledge Loop Trail->Boulder Trail->Washington Mountain Rd->County Rd->West Branch Rd->Washington Mountain Marsh Trail->West Branch Rd->Navin Trail->Boulder Trail->Ledge Loop Trail). The environs here are gorgeous, but October Mountain SF is not for novice hikers--many of the trails were in poor condition, whether from heavy erosion due to seasonal runoff (Navin Trail) or heavy flooding due to beaver activity (Washington Mountain Marsh Trail). They were also very buggy in stretches. But if you can hack all that--don't miss this place! Hiking along the flooded edge of a beaver dam while its builders darted back and forth just a few feet away, slapping their tails anxiously on the water, was a thrill well worth getting a bit wet and muddy for. We also saw numerous species of birds, especially warblers, and a slew of crimson-orange juvenile Eastern newts making their way overland in search of new ponds. Be sure to allow extra time for your hike due to the poor trail conditions--we usually make about 3 miles an hour, but only managed 2 here. You could probably put together a pretty good hike for less effort by driving to one of the parking lots in the interior (if the access roads are open; call ahead to check) and walking the roads instead--they're unpaved and virtually devoid of traffic. Official trail map here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/parks/trails/october-summer.pdf. Official trail mileage counts here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/parks/trails/octmtrailmiles.pdf.

3 months ago

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