Berkshires scenic drives unveil mountains, valleys, and fine fall foliage
Along MA Route 20
Lee to Russell, MA
Length: 33 miles
Jacob’s Ladder Trail Scenic Byway is a rural roadway that runs through the foothills of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Follow the byway through vistas of forested hills, the rock-strewn Westfield River, open fields, small towns, wetlands and steep rock ledges. Along the way are three entries into the Chester-Blandford State Forest where you can find parking areas for hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Cultural attractions along the way include Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket; Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; home in Lenox of novelist Edith Wharton; theatrical productions of Shakespeare plays are performed at the gilded Age estate Ventfort Hall. If you enjoy 19th-century architecture in its original setting, spend time in Lee Center, which has been a movie set more than once.
Along Rockwell and Notch roads through Mount Greylock, then Reservoir Road to North Adams
Lanesborough to North Adams, MA
Length: 16.3 miles
This trail starts at Mount Greylock State Reservation Park Visitor Center, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough (413-499-4262). At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts. Rising above the surrounding Berkshire landscape, dramatic views of 60-90 miles distant may be seen, offering views of five states. This beautiful reserve has a campground as well as many trails to hike. Many authors, including Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, have been inspired by visits to this mountain. Trail ends at Western Gateway Heritage State Park, 115 State Street, North Adams. Allow 2.5 hours with stops at the Moutn Greylock visitor center, summit, and Western Gateway Heritage State Park. Plan for five hours if your tour involves light hiking.
Greenfield to Williamstown, MA
Length: 65 miles
The feet that trotted the Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway have left their marks in history. Benedict Arnold led an army down the trail. Before him in time strolled Metacomet, or "King Philip," as the British called him. The trail got its name when the Mohawk tribe marched and destroyed the Pocumtucks in a fierce battle; in friendlier times, it was a trade route. Best of all, parts of this ancient path still exist and are available for visitors to hike. The byway also has over 100 attractions to see, ranging from old pilgrim churches, to the beautiful statue "Hail to the Sunrise," to the gorgeous one-of-a-kind Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. Come see one of the oldest roads in the nation.