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Crisp air, cool mornings, the earthy scent of the forest floor, and exploding colors as far as the eye can see—every year I look forward to these simple fall pleasures. I’ve spent countless hours walking along streams, across fields, and over mountains writing AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Berkshires, and there’s no better vantage point for catching the foliage across the Berkshires as it begins to turn from lush greens to saturated reds, oranges, and yellows. I hope you’ll enjoy a few of my favorite rambles, from airy overlooks to peaceful loop hikes.
The magnificent view from Stony Ledge | photo by René Laubach
Stony Ledge via Haley Farm Trail | Williamstown, MA
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,460 feet
Estimated Time: 2.5-3.0 hours
To make a bold claim, this short but fairly steep hike is to arguably the most scenic panorama in the entire Commonwealth. The return is by way of one of the reservation’s most popular trails along the southern slope of the bowl-shaped Hopper.
Basin Pond | Lee, MA
Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 290 feet
Estimated Time: 1.5-2.0 hours
A walk through magical mixed broadleaf and evergreen woodland, this partial loop trail is as yet a mostly undiscovered Berkshire gem and a wonderful walk to take with small children.
Overlook at Tyringham Cobble Reservation | photo by René Laubach
Tyringham Cobble Reservation | Tyringham, MA
Distance: 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 380 feet
Estimated Time: 1.5 hours
This wonderful loop trail takes you through bucolic pastures to a pair of ancient resistant bedrock promontories, known as cobbles, with splendid views of Tyringham valley.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary – Beaver Ponds Loop | Lenox, MA
Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 115 feet
Estimated Time: 1.0 hour
Lying in a scenic valley on the east flank of Lenox Mountain, Pleasant Valley’s 1,300 acres and seven-mile trail system offer wonderful hiking and wildlife observation opportunities. An easily observed beaver colony is active around dusk and a highlight of this loop route.
Lunch time on Alander Mountain | photo by René Laubach
Alander Mountain Trail | Mount Washington, MA
Distance: 5.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 790 feet
Estimated Time: 3.0-4.0 hours
Alander is one of the most scenic summits in the Berkshires. Throw in a roaring mountain brook and attractive mixed woodland alive with birds, and you have a real winner.
What are your favorite fall hikes? Share them with others in the comments!
For more information about these hikes, plus 45 more, pick up a copy of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Berkshires: Four-Season Guide to 50 of the Best Trails in Western Massachusetts, 2nd edition