By Meggie Baker
We’re all spending more time outdoors lately, and with colder weather not too far off, take advantage of the last of the warm days and hit the trails.
Fall in UpCountry means hikers can enjoy a break from stifling heat and humidity and enjoy the best foliage in the country.
The five hiking trails here offer something for everyone. If you are an experienced hiker looking for a little challenge, we’ve got something for you. And for anyone who might have only bought those hiking boots when the gyms closed, don’t worry. We’ve got a few easier offerings for the novice. So, pack your bag and remember to stay 6 feet apart on those trails.
In Southern Vermont
Bennington and Shaftsbury
fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5313356.pdf or alltrails.com/trail/us/vermont/glastenbury-mountain-via-long-trail-appalachian-trail
Glastenbury Mountain is a 20-plus-mile out-and-back hike kicking off at the Long Trail-Appalachian Trail trailhead on Route 9, 5 miles east of Bennington. For anyone looking to avoid that first rough mile, alternately, begin at the Little Pond trailhead 9 miles east of Bennington and cut across at the sign for the LT-AT.
Wear layers, and bring warm gear: It’s windy at the top. It’s 9.8 miles to Goddard Shelter, so, leave early, and if you’re hoping to get a spot, leave earlier. Don’t worry, there are plenty of places to pitch a tent around the shelter, (Recommended: There is a lovely composting toilet at the shelter and more tree coverage to block the wind) or at the fire tower. No potable water; bring enough or be ready to purify water you can get from a spring at the shelter.
Little Rock Pond
Little Rock Pond trail via the Long Trail-Appalachian Trail is an easy, mostly flat 4.8-mile hike along a brook and then through some marshy forest, ending at the pond about 2 miles in. Don’t forget your bathing suit if you think you want a dip! There is a loop around the pond and first-come, first-serve camping platforms for those who want to stay the night. Don’t forget the bug spray.
Mount Snow is the place to enjoy fall foliage! Take the chairlift to the top and hike down, or, if you are looking for a challenge, hike to the top and take the lift down. Remember to bring a face mask to access certain areas of the resort, while loading and unloading lifts, in bubble chairs and while in lines. Lift capacity is limited to accommodate social distancing protocols, so, be prepared to hike both ways to avoid the wait.
Be aware that if you are looking to enjoy more than just the trails during your visit to Mount Snow, all transactions will be cashless for lift rides, mountain activities, on-mountain dining, lodging and retail locations, and that on-mountain dining will be grab-and-go only. Dogs are not permitted.
In the Berkshires
Taconic Crest Trail in Pittsfield State Forest
If you are looking for a beautiful autumn vista, hike a section of the Taconic Crest Trail in Pittsfield State Forest, from Potter Mountain Road to Berry Hill. This is a 6.2-mile out-and-back hike with some ups and downs. The payoff is some sweeping panoramic views of New York’s Rensselaer Plateau to the west. And if you don’t have the time for a 6-mile hike, you always can meet up with the trail from Berry Pond Circuit Road.
Monument Mountain Reservation
Route 7, Great Barrington
If you are looking for an easier day, hike the 1.5-mile Indian Monument Trail to the junction with Hickey Trail, then hop on Peeskawso Peak Trail for the best views, 7/10-mile before rejoining Indian Monument Trail. For a tougher challenge, hike Hickey Trail to Peeskawso Peak Trail to Indian Mountain Trail.
The Trustees of Reservation remind you to wear your masks and keep your distance on trails. Parking is free for members and $5 for nonmembers.
Meggie Baker is the calendar clerk for The Berkshire Eagle.