NatureWatch: Fall foliage in the Berkshires, Part 1
Northern and Central Berkshire
There are as many different locations to enjoy fall foliage as there are roadside turnoffs in the Berkshires. Here are three of my up-county favorites. And remember the brighter the day, the brighter the foliage.
Warner Hill, Washington
Ninety miles of Appalachian Trail in Berkshire County translates into ample opportunity to design your own outing -- a couple hours, a full day or even more. With the arrival of fall foliage, Warner Hill, north of the Kirchner Road/Blotz Road Appalachian Trail head in the Town of Washington is a good idea for a two-hour jaunt.
The trail, steep in a few places is nonetheless an easy walk with a view making it worthwhile. The woodland floor here is carpeted with ferns and the fruits of spring and summer flowering plants, and newly fallen leaves make a pleasant sound as you purposely drag your feet.
Choose a bright and beautiful afternoon, and you will be amply rewarded: Mount Greylock in the distance with the Green Mountains of Vermont beyond to the north.
The sweeping panorama also allows for views of the Taconic Range to the west and surprisingly close and seemingly below us, Pittsfield.
Green giving way to red, yellow and orange confirm that it is indeed autumn. Take Pittsfield's Williams Street or Dalton Division Road to Kirchner Road.
Cheshire Cobbles, Cheshire
One of the special places, and perhaps too often overlooked, is Cheshire Cobbles on the Appalachian Trail, where you will enjoy a fine view of Mount Greylock and the valley between.
To get there, follow Main Street until it veers left (from direction of Route 8) and turn right onto Furnace Hill Road and continue to the trailhead. From there to the Cobbles is about a half-hour walk, perhaps a little more. Follow the white blazes as the trail continues in a series of S-turns. Upon reaching the rocks and pass under cliffs, find the blue blazes leading to the outcropping and views.
Unfortunately, there is no public parking or facilities at the trailhead. It is suggested the hiker add a half-mile to the trek and park at the Cheshire Post Office.
Rounds' Rock, Cheshire
and New Ashford
On the south side Mount Greylock, a trailhead, 3 miles north of Mount Greylock Visitor Center on Rockwell Road, begins a mile-long loop trail that will take you to one of the Berkshires' nicest vistas south and west.
Take the side trail to a rocky overlook for spectacular views of Bear Mountain in distant Connecticut, the southern Taconics, and to the right, New York's Catskill Mountains. Follow the trail a bit longer for nice views of Pontoosuc and Onota lakes. Continue along, returning to the paved road, turn right to parking area.
Questions and comments for Thom Smith: Email Naturewatch@live.com
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