Did you know that approximately 69% of the town of Great Barrington is forested? Another 10% is farm land and pasture. And we all know about our Berkshire Mountains. No wonder there are so many gorgeous spots to appreciate the beauty of nature in and around our small town. Check out some of these walking trails and hiking trails – secret scenic walks and hikes in Great Barrington – whether you want to take a hike or just a selfie. The Berkshires have so much to offer…how about starting with Great Barrington? All the following spots are close to Saint James Place!
This is the easiest walk – and so close to Saint James Place! The River Walk follows the west bank of the Housatonic River between Cottage Street and Bridge Street. You can go “upstream” or “downstream.” The entrance, located at Church and River Streets, is dedicated to W. E. B. Du Bois – very near where he was born. Do this walk on a Saturday morning then go to the Great Barrington Farmers Market! More info on River Walk here.
This moderate 3.5 mile loop connects Main Street, the River Walk, residential neighborhoods, and the Lake Mansfield Recreational Area. The walk travels along sidewalks, trails, roadside, and lake edge. We suggest you start at the River Walk or Town Hall. Better view of the map here.
This is the largest park in Great Barrington with over 88 acres of trails. Many residents have never heard of this park! You can walk or bike down a long dirt road that takes you directly to the shore of the Green River. There’s a lovely grassy area, some tiny waterfalls and trails that lead into the woods along the river’s edge. Hidden in the crook of a tree on one path is a little jar full of wishes. Park at the top of Haley Road.
East Mountain watches over Great Barrington from the East and provides a beautiful sight as you come down Bridge Street or peek out over roof tops as you look down Railroad Street Climbing the mountain is popular and there is a ladder at the top to climb and get a great view. What many don’t know, however, is that beautiful trails and a gorgeous little pond are just a short walk from the trailhead for East Mountain. At the end of Quarry Street you’ll find a quiet pond and there is usually a Great Blue Heron hanging around looking for a meal. This pond is one of the reservoirs for the town. Walk up past the water and the trails continue. This area is known nationally as a prime spot for bouldering so you may encounter some rock climbers on your walk. This hike is considered challenging because of the rugged terrain and steep slopes. Learn more about East Mountain State Forest here.
Just off of busy Route 7 is the quiet oasis of Fountain Pond. In the spring, folks pull in to the little parking area to watch the geese. Baby geese are adorable to watch as they follow their parents around. Just don’t try to touch one! There’s a nice hike along the edge of the pond that takes you away from the road. If you want a longer hike you can keep going south to the Community Center and then back. Learn more about Fountain Pond here.