The bucolic Town of Lenox, bounded by the Yokun Ridge on the west and the Housatonic River and October Mountain State Forest to the east, offers a variety of fascinating hiking and exploring opportunities in and around Lenox. The following listed resources are owned or conserved by the Town of Lenox, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mass Audubon, Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), private establishments that grant at least some level of public access without a fee, and private landowners who have granted public access, with conservation restrictions held by the Lenox Conservation Commission, Lenox Land Trust or BNRC. Some of the resources described below overlap into adjacent towns, but are readily accessible to Lenox residents and their guests.
Click on LINKS in the menu bar above to access many additional local hiking and environmental resources and maps.
The Parsons Marsh Trail Grand Opening Event was Saturday, September 15th, 2018. Over 200 people attended! This fully handicap accessible trail and boardwalks, is now open to the public. Berkshire Natural Resources Council, which owns the portion of the marsh with the trail and boardwalk, hosted guided public walks with Lenox Land Trust assistance in mid-October, & we expect there will be many more. The entire Marsh is now conserved, as a result of BNRC's leadership and the long-term efforts and generosity of many.
The Toole Wildlife Preserve includes part of Yokun Brook, extensive wetlands, and 5 ponds behind Hampton Inn & Suites and the Yankee Inn. Privately owned, Lenox Land Trust holds a conservation restriction on the Preserve. Boardwalks and trails to create public access are planned, but until they're installed, the Preserve may be viewed from the shoreline behind Hampton Inn. Click for an 8 minute aerial drone tour of Preserve. Lenox Land Trust also holds conservation restrictions on two other properties and owns a small parcel on Yokun Ridge; these have no public access.
Kennedy Park is a town-owned multi-use area with a myriad of trails. Expect to see hikers, skiers, dogs, mountain bikers and horses; no motorized vehicles are permitted. Kennedy Park Committee volunteers perform many hours of trail maintenance as well as grooming trails in winter. Parking and access points are the Church on the Hill (except during Sunday services and weddings), at the Arcadian Shop on Pittsfield Road (Routes 7/20) , and off the south side of W. Dugway Road. See See Trail Map.
The 818-acre George L. Darey Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area spans the towns of Pittsfield, Lenox and Lee. Parking lot is on New Lenox Road, as is a boat launch area with auxiliary parking. The Housatonic River flows through the area from north to south. This popular hunting area is stocked with pheasants. Additionally, native waterfowl, woodcock, turkey, aquatic furbearers, deer, and numerous non-game species associated with its lowland habitat abound. Hiking trails crisscross the area.
From Olivia's Overlook, cross the road and follow Burbank Trail for a three-mile loop on Lenox Mountain, which takes in placid Shadowbrook Reservoir (Monks Pond), the old Gorman cellar hole, and a vista point dedicated to BNRC friend and benefactor Kelton Burbank. Or park half a mile below (east) of Olivia's Overlook to hike up Old Burbank Road to Monks Pond and the other trails. These trails offer high-quality hiking or showshoeing and are suitable to adventurous cross-country skiers. For more details and a trail map, click here to access the BNRC website - North Yokun Ridge.
One of Mass Audubon's six Berkshire sanctuaries, Pleasant Valley's more than 1,100 acres and 7 miles of trails wind through forests, meadows, wetlands, and along the slopes of Lenox Mountain, making this site an excellent location for easy-to-strenuous hiking. While exploring, there’s a good chance you will see evidence of the sanctuary’s most visible wildlife resident, the beaver, via dams, dens, or lodges. The sanctuary offers an accessible all persons trail, gift shop, nature play area, restroom facilities, summer camp, and year round public programs. Admission is free to members and Lenox residents. Nonmembers are $5 adults, $3 children/seniors. See Trail Map.
From Olivia's Overlook, the Michael Walsh "easy access" trail offers a gentle, smooth climb to West Stockbridge Mountain's northern summit, with views of Monument Mountain and the Richmond valley. The more strenuous Ridge or Charcoal Trails offer the chance to make this walk a loop. Look for flat, circular platforms along this latter trail, the remains of old charcoal pits. For more details and a trail map, click here to access the BNRC website: South Yokun Ridge
Winding its way down Lenox Mountain, Lenox Mountain Brook has carved Stevens Glen, a narrow, 40-foot-long gorge in the side of the mountain. The trail to the glen loops through varied forest, crossing Lenox Mountain Brook and tributaries, ending at stairs down into the glen and a convenient viewing platform. There is often a refreshing coolness in the glen. It's a short hike, with round trip taking about an hour. For more details and a trail map, click here to access the BNRC website: Stevens Glen.
This 22 acre park on the western shore of Laurel Lake is co-owned by Lenox and Lee. It is part of the original property the famed author Edith Wharton purchased when she designed her palatial residence here in 1902. It is accessed from Laurel Lake Road, off Plunkett Street in Lenox. Future walking trails are in the planning stages from The Mount, the former home of Edith Wharton, to the shores of Edith Wharton Park.
A delightful easy paddling flatwater 2-3 hour float trip of 4.6 river miles, with lots of bird life and beaver and muskrat activity, starts at Deckers Landing on New Lenox Road and finishes on the right just beyond the Woods Pond bridge, at the public canoe/kayak launch dock. See pages 33-37 of A Paddling Guide to the Housatonic River in Berkshire County for a detailed description and map. This excellent guidebook is published by the Housatonic Valley Association.
This 231 acre town-owned parcel bounded on the east by the (insert) Housatonic railroad line and the Housatonic River, is accessible to the public via Willow Creek Road, from where Housatonic Street turns at Woods Pond. It is stocked with pheasants for upland game hunting in the fall, and is a popular bird watching area in spring and summer. No motorized vehicles are allowed.
See the Links page of this website for many additional local hiking and environmental resources and maps.
There are many additional resources in or adjoining Lenox that charge a fee for access, including Tanglewood, Kripalu, The Mount, Cranwell, and more.