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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beartown State Forest

Went hiking in the southern Berkshires today to Beartown State Forest, a 12,000 acre state forest located in the towns of Monterey, Great Barrington and Lee.
35 acre Benedict Pond is the centerpiece of the State Forest, and a 1.7 mile loop trail follows the perimeter of the pond.
Very strong winds made for extremely choppy waters.
A small man made waterfall flows out of an outlet of the pond.
As the trail continues its loop, you pass by quieter waters.
Even though the air was cool and windy, the bright sun still felt wonderful.
Enormous boulders make for an interesting stop along the far side of the pond.
The trail widens appreciably for a short distance, and the still leafless hardwood trees allow for ample sunshine.
The trail to the Ledges is actually a small section of the Appalachian Trail and becomes steeper and climbs through a rocky section
A secluded, serene pond is located from a short path off the trail near the Ledges.
The Ledges is a rocky outcrop with clear views to the south, and partial views southeast and southwest.  It is a beautiful location with far reaching views.  Here is a view southwest beyond Benedict Pond.
A nice view of the Monterey countryside and Stevens Pond can be seen to the southeast.
1841 foot Livermore Peak rises directly to the south.
This is me on the steep ledges from above.
Distant southern Berkshire peaks towards Great Barrington and beyond.
Choppy waters and very breezy conditions persisted in any clearings.
The total distance hiked was about 2.5 miles.  After getting back to the car, I drove up the State Forest road to a trail head for the lookout trail.  The trail leads up a short distance up the woods to an amazing vista.
A phenomenal view over rural Great Barrington farmland.
Rolling Berkshire hills and southern Taconics.
A great shot of the rocky lookout.
Here is shot of me at the lookout.
A picnic table makes for a great spot to pause and enjoy the view.  It was a beautiful day and hiked a little over 3 miles total for the day
Babbling West Brook runs along the state forest access road for a distance, making for a peaceful drive back.

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