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Monday, July 13, 2015

Savoy Mountain State Forest(Northern Berkshires)

Covering over 10,000 acres in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, Savoy Mountain State Forest offers over 50 miles of trails as well as many different recreational opportunities in a remote wooded setting.  I've visited several times in the past and even had a close encounter with a black bear here a few years ago, so I know that this can be a truly special place.
 I first set out to hike the Busby Trail, which climbs 1.3 miles northwest from Central Shaft Road to 2,566 foot Spruce Hill.  The trail is more of a jeep road than a foot trail, with deep ruts and mud everywhere.
 The trail crosses under powerlines two different times within the first half mile.
Following the powerlines steeply north and east.
 Re-entering the woods after the powerlines, following the blue blazes.
 A typical section of the trail through deep woods.
An old farmstead cellar hole offers a glimpse into the past.  This farm was from the 19th and early 20th century before the state purchased the land.
 Rock walls line the woods, marking old land boundaries.
A steep, rocky section near the top.
 Another stiff climb.
 After 1.3 miles, and climbing nearly 700 feet, you arrive at the rocky summit.
Unfortunately, it was very humid and hazy, obscuring views of the Hoosac Valley below.
 Nearby rolling peaks to the south and east.
 The terrific panoramic views from Spruce Hill.
 I had really worked up a good sweat in the sweltering heat, so took my time hydrating and soaking in the views towards the Greylock Range.
 After finally leaving the summit, I retraced my steps back down the Busby Trail.  I noticed this sign along the way, but luckily didn't have any troubles with ice today.
 Completed the 2.6 miles RT before heading further east into the State Forest, along Central Shaft Road.  My next stop was the Haskins Trail, which leaves east from Central Shaft Road towards Bog Pond.
 A small, meandering stream along the Haskins Trail.
 After about .25 of a mile, the Bog Pond Trail breaks away from the Haskins Trail and heads directly towards the pond.
There are several scenic vistas of 40 acre Bog Pond along the way.
 Bog Pond is found at an elevation of 1,858 feet and was dammed up in the 1800s to supply power for mills downstream.
 The trail closely follows the north shore of the pond nearly the entire length.
The outlet flowing over the dam.
 Retraced my steps back to the car, completing the 1.5 mile RT hike.  I then stopped at Burnett Pond, yet another of the wild and scenic ponds in the State Forest.  Burnett Pond can be reached via a short trail off of gravel New State Road.
 After finally leaving Savoy State Forest, I drove a little south to Windsor State Forest, which is now unstaffed and unmaintained but still open to the public.  It is a bit eerie walking amongst the empty campgrounds but the beautiful Westfield River flows throughout the forest.
 I followed some informal paths down to the river from the now unoccupied campsites, rock hopping along the way downstream.
What a great day!  Hiked a bit over 4 miles today throughout the remote woods of the Northern Berkshires.


  1. Next time you are at Windsor State Forest check out Windsor Jambs. Great place after a heavy rain.

    1. Sounds great! Thanks for the heads up!