Exploring Berkshires’ October Mountain State Forest

Spanning 16,500 acres, October Mountain State Forest, located in the Berkshires near Lee, Massachusetts, is the largest of all our state forests. Its name is said to have come from the author Herman Melville, who could see the hills from his Pittsfield home and loved how they looked in autumn.

Photo: Jon Fiobrar/Unsplash

You’ll find lots to do in the forest throughout the year, such as canoeing and kayaking in summer, or snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in winter. And whether you’re more a walk-in-the-woods person or a hiker who likes a challenge, October Mountain State Forest has a trail to fit your fancy. In fact more than 20 trails dot the woods, including a section of the Appalachian Trail. They are all well marked: white signs on trees for the Appalachian Trail, blue for foot traffic only, and orange or yellow for multi-use trails.

Here are just a few of the trails available. Remember, when it snows, many of the hiking trails become great cross-country ski trails.

The most popular portion of the Appalachian Trail here is a 7.6-milr path that goes from Route 20 to Pittsfield Road. Don’t let the distance stop you. This is a relatively easy to moderate hike.

If you don’t mind a bit of a climb, the October Mountain State Forest Loop Trail is a fun trek that combines a longer distance—6.1 miles—with some elevation.

Looking for a nice walk through the forest? Head out on the Aqueduct Trail, which is easy terrain and 1.7 miles long.

You can find a full listing of all the trails on the October Mountain State Forest website.

October Mountain State Forest
317 Woodland Road, Lee, MA
Open sunrise to one-half hour after sunset

The forest is located about 30 minutes north of Staveleigh House, off of US-7. Head out after one of our delicious breakfasts and enjoy a day roaming the woods!

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