A short walk through a magnificent gorge of boulders, caves, ancient pines, and hemlocks. Though the Berkshires have been molded by geologic activity extending over hundreds of millions of years, some of the most spectacular sights have taken shape over the past few thousand years. Ice Glen, just a few minutes’ walk from the center of Stockbridge, is such a place. Just southeast of the village, the narrow Housatonic River floodplain ends at the foot of the Beartown Hills. At the northern end of the hills is the gorge called Ice Glen. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who came to the glen many times, described it as “the most curious fissure in all Berkshire.” He was more correct than he knew. The streams that drain the Beartown Hills around Ice Glen all flow generally south to north, yet Ice Glen is aligned east to west. The deep ravine of the glen and the boulders calved from the walls of the gorge are evidence of flowing water. Yet no stream flows through the glen. So how did Ice Glen come to be such a curiosity? The answers are in the glen.
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© Charles W.G. Smith & Susan A. Smith/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.