Ice Glen

OutAndBack • 1.4 mi • 275 ft

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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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Stockbridge
Length: 1.4 total miles
Elevation Gain: 275 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 1.5 hours
Season: Best spring through fall
Local Maps: USGS Stockbridge
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Recent Trail Reviews

11/1/2009

This is a fun little hike, easily accessible from Stockbridge, with the trailhead about two minutes from the Red Lion Inn. You start the hike by crossing a stream over a suspension footbridge. It takes about ten minutes to reach the Ice Glen, a small ravine with jumbles of boulders covered by ferns and moss. I will return in late spring or summer to see the greenery in full bloom. A great place for kids to explore.

2/13/2006

The Ice Glen In Stockbridge, MA is a gem. Hidden away from the nearby town, this gorge offers hikers with a glimps at a world that has all but dissapeared. Huge pines and hemlocks jut out of the cliffs and giant boulders showing us what an old forest is supposed to look like. We hiked into the Ice Glen in February and had a blast trying to navigate the icy trail that leads over and under enormous boulders. For all its beauty and uniqueness it is quite short. So we climbed the south wall and scrambled to the top of the nearby mountain and found the joining trail that leads to a 30 foot tall fire tower. Lots of fun and close to the Lions Den.

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