Hiking Southern New England
by Rhonda & Greg Ostertag (Falcon Guides)
© Rhonda & Greg Ostertag/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
Beware! Shaker village seems to have changed their rules on accessing the trail through the Shaker village. When we attempted the hike, we were told that there was a $20 fee per person even if you were just walking through the village to the trail. There is no "hiker pass.!" Since it was raining steadily, it didn't seem like it was worth $40 for the two of us to access the trail. Other free hikes are available in the area.
Took a large group from my hiking club up this trail this weekend. Most of the trail is in good shape, but several sections have a lot of obstructions like fallen trees that rquire going off the trail to get around them. The approach to the Holy Mount/Mt. Lebanon is particularly bad. A tree has fallen into the break in the stone wall where the trail is supposed to lead you into the Sacred lot. The tree completely blocks the trail and is draped over the wall so you can't even see that there is a break there. The trail beyond that is almost completely blocked by fallen trees for about 100 yards. We tried following a trail through the ferns past the break, but it ended in the middle of the field and was a dead end. We went back and I managed to find the trail again after climbing over the stome wall on the right and bushwacking around the blocked sections. There were a few minor blockages the rest of way. I talked to the woman at the Shaker Village ticket desk about the conditions and she said they have no funds for maintenance right now. She admitted some people from the Village had recently hiked the trail and got lost. I advised them they needed to have some trail maintenance done ASAP or they should close the trail. It's an excellent hike, but I can't recommend it unless something is done about the conditions (Unless you like buchwacking through thickets).
I love this hike because there is NEVER a atv or loads of people! The main thing that I get out of the place is HISTORY!! You can just imagine the ghosts of the past.Certain places are a good work out ( doll mountain) WELL WORTH THE EFFORT!!
It is beautiful in the fall! This trail is on the Southern side of Pittsfield State Forest, and one of the few that is closed to off-road vehicles. We love this trail for quick, not so intense day hikes with our dogs- you cannot bring dogs through the shaker village but you can access the trail at the end of West Street in Pittsfield. Follow West Road until it is dirt, Continue until you see an area on the right which is very open-higschool kids have keggers there so watch for debris- you can park there and continue up the trail, turn left when it splits and follow trails pointing to the shaker trail
I recently did this trail with my girlfriend who picked it and is relatively new to hiking. The hike was better than I expected. I think most people who visit the village don't go on the hike. We didn't see anyone else on the trail and the few people we asked who worked there didn't even know where the trail was. It had an elevation gain of about 700 ft according to the map and did get the heart pumping at times. If you go to the visitors center at Hancock Village they will give you a map and info booklet put together by the boy scouts which you will find handy and interesting while on the hike. They will give you hiking stickers so you don't have to pay the 15$ entrance fee to the village. This is a good day hike and better than I expected. For those in good shape, you can probably run it. You reach a couple of peaks while on the hike but you cannot see anything due to the heavily forested and overgrown area. I'm sure visibility would be better in the winter and I bet the area is really beautiful in the Fall. The info booklet points out some interesting things pertaining to the Shakers along the way.
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