Ice Glen Trail

Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01263

Elevation Gain311ft
Trailhead Elevation970ft
Elevation Min/Max869/1063ft
Elevation Start/End970/970ft

Ice Glen Trail

Ice Glen Trail is a hiking trail in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It is 0.5 miles long and begins at 970 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is a mile with a total elevation gain of 311 feet.

Ice Glen Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"Just seconds from downtown Stockbridge, Ice Glen offers a climb through a glacial ravine. Climb over and around rocks and boulders to make your way through the glen. The crevasses of the glen sometimes harbor ice into the summer. At the end of the glen, sit beneath what some argue is the oldest pine tree in the state.

At the start of the glen a moss-covered vertical rock face is inscribed Ice Glen—The Gift to Stockbridge—of —David Dudley Field—1891. If you enter the glen on a hot summer day, you will feel the rush of cold air flowing out from the cracks and crevices deep below. Many large rocks and boulders have fallen from above due to frost and tree root damage. These fallen rocks have created many small passageways and minicaves that adventurous children love to explore. Some of these rocks can be slippery and tricky to climb over, so be cautious. The Ice Glen gets its name because the glen holds ice much longer than anywhere else in the area—sometimes ice can be found in the glen into June."

"This primordial rocky cleft, studded with mammoth hemlocks and
pines, holds pockets of ice into summer. An intersecting trail leads to a summit topped by Laura’s Tower with pleasing views.
Walk about 250 yards up the private gravel driveway lined by white pines; the driveway soon turns to asphalt as the grade increases.

If you visit in summer, you’ll notice a refreshing drop in temperature as you reach the trail. You are greeted by a jumble of large boulders and the twin pillars of a white pine on the left and an eastern hemlock on the right that serve as a kind of portal to the glen. The oldest hemlocks here are more than 300 years old. Truck-and cabin-sized boulders are green with moss and topped by ferns."

Ice Glen Trail Reviews

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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.
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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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Ice Glenn is kind of a sleeper surpise as it is very close to the main street of Stockbridge and therefore expectations were low. However, just minutes into the hike you are greeted by a remarkable looking gorge and the fun begins. The rocky trail brings you over and through the gorge and there are caves and interesting rock formations throughout. The trail is very well maintained and recommended for all ages..especially yougsters with a desire to explore.

Ice Glen Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
The trail is maintained by the Laurel Hill Association. Ice Glen is owned by town of Stockbridge; Stockbridge Town Hall (413-298-4714). Laura’s Tower Trail is owned by Laurel Hill Association, P.O. Box 24, Stockbridge, MA 01262.
Local Contacts
USGS Stockbridge; map sign at the trailhead
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018