to preserve and promote the natural beauty of the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts

…we recognize and preserve Hilltown history for all…

Mission Statement: Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, Inc. is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes to engage in all legal activities relating to the development, maintenance and operation of recreational hiking and outdoor adventure in Western Massachusetts.

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, Inc. provides monthly, free group guided tours of hiking locations in various locations of Western Massachusetts. We also provide free volunteer trail maintenance for trails including brush clean up, trash collection and storm cleanup for all outdoor passive recreations in Western Massachusetts. We also provide free presentations to other civic groups, non-profit organizations, libraries and schools.

We are a non-profit 501C(3) organization incorporated in the State of Massachusetts. Tax ID #86-2532249

Western Massachusetts is far off the beaten path…..which is it’s advantage. Far from the urban hustle and bustle, the sleepy Hilltowns nestled in hollows and along wild and scenic rivers are an unspoiled wilderness of nature and wildlife. Old growth forests and trees along long ago abandoned roads still stand over one hundred years old. Exotic plants and birds thrive including bald eagles. Bobcat and moose wander the vast protected open spaces, with no threat from man or automobile.

The Hilltowns are an outdoor museum of history. Many state forests and conserved properties contain relics of early colonial settlements, factories and transportation including electric street railways, the first stage coach turnpikes and the Western Railroad. Cemeteries from the 1700’s are now forested but their stone walls still stand. Saw mills, tanneries and dams are still very distinguishable


We have compiled detailed maps, and have published and created many of our own; so that visitors can learn, explore and adventure to the Hilltowns and experience the natural beauty of the mountains, rivers, lakes, fields and forests of the Hilltowns.

Group Hike Schedule 2023


The Chester Granite Saw



Hiking group buys granite finishing works to be preserved in historic Chester Factory Village


The Chester Hudson and Granite Works property, near the old Chester Railway Station, was purchased on Sept. 25, 2023, by the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, a 501c(3) organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the history and natural beauty of the Hilltowns for all to enjoy.

The Granite Works were started in the early 1800’s to cut and finish the granite that was quarried just up the road at the Beckett Quarry, a property that is now owned by the Trustees of Reservations. It features a huge granite saw, originally operated by steam power, with some remarkable mechanisms designed to handle the massive blocks of quarried stone. The property has been in private hands up to last week and might have become lost to history without some very special efforts to save it.

“Our goal is to completely preserve this unique, magnificent and historic piece of land and its original equipment,” announced Liz Massa, co-founder and president of the Hilltown Hikers. “We plan to apply for National Historic Landmark status so all can enjoy it and learn the impressive history of an early industry in Chester, Massachusetts.”

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers was founded by a small group of friends who loved the Hilltowns of Western Mass.  The more they hiked, the more rich history of the area they found. They eventually began to offer guided tours and hikes each month. They also built a huge website filled with thousands of hiking ideas, blogs, maps and photos. And they have developed a very large following.

You can learn more about this organization and how to help support their efforts by going to www.hilltownhikers.com.  Please help us in making this happen for all. Our Go Fund Me campaign link is  https://www.gofundme.com/dd6p8-conserve-the-hudson-and-chester-granite-works A non-profit 501C(3) organization incorporated in the State of Massachusetts. Tax ID #86-2532249

Donations can be made by check payable to Western Mass Hilltown Hikers Inc.

PO Box 3 Chester, MA 01011

All donations are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided for your records.

Become a Hilltown Hiker Member

Sign Up Here!
Sign Up Here!

Hilltown Hikers Membership Form pdf

Support the Hilltown Hikers and get your membership, be a part of our historical hikes, wild adventures and experience the natural beauty of the Hilltowns!

Mail your form and donation to:

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers P.O. Box 3 Chester, MA 01011

Please make checks payable to: Western Mass Hilltown Hikers Inc.

You can sign up securely with a credit card on our shopping page here: https://westernmasshilltownhikers.com/product/membership/

We updated this website platform in Fall 2020 after completely outgrowing our old one! That being said,  we will be uploading ALL our info here…yes..everything, including dedicated pages to Hilltown History and a more user friendly map database.  Don’t forget our BLOG has everything we do including new map uploads.  Thank you, we love you guys!

Check out our YouTube Page to see live videos of everywhere we go!

subscribe to our You Tube Channel to see new videos posted

Trails we are involved in….Blandford Long Pond and Shepard Lot, Essau’s Heel in Becket, Tekoa Park in Russell/Westfield, Round Top Hill in Chester.  We always have a lot going on.  We also do educational presentations at Libraries and Schools.  Trail work is something we really enjoy…keeping our beautiful outdoor passive recreation spaces in good shape for hikers (and dogs too).  Check out the Country Journal where we publish our weekly Hilltown Hiking Adventures.  We really enjoy keeping Hilltown History alive, if you know of a historic place…let us know.  We research our area’s history at local libraries and our members are Historians!
Town Walking Maps
Almost every Hilltown has created their own Walking Map, complete with historical locations and walking routes offering woods hiking and street walking options. These are great for everyone because they are rated on difficulty, show mileage and sights to see. Most are easy and short. We are pleased to have worked with Healthy Hampshire, The Hilltown CDC and Highlands Footpath over the last several years creating a walking map for Chester; one of the first! Please click here to learn more about these maps. All town walking maps can be found on our All Trail Maps pages categorized by town.

Watch Karen and Liz on the Live Broadcast of Ken’s Den on WCPC15 TV (Westfield Public TV) and WSKB 89.5 FM (Westfield State Radio).  Thank you to Harry Rock and Kathleen Palmer for an enjoyable morning on LIVE TV! 

Special Thank you to Patrick Berry and Mass Appeal for coming out to Chester! 
(Mass Appeal) – There are many miles of hiking trails in Western Massachusetts and one group has been regularly organizing hikes and volunteer efforts to maintain some of these trails.
Liz Massa, Lead Hiker and volunteer with the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, gives us an inside look at some of the hikes and history they’ve been enjoying.

The 2023 21st Annual Housatonic Heritage Walks. We were pleased to be hosting and co-hosting hikes again this year!!

Heritage Areas around the U.S. have distinctive histories, geographies, natural resources and fascinating stories to tell. Ours is one: comprising nine towns in Northwest CT and 20 in Berkshire County, MA.There are 49 Heritage Areas in the U.S. U.S. Congress has designated these areas, which are funded through the National Park Service. Find out more About Housatonic Heritage here.

We are a member of 1Bershire and Berkshires.org check out our listing and all the great things to do in the Berkshires of Western Mass!

As Featured in the August E-News!  #visittheberkshires

Off the Beaten Path – Visit the Berkshires of Western MA

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers was created for people who love the outdoors to get out and discover new destinations for outdoor recreation. Our goal is to bring awareness of the landscape, history and wildlife the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts have to offer and promote those natural assets to boost tourism and economic development to the area while still keeping our open spaces natural.

In 2016, we decided to take YOU along……

We were once three friends who hiked every weekend to a different destination, each week more friends joined us, then friends of friends and so here we are today, a group of over 10,000 members, over 5,100 in the Facebook Group and 8,600 followers on our Social Media platforms. Each month we lead a publicly advertised group hike, always free, open to everyone including well behaved dogs.
We want to hear from you! Do you have a great hiking destination? Historical location? Are you a landowner with awesome trails and want to do a group hike? Email us at westernmasshilltownhikers@aol.com

Hilltown Hikers In The News

Check out our You Tube Channel and Subscribe!

Upcoming Events

Make a Tax Deductible Donation with any Form of Payment



Register Here for our Group Events!

Shatterrack Mountain in Russell

Cheshire Cobbles

Tekoa Mountain in Montgomery

We invite you all to post on all our social media your adventures whether it be hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. kayaking or mountain biking.  Let others know your idea for a hike or share your favorite trail. Post your beautiful pictures and videos! If you are looking to get out there and you need someone to come along…. you can network on our social media. We use hashtags to find our adventures all over the internet, #westernmasshilltownhikers and #hikethehilltowns
We have discovered that there are many of you out there that want to get outdoors to a waterfall or climb a mountain and need a partner to do it with or simply want to enjoy our pictures and videos. We invite you to all come out to the Hilltowns of Western Mass to see and enjoy our natural beauty! 

Hike Leader Liz

I have been told that I am a “hike-a-holic”.  Fact, I am!  I rented a house in Richmond years ago, hiked/biked the area trails and remembered how much I enjoyed growing up in the woods of Hampden.  After working and living in the Springfield area for 20 years….it was time for me to get back in touch with the outdoors.  I immediately made the move to Russell after completely falling in love with the Hilltowns and finding myself again. 
There is nothing I love more than our beautiful Hilltowns and my dogs of course!



Ronnie is a 14 year old Lhasa Apso who has hiked the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts.  She loves mountains and rock climbing.  Find her on the trail at Liz’s feet. Ronnie has recently gone blind, she continues to be a happy dog but unfortunately she cannot hike with us any more as she has gone into retirement.


Angie loves to hike but preferably in warm weather! Angie loves other dogs and people. Hide your trail snacks, she loves food too.

Hike Leader Karen

Karen McTaggart grew up in Russell.  After being away for 30 years in Southwick and Agawam, she moved back to town to help her Dad, Gerry Sikes.  She is a postal carrier in Suffield, Ct and has a son and granddaughter in LA, whom she loves to visit.  Karen is an original Western Mass Hilltown Hiker and Hike Leader. 
She was an avid softball player and played for the Russell Inn Woman’s Softball Team in the Hilltown Women’s League.  Karen loves to travel, having family all over the country.  But, returning to the beautiful hills of home is her favorite thing.  Local history and family genealogy is her passion.  This makes for a great enjoyment for hiking the local roads, trails, and woods, as well as the beautiful views.  Bowling, hiking, photography are her activities of choice.   Karen is an original founder along with Liz of the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers.


Hike Leader Greg

I grew up in Ohio and have lived in Southwick for the last 25 years.

My goal has been to hike, bike and

kayak on every possible, trail, road and river

that is accessible in Western Mass. and there is much left to explore.

I have three adult children living and working in the Boston area.


Hike Leader Adam

Originally from the eastern part of Massachusetts (Franklin). 

I was able to make one of my dreams possible during Covid by moving out to Western Massachusetts (Lenox). 

If I am not hiking, I can be found kayaking/paddle boarding, chasing waterfalls, sunrises/sunsets, and photography. 

I work full time behind a desk, so I like to be as active as I can on weekends. 

I’m enjoying learning more about nature and history of the land that I love.  Massachusetts has a little bit of everything!


Hike Leader Russ

Grew up in South Jersey when it was still rural.  Worked on a Thoroughbred training farm and spent a lot of time walking in the woods.  Hiked and backpacked many of the national parks in the west and upper midwest including off trail route finding in few national parks.  Also backpacked in Puerto Rico.  Flown in by bush plane close to Chitna glacier (Alaska) and paddled back.  Have hiked four 14ner summits including Mt Whitney (on the first attempt).   Thoroughly spoiled by the Rockies. 
Moved to hill towns just before Covid lock down.  Spent initial few months beginning to learn the area alone due to Covid.  To do list includes PCT and CDT.  Retirement plans include much time in Alaska, interpretive rangering in National Parks system and international volunteer large animal vet medicine. 


Hike Leader Stephanie

Born and raised in western MA. I grew up on a small family farm in Southampton which was the start of my appreciation of the outdoors.
Through recreational and competitive sports my love for the wilderness was enhanced. As for many, responsibilities take over much of our life. During my free time I and my Fido companion Cybill enjoy escaping to the wilderness to explore.




Cybill is my name. Four paw patrol is my game.

I’m a six year old Yorkshire Terrier and currently reside in Agawam MA. My life started off as a Georgia peach until my human parents moved me to western MA where my adventurous life blossomed. I love exploring the great outdoors by means of hiking, kayaking, biking or any modes offered to me.

What a “ruff” life I live…

Former Hike Leader Lyle

Lyle grew up in Connecticut and got her first real taste of hiking when she walked across Europe in college. Later she moved to Colorado where she spent time exploring the San Juan Mountains. A couple years ago she finally settled down in western MA and has been hiking and exploring the area since. She also has her best furry friend, Finley, with her on hikes. If you’ve been on a hike with WMHTH you’ve probably seen him and his sheer excitement to hit the trails!


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