Group Hike Schedule

October 12, 2019 10:00 am Keystone Arch Bridges Trail in Chester/Becket/Middlefield

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers group hike at the Keystone Arch Bridges Trail
Saturday October 12th at 10:00 am
Hike Rating: Moderate some slopes, bridge crossing
Join us for the 6th Annual Hike of the historic Keystone Arch Bridge Trail in Chester. The hike will be narrated by Dave Pierce of the Friends of the Keystone Arches.
This is the biggest hiking event of the year! Enjoy Dave’s incredible narration as he tells of the history of the Arch’s creation. Dave Pierce, Chester Foundation President and myself, Liz Massa, Director of Parks and Trails in Chester will lead hikers through three towns, Chester, Becket and Middlefield. We will hike the entire Keystone Arch Trail to the last bridge in Bancroft at the end of the trail. Located on the West Branch of the Westfield River, the first cluster of stone arch RR bridges were built in America. They range in height to 70 feet and made possible the longest and highest railroad in the world, the Western Railroad, in 1840. Come learn the history of this amazing bridges trail while we get an up close experience.

Estimated hike time is 3 hours. The trail is 2.5 miles in and back totaling 5 miles. You can easily spend 5 hours on the trail exploring; make a day of it if you wish. We will be able to hike across side trails for vista views of most of the arches. Although the trail is easily traveled and well-marked, be prepared for mud.
Park at Chester Elementary School, 325 Middlefield Road and walk up to the trailhead. We will be shuttling hikers from the school lot to the trail head, please arrive early! Shuttle will start at 9am. Hike will start at the trailhead at 10 am. Full hike details are on Facebook and our website. The Chester Railway museum on just down the road on Prospect Street  will be open before and after the hike!  Please stop in and see all the history of the railroad and Arches!  You may pick up snacks or enjoy breakfast/ lunch in Chester at the following locations: The Chester Common Table, or the Classic Pizza Blue Note Cafe, all located on Main Street, or The Chester Village Market, on Route 20. This hike is co-sponsored by the Jacob’s Ladder Business Association: jlba.org and the Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center: shaec.org.
http://www.keystonearches.com http://www.chesterrailwaystation.net

Saturday October 19th at 10:00 am
Western Mass Hilltown Hikers group hike at Norwich Lake in Huntington

GPS Location: 42.30167, -72.83132
Hike Rating: Easy some slopes/rocks/roots 1 mile to lake or 2.5 Mile Woods Loop Trail to Lake

With 97 acres of forest, trails, and lake access, even horses, The Retreat at Norwich Lake has a lot to explore. Come hike a few of the trails with the Friends of SHAEC and Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, as we team up to celebrate SHAEC’s 20 years of adult education in the Hilltowns. Donations for Friends of SHAEC will be accepted the day of the hike, or in advance on SHAEC’s website: http://www.shaec.org. Prizes will be awarded to the highest donors. There are two trail options to hike one through the forest easy sloping rocky walk to the lake and the other a 2 mile old Norwich village forest trip where we will see old foundations, cellar holes, stone walls and two impressive dams and then loop back down to the lake.

The Retreat is at 128 Norwich Lake in Huntington. Turn off of Route 66 in Huntington onto Searle Rd. When you get to the fork (aprox 1.7 miles) Turn right onto Rocky Point Rd. Destination will be on the left in aprox 7/10ths of a mile. Plenty of parking. Call or email Michele at SHAEC for more information 413-354-1055.
Learn more about The Retreat at Norwich Lake on their website: http://www.retreatatnorwichlake.org

Plan for two hours hike time. This hike will be the one mile yellow/blue blazed trail to the lake, more experienced hikers can choose to hike the2.5 mile orange blazed woods trail and then loop back to the lake. Both hikes start at the “Field of Dreams” follow the signs from the parking lot. Maps and bottle water will be provided. Please be aware that there are no facilities at the trail. Park at the Norwich Retreat Parking Lot. Hike will start in the parking lot. GPS: 42.30167, -72.83132 Full hike details are on Facebook and our website.

Maps and bottled water will be provided. Please be aware that there are no facilities at the trail. Dogs are welcome! No registration required, hike is free, donations are welcome!

November 16, 2019 10:00 am Knittel Conservation Area in Blandford

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers group hike the Knittel Conservation Area in Blandford
Saturday November 16th at 10:00 am
GPS Location: 42.16996, -72.92859
Hike Rating: Easy with some slopes 2 Mile Loop Trail

The Knittel Conservation Area in Blandford is a 254-acre tract comprised of fields, forest and Falls Brook. Several trails wind through the property on both sides of Herrick Road. We will pass through different and interesting types of forest and around a pond with beaver dams. The conservation area helps protect the water supply of 250,000 people and preserve the rural setting for a working farm. Located at the end of Herrick Road, the parcel has been home to the Herrick family farm for generations. The area feeds the Cobble Mountain Reservoir, which serves as the drinking water supply for Springfield, Ludlow, Agawam, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, and parts of Southwick and Westfield.
Meet at the Trailhead on 26 Herrick Road in the parking lot. Take Route 23 to 26 Herrick Rd in Blandford. Plan for two hours to loop the entire trail.
This hike is co-sponsored by the Jacob’s Ladder Business Association: jlba.org and the Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center: shaec.org

December 14, 2019 10:00 am Nobleview Outdoor Center in Russell

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers group hike Nobleview in Russell
Saturday December 14th at 10:00 am
GPS Location: 42.13511 -72.86120
Hike Rating: Easy with some slopes 2.7 Mile Loop Trail
We will hike the Pitcher Brook – Laurel Lane Circuit. For those who are interested in the history of days long gone, this hike offers an opportunity to view two old cellar holes. On the left (northwest) of Laurel Lane, before reaching Charcoal Kiln Trail, you will pass a site known as the Pendleton-Snow Place. An atlas of Hampden County shows buildings standing at this site in 1912. There are two wells to search for, one near the house site and one on the opposite side of Laurel Lane where presumably the old barn stood. Pitcher Brook Trail passes through pleasant woods with laurel and blueberries in season, crosses Ann’s Trail, then the Border Trail and descends to the gorge of Pitcher Brook with its swift water, deep pools and two waterfalls called *Big Pitcher* and *Little Pitcher*.
Nobleview is located at 635 South Quarter Road in Russell 01071. More info at http://www.nobleviewoutdoorcenter.org Plan for two hours hike time. Maps and bottle water will be provided. Please be aware that there are no facilities at the trail. Full hike details are on Facebook and the website. Dogs are welcome! No registration required, hike is free, donations are appreciated! Please keep our beautiful places clean and carry in and carry out.

January 18, 2020 10:00 am Becket Quarry

February 22, 2020 10:00 am Sanderson Brook Falls in Chester


Past Group Hikes

September 21, 2019 10:00 am H. Newman Marsh Trail in Chester
GPS Location: 42.25618, -72.94677
Hike Rating: Moderate with Uphill Climbing and Steep Descent.
Join us for a beautiful mountain trek along the H. Newman Marsh Memorial Trail on Observation Hill in the Chester-Blandford State Forest in Chester, named after the outdoorsman and patron of the hilltowns who made the Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway (route 20) what it is today. We will make a steep climb up to Observation Hill, cross a brook then travel through pine forest and discover three major vistas at approximately 1200 feet with awe inspiring views of the Westfield River Valley then loop back down the hill. We will see out croppings of schist rock, different types of forest, fern, bear claw markings, and wildflowers. About a million years ago, a series of glaciers scraped the mountains. Some of the bedrock resisted the ersion and became the steeper hills of the valley. The scenic hills exposed today are the walls of the great conyon of the Westfield River.
This is a loop trail, with a round-trip length of 1.5 miles. Hike rating is Moderate with Uphill Climbing and Steep Descent with rock steps and roots. Plan for two hours for the hike.
Meet in the parking lot of the Chester-Blandford State Forest, look out for Bannish Lumber on Route 20 which is located opposite the parking lot. The trailhead is on Sanderson Brook Road inside the State Forest. There are many other trails located in the Chester-Blandford State Forest to enjoy as well including Sanderson Brook Falls, Dynamite Box, Beulah Land, and the CCC Trail.

June 29, 2019 10:00 am Tyringham Cobble

July 27, 2019 10:00 am Clam River in Sandisfield

August 10, 2019 10:00 am Old Mill Trail in Hinsdale

May 11, 2019 10:00 am Bob’s Way in Otis

May 4, 2019 10:00 am Littleville Lake 5K Hike/Walk Fundraiser in Huntington with SHAEC

April 27, 2019 10:00 am Round Top Hill in Chester with Hilltown Land Trust

March 30, 2019 10:00 am Dynamite Box Chester/Blandford

February 23, 2019 Griffin Brook Road