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Deerfield River Watershed Association


DRWA is leading fun tours throughout the watershed
to introduce you to the beauty we can find
in the Deerfield River hills and valley.

Events are free and open to the public, priority given to DRWA members.
Please register with the hike leader.

2013 Calendar

Saturday May 4 2013
M&M Trailwork Service Day
Past hikes
Check those out for outing ideas on your own

Saturday May 4, 2013 - 9:30 am

M&M Trailwork Service Day
The Shelburne head of the Mahican-Mohawk trail is in need of some serious trail maintenance! Just east of Shelburne Falls, the M&M passes through an abandoned tree-farm protected by the Franklin Land Trust. The combination of litter from Rte 2., storm damage to the trees, and erosion over the past few years has produced some congested areas on this beautiful section of trail. If you would like to help clean up this accessible and frequently-visited community resource, join us at the Rte. 2 trail head between the Shelburne Falls Aubuchon hardware store and the State Police barracks on Saturday, May 4th, for a morning of service. Land stewards from the Franklin Land Trust and Deerfield River Watershed Association will lead three different work groups to address some of the maintenance priorities along this stretch of trail, including clearing deadfalls, removal of invasive vines, and collection of trash. This service day will be a great opportunity for people with any level of trail-work experience to make a difference on a frequently-used section of trail.
Where: Rte. 2 M&M trail head just east of Shelburne Police barracks.
When: 9:30-12:30 am on Saturday, May 4th.
Bring: Loppers, small handsaws, gloves, water, and a snack.


Past hikes:

Spruce Hill


We again offer a chance to enjoy the early Fall foliage from the top of Spruce Hill in the Savoy State Forest on Sunday September 26.  This is a very moderate hike with the first mile having a very gentle rise then the last one third of a mile getting steeper and a bit of a rock scramble but the view from the top is spectacular.  The trail itself is in the Deerfield River watershed and the views from the top  to the North and east look over at the hairpin  turn  and Berkshire East Ski Area while in the westerly direction, the views are of Mount Greylock and down on Adams and North Adams.  We will meet at 10:00 at the Shunpike picnic area in West Charlemont about one and a half miles west of Charlemont center on Route 2.   Wear appropriate shoes and bring water and a lunch.  There might be a breeze on top and a chance to see migrating hawks. So the hike can be cancelled in case of bad weather, please register with the leader, Polly Bartlett, 413-625-6628

Polly at the top of Spruce Hill, with North Adams in the backgound, September 26, 2010


Catamount Hills

The hike will be led by Colrain historian Muriel Russell. Hikers are to meet at 10:00.  To reach the trail head from Route 112 in Griswoldville, Colrain, take Adamsville Road to Lively Road, then a quick left onto East Catamount Road (steep and dirt) to end where there is parking. Bring water, unscented bug repellant, flashlight to explore caves, and lunch to enjoy at MacLeod Pond. Rain will cancel so please register with the leader, (413 )614-3311.

Colrain's Archeology and Geography

Join Muriel Russell, local expert in Catamount history, for an exploration of cellar holes and caves in the Catamount State Forest. This is always a popular hike because of its variety and it is not too strenuous. Bring  flashlight to explore caves, unscented  bug repellant and lunch to enjoy at McLeod Pond. Directions to start: From Rte. 112 in Griswoldville, Colrain, take Adamsville Rd. to Lively Rd., then quick left onto East Catamount Rd. (steep and dirt) to end where there is parking. Please register with Muriel Russell (413) 624-3311.

Dubuque State Forest Hike, Hawley

This hike will be at the Dubuque State Forest  in Hawley but we will meet to car pool at the East Charlemont state parking lot on Route 2 at 9:30.  We will start at King Corner on Route 8 A and follow old roads for two miles with gentle climbing to Hallockville Pond and Nature Trail loop where we will have lunch. For those who wish to end the hike there, we will have to make arrangements for car spotting.  Others will follow other woods trails for less than two miles looping back to King Corner.  Please register for this hike with the leader, Polly Bartlett (413) 625-6628.

MacLeod Pond, Colrain

On Sunday, June 13 as part of RiverFest Celebration, Muriel Russel will lead a gentle hike in the southern part of the Catamount State Forest. This hike will be about four miles long with lunch at beautiful MacLeod Pond. Muriel will take the hikers past the site of old homesteads and the site where the American flag was first floated over a school house. The hike includes vernal pools and all the wildlife they support.

Hikers should meet at the junction of Route 112 and Charlemont Road in Colrain. Starting from where Route 112 crosses under Route 2, this junction is 1.7 miles North of Shelburne Falls.

Hikers should bring non scented bug repellant, water and lunches. Please pre register with Muriel at 413-624-3311.

There will be a variety of hikes or trail clearing on the Mahican-Mohawk trail also on Sunday June 13.  For more information contact coordinator Polly Bartlett at 413-625-6628.


High Ledges to Davenport Sugar House, Shelburne -

Tannery Falls -
This hike is in the Savoy State Forest. The flls themselves are very close to the parking area and are spectacular down many, many steps.  There also is a nice woodland trail  of about two miles total which goes up to a balanced rock. The spring wild flowers should be in their glory. Contact Polly Bartlettat 413-625-6628 to register.

Sherman Reservoir Paddle

Join us for a leisurely paddle along the shores of Sherman Reservoir, a 162 acre reservoir on the Vermont/Massachusetts State line. Bald eagles are sighted here frequently. Bring your paddle, kayak/canoe, lifevests, water, cameras and binoculars. Come early and bring a lunch to enjoy at the picnic area before heading out on the paddle. To register, emailCarrie Banks or call her at (413) 268-2040 .


Wildflowers at Bear Swamp, Ashfield -

This is a joint hike with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Bear Swamp is located adjacent to Hawley Road in Ashfield, south of the intersection with Tatro Road. Take Rte 116 North through Ashfield. At the intersection with Rte 112, keep going straight, to Hawley Rd. At the fork, keep right. Pass a couple of old beaver ponds and the trail head will be on your left. There is a sign: Bear Swamp Reservation. Meet at 11am at tht trail head or at 9am for breakfast. Call Polly Bartlett (413) 625-6628 for details.

Wetlands Appreciation Event -

The Greenfield Conservation Commission and the Deerfield River Watershed Association invite the community to a Wetlands Appreciation Event on May 17 th , from 8:30 to 11:30 am (rain date May 18 th , same time), beginning at Highland Park, in Greenfield. This event is free and open to the public. From Highland Park we will carpool to one or two other wetlands, depending on time and weather constraints. Pat Serrentino, local biologist and naturalist, will lead this event.

May is American Wetlands Month. Wetlands support an incredible number of plants and animals, but many people have never visited one. Participants will learn why wetlands support an abundance of plants and animals, how to identify frogs by their distinctive calls, and become familiar with some new critters, such as the predaceous diving beetle. Participants should wear sturdy shoes or rubber boots, and bring insect repellant.

Directions: The Park is located off Highland Avenue; from Highland Ave. take a left after the tennis courts onto the dirt road; the parking lot is located just south of Highland Pond. We will meet at the parking lot. Please contact Pat Serrentino at (413) 772-0520 or pserr@crocker.com with questions or for more information on the event.

Breeding Bird Survey on Green River -

Jay Rasku will lead us on a Breeding Bird Survey for the Mass Audubon Society along the Green River. This walk can be for any experience level. Bring binoculatrs, insect repellent, water and a snack.
Meet at Foster's Supermarket at 70 Allen St. in Greenfield at 6:30 am. We will return at noon.

Caves ,Vernal Pools and Lake Colrain -

Join Muriel Russell, local expert in Catamount history, for an exploration of caves and wildflowers in the Catamount State Forest.  Bring  unscented bug repellent, flashlight to explore caves and lunch to enjoy at McLeod Pond.  Directions to start: From Rte. 112 in Griswoldville, Colrain, take Adamsville Rd. to Lively Rd., then quick left onto East Catamount Rd. (steep and dirt) to end where there is parking.  Please register with Muriel Russell (413) 624-3920.

Rocky Mountain/Pocumtuck Ridge -

We will meet on Mountain Road in Greenfield, at the gate and parking lot for Poet Seat Tower at 10:00 a.m. Rain will cancel so  please call the leader if there is a question. We will proceed south through Temple Woods to Sachem's head and down to Cheapside where we will cross the Deerfield River on the Route 5&10 bridge. From there we will climb up to the Pocumtuck ridge and Pine Nook Road where we will have spotted cars. This is a five or more mile hike of  moderate difficulty. The footing is rough at times but the climbs are not steep. Since car spotting at the far end of the hike will be necessary, all hikers must pre register with the leader, Polly Bartlett, (413) 625-6628.

Catamount History and Spring Wildflowers, Colrain

Join Muriel Russell, local expert in Catamount history, for an exploration of caves and wildflowers in the Catamount State Forest. Bring a flashlight to explore caves and lunch to enjoy at McLeod Pond. Directions to start: From Rte. 112 in Griswoldville, Colrain, take Adamsville Rd. to Lively Rd., and then a quick left onto East Catamount Rd. (steep and dirt) to the end where there is parking.
Please register with Muriel Russell (413) 624-3311.

Deerfield River Trips from Source to Connecticut River

These are repeat trips from last year. Two trips for people to see and understand the flow of the river and how the power facilities work.
June 16: We will meet in Shelburne Falls and (the first 15 people to register-DRWA members have priority) will ride in a van to Somerset Reservoir in Vermont. The flow regulations will be explained by Matt Cole, Community Relations Officer for the TransCanada Hydro Northeast Inc. power company. We will follow the river and its many diversions and power plants to the Massachusetts line. Although we will not be hiking the many trails which parallel the Deerfield River, we will take note of their trail heads for future enjoyment.
July 21: The second trip will tour the facilities form the Massachusetts line to the Number Two power station. These trips are by reservation only. Contactl Polly Bartlett at 413-625-6628

Hawley Bog

This is an unique place of water plants and trees accessed by board walks.  This very short walk will be follow an old road out to a beautiful view point in the Hawley highlands.  This is not a climb but the footing may be irregular so good walking shoes are recommended.  We will have lunch at the view point then return to our cars on East Hawley Road.  For more information, times and directions, please contact the leader, Polly Bartlett at 625-6628.

Pocumtuck Ridge

We will follow the Pocumtuck Ridge in Deerfield from Pine Nook Road to North Sugarloaf when the fall colors should be at their height.  This hike is between four and five miles with the option of climbing South Sugarloaf . Since car spotting in south Deerfield is necessary, please contact the leader,Polly Bartlett at 625-6628 to register.

Spruce Hill

We will climb Spruce Hill in the Savoy State Forest on the Busby Trail. This is a short hike, about a mile and a half to the summit, but affords spectacular views down into the Hoosatonic River, Adams and over at  Mount Greylock. The first mile is an easy trail through beautiful woods with the last half mile being steeper and rockier to the top. This hike is apropriate for families, but not dogs.  We can return the way we went up or do a loop through beautiful woods making the return trip a mile and a half longer. To preregister or for more information, contact the leader, Polly Bartlett at (413)625-6628

Courtship Display of American Woodcocks

The male woodcock's mating display is one of our area's most amazing spring events. Join Pat Serrentino to look for woodcocks in old fields and wetlands in Leyden and Greenfield. This event will be coordinated through email only as the time and date depends on local weather conditions. Please register with Pat.
Please register with Pat Serrentino (413-772-0520).

Bird Migration at Poet's Seat Tower, Greenfield

Join Pat Serrentino to look for spring migrants at this well-known hot spot. If conditions are right, we will see migrating warblers, vireos, thrushes, raptors, and local resident birds, too.
Please register with Pat Serrentino (413-772-0520).

Late Spring Birding in the Lower Valley (Greenfield and Leyden)

Join Pat Serrentino to look for spring migrants and breeding birds in a variety of habitats throughout the lower Deerfield River watershed. Meet at Staples in Greenfield to carpool.
Please register with Pat Serrentino (413-772-0520).

Invasive Plants: Identification and Ecology, Greenfield

Join Pat Serrentino and Jen Strules for an educational nature walk through forest and wetlands at Highland Park and other areas in Greenfield to learn how to identify invasive plants and why they are a threat to both natural areas and your back yard.
Please register with Pat Serrentino (413-772-0520).

Spruce Hill, Savoy

Spruce Hill in Savoy State Forest.  This is an easy hike which is relatively flat for the first mile then climbs steeply to the ridge which overlooks Adams and North Adams.  We will meet at the Shunpike  Rest Area on Route 2 West of Charlemont Center at 10:00 to car pool as necessary. Preregistration with the leader is requested.  Polly Bartlett, 625-6628

Moths, Bugs, and Other Creatures of the Night, Turners Falls

This event will take place at the Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory to look for night-flying moths, beetles, and other insects, as well as bats, frogs, and other creatures active at night.
Please register with Alex Haro (413-772-0520).

Wetland Ecology at Tannery Falls and Pond, Savoy

Join Pat Serrentino and Alex Haro for an exploration of Tannery Falls and Pond to look for plants and animals found in ponds, streams, marshes, and swamps. This part of the Savoy Mountain State Forest is chock full of goodies, including high elevation birds, stream salamanders, beavers, dragonflies, and native fish. Car-pooling from Greenfield is possible. Meet at Stpales parking lot at 8am.
Please register with Pat Serrentino (413-772-0520).

A “Hairy” Experience: Mammals in Winter

Join us on this winter walk in beautiful Dubuque State Forest in Hawley, led by biologist Jen Strules. Winter is a challenging season for mammals.  From voles to black bears, our resident species have unique and fascinating ways to overcome the difficulties of snow, cold temperatures, and other winter hardships.  Learn about these survival strategies in this mostly off-trail hike in Dubuque State Forest. 

Vernal Pools in Highland Park, Greenfield

Join Karl Meyer and Pat Serrentino for an exploration of vernal pools in Highland Park, located in Greenfield. We will identify the frogs, salamanders, insects, and other critters who require these unique habitats to survive. Be prepared to get wet.

Participants will meet at the parking lot off Peabody Lane. Directions: From the center of Greenfield (intersection of Rtes. 5&10 and Rte. 2A) go east on Rte. 2A and bear right at the blinking yellow light; continue on Crescent Street for about 0.1 mile and take a right onto Highland Avenue. At the fork go left onto Peabody Lane and look for the entrance to the parking lot (a left) after the tennis courts.

Negus Mountain, Rowe

Hike to Negus Mountain, located above the Deerfield River, to enjoy spectacular views and the fall colors, and maybe migrating hawks along the updrafts caused by the ridge. Most of the climbing will be done by car. Bring lunch and meet at the Shunpike Park on Rte. 2, 2 miles west of Charlemont Center. 

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Lower Deerfield River Valley

Join Naturalist Dave Small on a hunt for these exciting animals that are found in ponds, rivers, and marshes and even on mountaintops! Learn about dragonfly natural history and identification. Be prepared to get wet. Meet at the Staples parking lot in Greenfield to carpool. Directions: Staples is located on Rte. 2, west of the Route 2/I-91 rotary and adjacent to the Big Y Supermarket.

Berkshire East Summit

We will meet at 10:00 at the Berkshire East parking lot in Charlemont  and car pool to our starting point in Hawley.  We will take beautiful woods roads and trails from there to the back and top of Berkshire East where we get spectacular views of the Deerfield  River valley.  After lunch at the top we will descend one of the less steep trails to some of our cars left at the parking lot. Total distance is about five miles.  

North and Green Divide

We will meet at the Brick Church parking lot in the center of Colrain at 9:30 and car pool as much as possible to the trails on the top of Franklin Hill.  From there we will hike on historic ways and modern snow mobile trails having lunch overlooking an orchard and the the view of the "Hill with the Mohawk Tree Cut.".  We pass an old graveyard and a modern horse farm on our way back to our cars.  Again, all the serious climbing is done by car.  The total distance is under five miles.

Big Night for Salamanders and Frogs

Join biologists Pat Serrentino and Alex Haro as we look for signs of the annual migration of amphibians from their wintering areas to vernal pools during the beginning of their breeding season. This event will be coordinated through email only as the exact time depends on local weather conditions and occurs on the first warm, rainy night in early spring. We will be driving to several sites; carpooling is possible.
Please register with Pat Serrentino (413-772-0520).

Pelham Lake

Hike a brand new trail from Davis Mine Road in Rowe to the Pelham Lake Park and see the new plants emerging.
Meet at the Pelham Lake Park in Rowe.

Hallockville Pond

Meet at the Shunpike on Rt 2 in Charlemont (one and a half miles west of the center) at 9:30. This hike will be an
easy five to six miles with little climb in elevation. Starting at Kings Corner on Rt 8A in Hawley and using old roads through the cool woods, we will arrive at Hallockville Pond for a nature hike around the pond and lunch. (Bring your own). The hike on woods trails past the stone works of the old mills will bring us back to Kings Corner.

Kings Highway
This hike takes us to Northern Colrain and Southern Vermont on the ridge between the North and Green Rivers.
Hikers should meet at the State parking lot across from the Indian Tepee in East Charlemont on Route 2 to car pool to the starting point of the hike on the top of Franklin Hill. From there we will walk on dirt roads, orchard roads, snowmobile trails and the "Kings Highway" of history. Spectacular views. The whole loop is about 6 miles but very little change in elevation.

The Mahican-Mohawk Trail Map (2168K) Guide (164K)

The Mahican-Mohawk (M-M) trail is a rough foot trail following the Deerfield River corridor and is dedicated to the native Mahican and Mohawk People who followed this corridor between the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers in their travels to fish, hunt, trade and fight. As of this date, August, 2009, there is a half mile section of the trail in Shelburne which the owners have closed to hikers. Hikers must avoid this part of the trail.

This description covers the southeastern most 8.25 miles of the trail in the towns of Deerfield, Conway and Shelburne, MA. The Deerfield River Watershed Association (DRWA) was part of an ad hoc committee which used ISTEA money to reconstruct an earlier foot trail, after which the DRWA took on the maintenance of the trail as part of its outreach activities.

Hoosac Road to Bardwells Ferry Bridge
To get to the trail head from Deerfield heading west: At the south end of Main Street, go south on Mill Village Road for 1.7 miles to Stillwater Road. Go right 0.9 miles to Hoosac Road on right. Go 0.2 miles. The trailhead and parking are on the first dirt road on your right. The first part of the route of the modern foot trail makes use of the abandoned railroad right of way of the New York New Haven & Hartford Railroad for 3.5 miles in Deerfield and Conway.

In this section the Deerfield River has many streams entering its steep banks, so there are large cuts and fills with elaborate stone work to cross them. Between the ravines there are three woodland loop trails to the right. These make a pleasant change from the right of way.
The largest stream crossing the trail is the South River in Conway. There, in 1881, the New Haven built the tallest steel bridge in New England at the time, 175 feet high and 550 feet long. The bridge is long gone but its impressive stone abutments and four piers still exist in
very good condition. The M-M trail now descends very steeply to 30 feet above the river level on wood and stone steps embedded in the earth. Using the stone piers of the original bridge, there is a 130 foot long fiberglass foot bridge crossing the South River. The trail leads up to the
former railroad bed and the location of Conway Station where in 1895 the Conway Electric Street Railway came down from the mills and homes in Conway to unload its goods onto the railroad. (For more information about this historic area, visit the Shelburne Falls Trolley
Museum in Shelburne Falls.)

There are two washouts of the road bed. The first is relatively recent and is possible to follow a foot trail down to cross on the headwall of the original culvert. The second washout is nearly 50 years in the making and should be avoided by using the detour to the left though the woods, under the power lines, into the woods and under the power lines again to join the original road bed. The detour makes an enjoyable change from the flat and straight trail.

Three and a quarter miles from the beginning at Hoosac Road, the trail climbs from the road bed up steps to the Bardwell Ferry Road and follows the road down to the bridge across the Deerfield River at Bardwell Ferry. This is an historic bridge of lenticular (shape of the lens of an eye) truss design and is on the Historic Register.

Bardwells Ferry Trail Head north-west.
Cars may be left on either side of the highway bridge. Cross the rail road track to the east side only at the auto crossing. The trail follows the Pan Am Southern Railway tracks north-westerly for about 300 yards. This is an active railroad with fast moving trains. It is important to stay
well away from the tracks. Just before the tracks cross the River , the trail ducks down to the right on steep steps and for a while follows the alignment of an old railroad where you can see the abutments of the old bridge. From here the trail becomes rough, with lots of ups and downs as streams come into the main river. Our philosophy is to protect the land and let hikers scramble. There is access to the river in a few spots, and the trail crosses Dragon Brook on stepping stones. The trail also passes the TransCanada #2 dam and the impoundment behind it.

About a half a mile beyond the #2 dam, the trail is closed due to private property and hikers must return the way they came. No through hiking to Shelburne Falls.

From Route 2 Trail head south-east to trail closure
The trail head is at a pull-off just east of the Shelburne State Police Barracks.
The trail dips into land now owned by the Franklin Land Trust and what was a tree nursery with many exotic plants. The trail heads toward the Deerfield River on a very steep and eroding sand bank. (Keep away from the edge) The trail emerges from the forest to a field and the access road to Wilcox Hollow, a primitive, light boat launching area at the #2 impoundment, just below the Con Edison's Gardner Falls power house. The trail continues for about a mile with beautiful overlooks of the river. Please use stiles where provided to cross cattle fences. The trail continues about a mile until it climbs and crosses a high tension line. Private property starts here. Please do not try to go through but turn around and go back the way you came.

From the Route 2 trailhead west, the trail follows the Route 2 highway west to the Mohawk Trail State Park in Charlemont where it separates from the road, climbing a steep ridge to cross the Hoosac Range on its way to the Hudson River. (For maps of this area, visit the Mohawk
Trail State Park).

For more information, to report trail problems or to offer assistance in maintaining the trail, please contact Polly Bartlett, DRWA, at 413-625-6628

Trail Use Etiquette:
Continued public access to the trail depends on proper trail use etiquette.

This web site made possible in part by the Valley Charitable Trust Fund administered by Fleet National Bank, and by the Community Foundation for Western Massachusetts

Updated 4/25/13 by MF Walk DRWA HOME