Nestled in the Hoosic River Valley, between Mount Greylock and the Hoosac Mountains in Berkshire County, the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail takes its name from a Native American word meaning "the pleasant river between the hills." Gorgeous views of the mountains, lakes and river, plus ample rest areas, make for a perfect day trip and contribute to this trail's popularity with locals and visitors to the scenic Berkshires.
Beginning at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, the 11.2-mile route parallels State Route 8 through Cheshire on into Adams. Following the railroad corridor developed by the Pittsfield & North Adams Railroad in 1845, you'll pass lovely forested areas interspersed with lakes and small ponds. At mile 2.7 the trail reaches some wetlands and the 418-acre Cheshire Reservoir, where you'll find no shortage of diversions. Pack a picnic, bring your binoculars for quality bird-watching or cast a line from the side of the trail to reel in largemouth and rock bass, northern pike and yellow perch.
As you approach Adams, the area's manufacturing history unfolds: you'll see mill buildings on the far shore of the Hoosic River. The trail parallels the town's delightfully restored main street, with interesting, quaint stores and eateries. Archways and banners throughout Adams sport a black bear riding a bicycle, a nod to both the trail and the resident black bear population. The trail's northern endpoint is in Adams at the Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center.
If you're not up for the return trip by trail, you can catch a Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus back to Berkshire Mall; each bus will transport two bikes. As an alternative, stop by the old railroad station building, now a charming pub, to refuel before starting back.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the Berkshire Mall trailhead, take the Massachusetts Turnpike/Interstate 90 to Exit 2 in Lee, then follow US 20 west to US 7 north for 11 miles to downtown Pittsfield. From the Park Square rotary, follow East Street/Merrill Road for 3.25 miles to the intersection of State Routes 9 and 8. Continue straight through the intersection on SR 8 north for 1.5 miles to the LanesboroughPittsfield line. Turn left at the light for rail-trail parking at the Berkshire Mall.
To reach the northern trailhead from North Adams, take SR 2 to SR 8 south for 5.5 miles to Adams. Follow the brown Ashuwillticook Rail-Trail signs. Take a left on Hoosac Street then an immediate right on Depot Street. Park at the Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center on the left. The trailhead is behind the visitor center.
Additional parking is available at Farnams Road and Church Street in Cheshire and at Russell Field off Harmony Street in Adams.