Saturday, June 8, 2013

Shaker Mountain and Holy Mount, Pittsfield State Forest, MA

June 8, 2013
Distance: 6.2 miles
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Year to date miles: 134.4

Map: Pittsfield State Forest or book

Parking: Hancock Shaker Village Visitor Center, Route 20, Pittsfield, MA. Plenty of parking.

Restrooms: In Hancock Shaker Village, in a building right before the visitor center
Post hike dinner:  Baba Louies Pizza, Great Barrington, MA

Directions: AMCs Best Day Hikes in the Berkshires Although the trail names change periodically, the hike follows the same white on green blazes in a counter clockwise loop (not blazed in the other direction) the whole way. We ended up on the wrong side of the reservoir in the beginning, but otherwise had no problems following the hike. The trails are mostly wide woods roads.

Notes: The hike starts in the parking area. Walk to the visitor center at Shaker Village, tell them that you are hiking, and they will give you a hiking sticker. Hiking is free. Visiting Shaker Village is not free. My parents were friends with a woman (college friend from UMass Amherst) who demonstrated weaving at Shaker Village, but I'm not even sure if she is alive any more.

The beginning of the hike goes through Shaker Village - and then you cross Route 20 at a crosswalk to start the real part of the hike. The hike was really enjoyable. Neither mountain has views. We went right after a couple of days of very, very heavy rain. The trail was often a stream. There was 1 stream crossing early on with a nice bridge. Near the end of the hike, we had 2 stream crossings with no bridge and the water was too high to find rocks to cross on. We had to wade through the water (I hate stream crossings, and hadn't brought my trekking poles). The hike is moderate in difficulty, and was just very green. Even though it was a Saturday in June, we saw no one on the trail until the very end of the hike.

Right before we crossed Route 20 to return to Shaker Village, and the parking area, we were stopped by an employee. He told us no dogs were allowed in Shaker Village. Yikes! This hike is listed as dogs allowed in the AMC book. Although there are signs saying not to walk along the road, we did just that, so that we wouldn't enter the village in order to return to the parking area.

Even though we both enjoyed this hike, just realize this if you are going there with dogs. I've emailed the AMC to let them know about this issue. I went online tonight and verified that dogs aren't allowed in Shaker Village.

In Shaker Village. View looking back towards the parking area. There are vegetable gardens along the path.

The round barn, which we would have loved to have seen inside. We read it has 4 rings inside, each with a purpose.

Sign after crossing Route 20 (across the street from Shaker Village). The trail follows the white on green blazes the whole way, even though the trail names change.

On the left side of the reservoir.

Heading to Shaker Mountain first.

A dam on the right side of the trail. We had heavy rain for the past 2 days, so water was flowing fast.

Luckily a bridge over the water.

We saw dozens of red efts today!

Sign near Shaker Mountain.

Crossing a Civilian Conservation Core trail, which we didn't take.

These are the best things ever! First time using them. Plastic bags you pull up over your boots. This stream crossing had no rocks to hop across. We only carried one pair. I waded across. Put the boot bags in Trek's backpack and Glen called Trek back over the water so he could use them. Brilliant!

Glen trying the boots for his stream crossing. The photo makes it look like a puddle, but the stream crossing is in the foreground. No rocks to cross on, and too wide to jump across.

On to Holy Mount, the second summit on this hike.

Tons of ferns on this hike. No fiddleheads :)

Re-approaching Shaker Village and Route 20 (where we were told we shouldn't have been in Shaker Village).


  1. I never wrote to thank you last year for writing this article. I followed your route last December and absolutely loved the day. I plan to go tomorrow, which reminded me of your site. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Justin, glad you enjoyed it. We love visiting the Berkshires for hiking.