Mohawk Trail Driving Tours
Here are some great driving tours in the Mohawk Trail region. Print out this page or download our Official Visitors' Guide to the Mohawk Trail Region and take it with you!
Approximately 55 miles
Williamstown, the home of Williams College, is the starting place for a tour which can cover most of the outstanding features of the northern section of Berkshire County. Located on the Williams College Campus is the Chapin Library of Rare Books in Stetson Hall. On permanent display at the Chapin Library are original copies of the Four Founding Documents of the United States. Across Main Street from the Chapin Library, is the Williams College Museum of Art, noted for its permanent collection and changing exhibitions that emphasize American art, modern and contemporary art, and non-western art. The college’s Thompson Memorial Chapel, a Gothic structure built in 1904, is on the north side of Main Street in Williamstown. A series of stained glass windows merit particular attention, especially when viewed from within the chapel.
Continuing west on Main Street is the picturesque First Congregational Church. Further along Main Street is the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, which is the summer home of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, professional theatre under the direction of Roger Rees (July through August on the Main Stage, Nikos Stage, staged readings, and a Free Theater). Going west on Main Street, the road leads into Field Park, where a faithful reproduction of a 1753 house was built in 1953 for the town’s bicentennial. At 1095 Main Street in the Milne Memorial Library is the Williamstown House of Local History, which includes a collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. On the west side of South Street is the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, known for its Impressionist collection, old masters, English silver, prints, and drawings.
Proceeding east on Route 2, one comes to a vast historic mill complex in downtown North Adams. It is the site of MASS MoCA which presents art exhibitions, music, dance, theater, and multimedia events. North Adams is also home to the Fall Foliage Festival and Parade.
Natural Bridge State Park is located east of North Adams off Route 2 and 8. This natural bridge of white marble was created by the waters of Hudson Brook. Next to the Natural Bridge State Park is The Contemporary Artists Center and Gallery, offering a unique environment for the creation of contemporary art and its exhibition. The Gallery is open only in the summer.
Route 2 east from North Adams leads to the Mohawk Trail, one of the most famous scenic drives in the Berkshires. The road follows the old trail Native Americans of the Five Nations used to pass between the Connecticut and Hudson Valleys. First point of interest on the trail is the Hairpin Turn, where the trail rises sharply to the Western Summit (called Spirit Mountain by Native Americans). There is an observation point from which excellent views of mountainous portions of southern Vermont and northwestern Massachusetts can be seen including Mount Greylock, Mount Prospect and Mount Williams.
Continuing up the trail, the next stop is Whitcomb Summit, the top of the trail. From this elevation, 2,173 feet, one can see far into southern Vermont and New Hampshire. Further along, the trail crosses a bridge and turns sharply to the left. Another road leads to the right. Here the visitor has a choice of three routes; 1. To continue along the trail to Charlemont, Shelburne Falls, and Greenfield; 2. To retrace the route back to North Adams; 3. To turn right away into Savoy Mountain State Forest for a visit to Tannery Falls.
The road out of the Tannery Falls area on the return leg of this Circle Tour leads just northwest of Savoy Center and onto East Road in the town of Adams. East Road paralleling Route 8 to the North leads back to North Adams, and gives a commanding view of Greylock Mountain, towering over Adams, a charming Victorian town with an elegantly restored Main Street.
A must-see is the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, located on Route 8 in the center of North Adams. The freight yard district of North Adams has been restored and now houses a variety of contemporary and historical attractions, including an excellent exhibit on the building of the Hoosac Tunnel. To complete the tour, turn left on Route 2 and return to Williamstown.
Approximately 53 miles
This scenic tour brings you north on Route 7 to The Mohawk Trail. Starting in Pittsfield, take Route 7 to Lanesboro, the birth place of humorist, Josh Billings, who is buried in the village cemetery. Continue north on Route 7 to South Williamstown, Historic Five Corners. Here several walking tours to historic houses are available. Following Route 7 to Williamstown you are now on Route 2, The Mohawk Trail, between Williamstown and Greenfield. Starting in Williamstown, which is the home of Williams College, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and Williams College Museum of Art, this “village beautiful” deserves a tour of its own. Enjoy its many fine shops, craft galleries, and eateries. Continue on Route 2, east to the City of North Adams, where you can visit the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, MASS MoCA, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and the North Adams Fall Foliage Festival. Ascend the Hoosac Mountain Range to the Hairpin Turn with its vistas of Mt. Greylock, the Green Mountains and the Hoosac Valley. The trail then rises sharply to the Western Summit (called Spirit Mountain by Native Americans). Travel through the scenic town of Florida to the Whitcomb Summit, home of the Elk Memorial on the highest point of the Mohawk Trail at 2,200 feet. One quarter mile past the summit, Whitcomb Hill Road leads to the eastern portal of the Hoosac Tunnel. Follow this road back down to the Deerfield River. Take a left on River Road until it crosses the railroad tracks. Look here for the eastern portal of the Hoosac Tunnel engineered and completed in the 1873 by blasting through five miles of sheer granite. Continue left on River Road to Bear Swamp Project and Visitor’s Center which has picnic facilities. Retrace River Road and cross the iron bridge over the Deerfield River until the junction of Route 2 at the Indian Bridge. Take a right and after a short distance view the famous “Hail to the Sunrise” Statue, a memorial to the Mohawk Native Americans, sponsored by The Improved Order of the Redman. Continue easterly on Route 2 to Charlemont. Mohawk Trail Concerts are held weekends in July at the acoustically perfect Charlemont Federated Church. Route 8A North hosts the 160 foot long Bissell Covered Bridge just 600 feet off Route 2. Continue easterly to Shelburne Falls, home of the Bridge of Flowers, an old arched trolley bridge transformed into a garden of flowers from spring to fall. Follow signs to Salmon Falls and view the Glacial Potholes located below Salmon Falls and carved out of rock during the Ice Age. Visit the museum located in the Arms Academy Building. Rejoin Route 2 and proceed to Greenfield, incorporated in 1753. At the time, Greenfield was considered the northernmost frontier before the Canadian border. Visit the Poet’s Seat Tower, off High Street on Greenfield Mountain. Watch for signs. There is a superb view of the Greenfield Valley from here. Return to Main Street.
Approximately 33 miles
This scenic tour of northern Berkshire County is on the western edge of the Mohawk Trail and starts in the city of North Adams at City Hall, Route 8 and Marshall Street. First visit the vast mill complex on Marshall Street, MASS MoCA. MASS MoCA is a major center for the arts and multicultural disciplines featuring performances, educational resources and contemporary art exhibits. Just south of City Hall on Route 8 and Furnace Street is the Western Gateway Heritage State Park. This park is located in the old freight yard district. It is part of a statewide system of urban parks. Nineteenth century structures have been renovated to house exhibits, shops, and restaurants. The Visitors Center highlights the rich railroad and industrial heritage of North Adams and the building of the Hoosac Tunnel. Exit from Western Gateway Heritage State Park onto Route 2 and taking a left, travel west to Notch Road. A sign shows the entrance to Mt. Greylock State Reservation. The reservation is open May through October. It is the highest peak in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 3,491 feet. The road was closed for repairs in 2007-09 but is now open. Along the many switchbacks are lookout points that allow the traveler excellent views of Berkshire vistas. At the summit, there is the 90 foot high granite Veterans Memorial Tower, a commemoration to all Massachusetts’ war dead. On a clear day from the tower’s observation platform, you can see Mt. Monadnock, New Hampshire, the Green Mountains in Vermont, the Adirondacks and Catskills in New York, and Mt. Everett in the southern Berkshires. Bascom Lodge, at the summit, has food and lodging. Guided hikes, walks, and nature tours are available. Take a southerly route, descending into the town of Lanesborough on Route 7. Turn east on Summer Street in Lanesborough and continue to the village of Berkshire on Route 8. Then take Route 8 north along Cheshire Lake with its scenic overlook. Arriving in Adams, a Victorian textile mill town, visit the historic Quaker Meeting House, taking a left from Route 8 onto Maple Street to the cemetery. The Meeting House is open for tours on Sunday afternoons 1 to 4 p.m. July 5 to Oct. 11. Returning to Route 8 see the plaque on Park Street on the Greylock Credit Union Building which honors Susan B. Anthony, who was born in Adams in 1820. A side trip to 67 East Road is the recently opened Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. Continue north to North Adams, follow signs on Route 8 to Natural Bridge State Park. This white marble formation is over 500 million years old. A 30 foot marble bridge spans a 60 foot deep chasm. Unusual flora and fauna are found in this park which is open June to November. Next to the Natural Bridge State Park is The Contemporary Artists Center and Gallery, offering a unique environment for the creation of contemporary art and its exhibition. The Gallery has summer exhibitions only. Retrace your steps into the city of North Adams. The Fall Foliage Festival is held the last weekend in September through the first weekend in October. North Adams celebrates the 4th of July with a Fireworks Extravaganza at 9:30pm at Noel Field Rt. 8, North Adams. Downtown North Adams has a unique Main Street, boasting five churches clustered on the eastern end.
Approximately 55 miles
This tour at the eastern part of the Mohawk Trail begins in Greenfield. Watch an early sunrise from the Poet’s Seat Tower by driving east on Main Street to High Street, then follow the signs to the Tower. Return to Main Street, Route 2A, go west and turn left on Route 5 which takes you through the meadowlands of the Deerfield and Connecticut Rivers, site of the 1704 Deerfield Massacre. Visit Historic Deerfield, a museum village complex of 13 historic houses devoted to the study of the history of Deerfield, the culture of the Connecticut River Valley and the arts in early American life. There are guided tours of the historic houses and the 300 year old village street (admission fee for museum houses). Stop at Memorial Hall Museum on Routes 5 and 10 where memorabilia of the 1600’s to 1800’s from both settlers and Native Americans is exhibited. Follow Route 5 to South Deerfield and you can’t miss the Yankee Candle Village. Visit Santa year round, see live demonstrations of candlemaking and an authentic Bavarian Christmas Village. Continue south and turn left on Route 116 and follow the signs for Mt. Sugarloaf State Reservation. The observation tower gives an excellent view of the Connecticut River Valley. Return to Route 116, go east to Route 47 to Route 63, north to the Fish Hatchery and Salmon Ladder near Montague. Continue north to Northfield Mt. Recreation & Environmental Center. Enjoy a 1 1/2 hour interpretive riverboat cruise on the Connecticut River or hike along the twenty-five mile trail system, tour the mountain top reservoir and the underground power station. Picnic areas are available at the Center, along the river across from the Visitors Center, and at Unity Park near Turners Falls Dam and seasonal fishladder. Return on Route 63 to Route 2, the Mohawk Trail; make a right turn going west. Stop at scenic French King Bridge which is 750 feet long, 140 feet above the waters of the Connecticut River. There is an excellent view of King Philip’s Rock, allegedly the site of the first planting of the French flag on American soil. Continue west on Route 2 to Turners Falls, home of The Shea Theater, a restored vaudeville theater offering music and theater events year round. From the bridge enjoy a view of the falls and the fish as they make their upstream journey (visible only in April, May and early June). Continue west on Route 2, turn south on Route 2A on French King Highway where the road will take you into Greenfield, back to the starting point. Commemorative plaques of historic events are located all along this tour. Parks and lakes are identified for rest or recreational use.
Orange, also known as the Friendly Town, is the starting point for your North Quabbin Adventure! Start at Trail Head in Orange center where you can pick up maps for the entire region as well as supplies and grab a bite at the Millers River Café. Take South Main Street/Rte. 122, and you will immediately see Orange Memorial Park on your left. Visit the official Peace Statue of the Commonwealth, a 12 foot bronze statue of a soldier and a young boy with the inscription “It shall not happen again.” It’s also the site for the annual New Year’s Eve festival Starry Starry Night. Nearby, take a stroll in the newly renovated Butterfield Park, then cross over to The Community Boathouse, the-boat house at 25 East River Street. It offers a wide variety of activities and affordable canoe and kayak rentals. The annual Orange Solstice RiverFest takes place in June on the Millers River featuring arts, crafts, food and music. At dusk floating fire pits are lit, and the boat parade starts, with decorated and illuminated vessels. Another annual event is the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in September. Also known as the festival that stinks, it celebrates community spirit, agriculture, food, arts, crafts, music and of course garlic!
For more adventure, head down East River Street to Orange Municipal Airport and visit Jumptown the oldest skydiving club in the country and take a dive! In case you brought your four-legged friend, the North Quabbin Dog Park is located near the airport. Open dawn to dusk, and at no charge, let your dog play and have fun too! The annual Yankee Engine-uety Show is held in June every year at the airport.
Quintessential New Salem awaits your visit! Take Rte. 122 South out of Orange to Rte. 202 towards New Salem. It may be time for refreshments and the New Salem Country Store offers both freshly made sandwiches and pastries, a variety of beverages, and a covered outside picnic area. The store also hosts the wildly popular Hilltown Brewfest every September bringing dozens of craft brewers together for a massive tasting.
Continue two miles further on Rte. 202, turn left onto Cooleyville Road (the third with same name), and continue to Hunt Road and the Quabbin Sky Vineyard. They offer free wine tastings with wines for sale on site.
Now turn around and backtrack on Rte. 202, and opposite the Country Store, take a right onto North Main Street, and Historic New Salem Common. Enjoy the picturesque landscape and farms, or relax to music and cultural events at the 1794 Meetinghouse. The 1794 Meetinghouse is a beautiful Greek revival building built in 1794 as a church and a public gathering place. Today it is known for offering outstanding musical and cultural programs of wide appeal during the summer. Continue down South Main Street, and you will encounter New Salem Preserves, an apple orchard with 125-year-old apple trees and an all-organic policy. Check out the overlook view of the Quabbin Reservoir as you head down the road to Quabbin Gate 25. The Quabbin is a premier wildlife habitat and human visitor haven, with 25,000 acres of water surrounded by 81,000 acres of beautiful, protected watershed lands. It is also a birder’s paradise.
Eagles were returned to the Quabbin in the 1980s, and today they, and a myriad of other birds, live or stop by the reservoir and adjacent land. Head back towards the store and turn right back onto Rte. 202 South then turn right onto Rte. 122 towards Petersham. Right after this intersection, make a stop at Quabbin Gate 30. The hiking trail from the gate crosses the lovely arched Keystone Bridge, built by hand in 1866. From the bridge, a fisherman’s trail leads east along the river to the Quabbin Reservoir.
As you get back on Rte. 122, be ready to take a left onto Rte. 32 towards Petersham. The town common welcomes you, and a must visit is the Petersham Country Store. Freshly prepared food made with locally sourced ingredients, eat in or take out. Following Rte. 32 towards Athol, the Petersham Craft Center and Gallery is on your left. Find that special gift made by a local artisan or take a class! Along Rte. 32, the Clamber Hill Inn and Restaurant is located on your left, opposite the sign for Rte. 101. They offer overnights, wine and whiskey tastings and a first-class restaurant open Thursday through Saturday.
Just a few miles down the road you will find the Petersham Curling Club, one of just three in the entire followed by the Harvard Forest and Fisher Museum. The 3,700 acre forest is operated by Harvard University and has a museum and lectures as well as hiking and cross-country skiing.
Take Rte. 101 towards Phillipston turning left at Petersham Road and enter Phillipston Common with its classic New England charm. Head out of the common on Baldwinville Road towards Patriots Road (Rte. 2A) and stop at the King Phillip Restaurant for some hearty fare by the fireside. Turn left onto 2A towards Athol. Be sure to make a stop at the Red Apple Farm by turning right on Highland Ave. The orchard offers a wide variety of produce, baked goods and family events year round.
Continue down 2A into Athol passing the high school. Across the street from the hospital you’ll find Bearsden Road that leads to the Bearsden Conservation Area with miles of trails crisscrossing 1,000 acres of forest, hills and the Millers River. Reserve one of the rustic cabins for free for a special summer or fall holiday.
Back on Rte. 2A, turn right on Main Street towards Athol center and the Athol Public Library will be on your right. The library is the first LEED Certified library in the country showcasing the region’s attention to the environment. Just behind the library is a newly added park and amphitheater. A short drive down the street turn right on Exchange Street and visit the North Quabbin Visitors Bureau and Visitors Center at 251 Exchange Street. We have maps and brochures and would love to see you!
Back on Main Street, continue towards Orange, and the Millers River Environmental Center and Alan E. Rich Environmental Park will be on your right. The center is home to the nationally recognized Athol Bird and Nature Club and the park offers access to the Millers River for canoes, kayaks and small boats, and is the official starting point for the annual River Rat Race every April. The park also offers great opportunities for birding and hiking.
Heading back towards Orange on 2A, turn right onto Wheeler Road in Orange, and visit Johnson’s Farm and Sugar House. Enjoy a delicious meal in a country setting and visit the store. Turn right off Wheeler Road and you’ll return to Orange center . The North Quabbin Region offers over 100,000 acres of permanently conserved land open for public use with hundreds of miles of marked and rated trails, waterways and endless recreational opportunities. It is also the source for many of Worcester and Boston’s farm to table restaurants, producing organic meats, dairy, cheese, produce, wine and beer.