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.
Approximately 36 miles
The North Quabbin scenic tour brings you to some of the more beautiful and interesting areas in western MA. Rich in cultural and natural history, it is a perfect fall colors tour as well as a gateway to many accessible private and public lands. The region hosts trails and waterway, museums and educational centers, opportunities to shop for antiques and local crafts, and bed and breakfasts, to name just a few attractions.
Starting in Athol, a beautiful revitalized mill town just off Rt. 2. Millers River Environmental Center at 100 South Main Street. A perfect gateway to the tour. Stop here for information on local wildlife and conservation programs, a beautiful display of birds, mammals, rocks and minerals. Drive through downtown and stop at Eddie's Restaurant for a great lunch or dinner. Cinnamon's, a true hometown diner, offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Drive south on 32 (Petersham Road) through scenic country side to Harvard Forest's Fisher Museum located on the east side of the road. The museum displays 23 world-renowned dioramas -- miniature, three-dimensional, incredibly lifelike models of forest scenes. Some of the models depict one location's changes over 300 years of history, from pre-settlement to farm clearing to the return of the forest. Short thematic films are changed monthly and long established trails lead to a fire tower that offers a breathtaking view of the area -- great during fall colors.
Past there on your right is Colonial Hill Alpaca Farm. Stop here to browse the shop for locally grown and spun wool clothing and gifts and visit with the Alpacas.
Continue south to the Petersham Crafts Center and gallery on your right. Look for a special gift made by local artisans and view the juried art exhibit that changes regularly.
Continuing south on 32, soon on your right is the Winterwood at Petersham. An elegant 1842 Greek Revival home in the center of beautiful Petersham. Six lovely guest rooms, each with private bath, five with working fireplaces. Full breakfast with hot entree included. Other meals by arrangement.
Just past here is the classic gem of Petersham Common. The town of Petersham was originally called Nichewaug after the Native Americans who lived in the area. The picturesque New England Common is graced by the historical Nichewaug Inn that is currently under restoration, and a traditional New England style church. Petersham Country Store, one of the oldest continually operating country stores in America, is also right on the common. From penny candy to pots and pans, they also carry fresh sandwiches and hand crafted gifts.
Visit the Swift River Reservation of the Trustees of Reservations just off the commons off Rt. 122. A short hike here takes you to an overlook of the East branch of the Swift River. Most of this spectacular view is conserved land. Along the trail look for bent trees and other remnant signs of the devastating hurricane of '38.
Take a side trip out of Petersham down Rt. 32A to Gate 40 of the Quabbin Reservoir. Walk down to Dana Common, the remnants of a once thriving town that was displaced in the 30's in order to establish the Quabbin Reservoir. Considered by some of the best historical hikes in the Quabbin -- and certainly one of the most moving -- is the 1 1/2-mile road to Dana Common that begins at Gate 40. Woodland and open fields lead to the common, dotted with stone walls, cellar holes, and brooks. The common itself is beautiful and eerily peaceful, with schoolhouse and homesite cellar holes and cemetary fence posts conjuring images of long ago.
Return on 32A to Rt. 122 North, enter the spectacular drive through the north end of the Quabbin Reservoir. It is a premier wildlife habitat and human visitor haven -- as one author called it, "the accidental wilderness", 25,000 acres of water surrounded by 81,000 acres of beautiful, protected watershed lands with mementos of the lost towns. 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 lands. Stop along 122 at the numerous pullouts for birding and views of the waterways, bogs, and glacial geology of the area. For canoe, kayak or fishing access contact the Quabbin Visitors Center in Belchertown, 413-323-7221.
Continuing North on Rt. 122, on your left, right before the intersection of 122 and 202 is Gate 30 of the Quabbin. The trail from the gate crosses the lovely, stone-arched Keystone Bridge, built by hand in 1866 to span the Middle Branch of the Swift River. From the bridge, a fisherman's trail leads east along the river to the Quabbin Reservoir.
At the intersection of Rt. 122 and Rt. 202 (Danial Shays highway, named after the famous Shays Rebellion), go south on Rt. 202 for fall apple picking at Hamilton Orchards on your right. Many apple varieties, raspberries, and a country store is available for an enjoyable family outing. The view from the orchard is not to be missed.
On the way back north on Rt. 202 take a right on North Main Street into New Salem Common. Enjoy the picturesque landscape and farms or relax to a music or cultural event at the 1794 Meeting House. The 1794 Meetinghouse is both a beautiful Greek revival building and an institution offering outstanding musical and cultural programs of wide appeal during the spring, summer, and fall and an annual Musicfest in September. Monies raised by programs and donations go toward preservation of the historic structure, built in 1795 as a church and public gathering place.
Continuing North on Rt. 202 look for a turnout to an amazing overlook of the Quabbin Reservoir.
Still going north past here, look for a quick turn on your left that is Elm Street (before passing the turn on your right onto Rt. 122). Go a short distance down Elm Street to The Swift River Historical Society Museum on your right to explore materials about Prescott, Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and parts of New Salem that now lie beneath the Quabbin Reservoir. Preserving the memory of these towns and the lives lived there, and celebrating the quiet valley is the mission of the museum. Artifacts and memorabilia displayed in several historic buildings kindle the imagination. Paintings and photographs of forever-gone scenes line the walls. They are open Sundays and Wednesdays 1-4 in the summer, Sundays only in the fall.
Continue on Elm Street to Holtshire Road north past Lake Mattawa, a handicapped accessible fishing area, and take a left onto Chestnut Hill Road. 1/3 of a mile up the road on your left is the Trail Head to the North Pond Ridge Trail. This road is also the site for The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. This annual fall event, "the festival that stinks", celebrates community spirit, agriculture, food, arts, crafts, music -- and of course, garlic. This festival in Orange happens the 16th and 17th of September 2006.
Go back down Chestnut Hill Road and continue on Holtshire Road north back to Rt. 2A. Take a right onto Rt. 2A following the Millers River and on into the Town of Orange. At the light in Orange where 2A crosses 122, take a right and stop at the town green directly on your left to appreciate the Peace Statue. Dedicated in memory of the veterans of WWI, it is the official Peace Statue of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
Drive or walk back north on Rt. 122 and take a right onto Rt. 2A and stop by North Quabbin Woods on the corner to browse a selection of local woodworkers' crafts and fine furniture. Pick up information here about the trails, activities and events in the North Quabbin region.
Orange has a number of antique shops including North Quabbin Antiques a few doors down from the North Quabbin Woods store. Just down Rt. 2A east, take a break at The 1880 House that has delicious baked goods and sandwiches, special coffees and teas, for eating in or taking out from a handsome Victorian house with a classic wrap-around porch. An additional spot for local eating is Johnson's Farm and Sugarhouse up Wheeler Avenue on your left off Rt. 2A. Continue on Wheeler Avenue to go the "back road to Athol" or return to Rt. 2A and continue east to finish the tour.