Pittsfield State Forest
Welcome to Pittsfield State Forest. Maintained by the
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Managementís (DEM)
Division of Forests and parks on behalf of the citizens of the
commonwealth, the forest offers a wide range of recreational
activities throughout the year, and provides lovely views of the
Berry Pond campground offers 13 rustic campsites atop Berry
Mountain. Parker Brook campground, at the mountainís base,
offers 18 sites with flush toilets. Neither location provides showers.
Two group sites are available to nonprofit organizations by advance
An earthen dam at Lulu brook holds clear, cold spring water is
perfect for a brisk swim. Visitors can enjoy picnicking there or at
Parker Brook. Picnic sites accessible to people who use
wheelchairs are located near Tranquillity Trail, a paved 3/4 mile
nature trail. An accessible restroom is located there. Thirty-five
miles of additional marked trails and logging roads which traverse
the forest are used by hikers, equestrians, all-terrain-vehicles,
Nordic skiers and snowmobiles.
During the summer, interpretive programs include guided hikes,
natural and cultural history walks, slide shows, and exhibits. Fishing
and nonmotorizing boating are available at Berry Pond.
Natural and Cultural History
The 9,695-acre forest is located on the ridgeline of Taconic Range.
Its scenic terrain was shaped by a glacier that retreated from the
North American continent about 12,000 years ago. Balance Rock,
in the northeastern section of the forest, is evidence of the glacierís
power. This 165-ton limestone boulder, balanced on bedrock, is a
mere three feet in diameter at its base.
North American Indians hunted throughout the Berkshire Hills about
10,000 years before the first white settlers arrived. Dutch and
English fur traders frequently traveled through the area during the
17th century. In 1777, George Washington granted a portion of the
land that is now Pittsfield State Forest to William Berry in return for
his service at the Battle of Bennington in the Revolutionary War.
Berry Pond and Berry Mountain are named after him.
During the Colonial period some of the land was cleared for sheep
grazing and farming, but by the mid-1800s those enterprises had
become unprofitable and had largely disappeared. As the century
wore on, timber was cut to make charcoal to fuel Berkshire
Countyís iron and glass industries. Around 1900 the Estes Stave
Factory used large quantities of oak from the forest to manufacture
By the latter half of the 19th century much of the forestís southern
portion was owned by Hancock and New Lebanon Shaker
communities. Several cemeteries and remnants of their holy sites can
still be found within the forest. This 125-acre section, called Shaker
Mountain, appears in the National Register of Historic Places. the
Hancock Shaker Village, now a museum, abuts the forest on its
southern end. A trail from the village leads to a holy site in the forest
where Shakers worshipped with music and dancing.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted large
tracts of spruce and red pine on the former grazing land. They also
constructed roads, dams, and buildings. The land, which had
remained in private ownership, was then sold to the state. Many of
the forestís present buildings date from the CCC era, including the
ski lodge with its enormous stone fireplace.
A spectacular show of pink azaleas each June delights visitors to the
summit of Berry Mountain. The broad vista from the montaintop
changes with the seasons. Berry Pond, at 2,150 feet is the highest
natural body of Water in Massachusetts.
Pittsfield State Forest is home to many kinds of wildlife, such as wild
turkey, fox, deer, weasel, and porcupines. Black bear are frequent
visitors. Dozens of bird species are sighted each year, including:
great blue herons; Canada geese; turkey vultures; sharp-shinned,
broad winged and red-tailed hawks; great horned and barred owls;
pileated woodpeckers; and ruby-throated hummingbirds.
DEM foresters use forest management techniques such a cutting,
thinning and pruning to provide a continuing supply of wood
products, and to enhance and protect plant and wildlife habitats.
We hop you enjoy your visit to Pittsfield State Forest and that you
return frequently. DEMís rules exist for the protection of the
environment and to ensure the safety of visitors. Please observe
these rules closely for your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of
The day-use area closes at 8 p.m.
Quiet time in campgrounds begins at 10 p.m.
Two cars, two tents and five people are allowed per
Dogs must be restrained and attended at all times.
Speed limit is 15 miles per hour on all forest roads.
A complete list of rules and regulations for Pittsfield State Forest is
available from forest staff.
Pittsfield State Forest
Cascade Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
413.442.8992 and 413.442.8928 (TDD)