Conserved only by the toughest of fights in court, this summit at the north end of Lenox Mountain is not only beautiful, but the most appropriate place possible to acknowledge the enduring gifts of Berkshire Natural Resource’s founder, George Wislocki.
Visit his stone bench and ponder your place in the world, and its place in you.
JUNE 2020: BNRC and Mill Town are partnering to develop a permanent trailhead from Bousquet Ski Area. With the purchase of the Bousquet ski resort by Mill Town comes a focus on expanding outdoor recreation opportunities at the site, including hiking activities. Currently there is signage for a temporary access route to help hikers navigate from the Bousquet base lodge and parking area, up a ski hill, toward BNRC’s new Mahanna Cobble trail.
PLEASE NOTE: The temporary access route may be modified from time to time over the course of the summer and fall (2020) due to renovation construction on the lodge and base area. Follow signage and check back to this webpage for updates before heading out on the trail.
SCROLL FOR TRAIL DESCRIPTION, PROPERTY DESCRIPTION, AND NATURAL HISTORY
NOTE: Parking at West Mountain Road is not available.
Visitors should park to the far left of the Bousquet lodge. Currently, no access is available from here in the winter, though this option is anticipated in the future. BNRC is grateful to Mill Town for opening Bousquet to hiking traffic; together the organizations will work to develop a permanent trailhead, hopefully available in all four seasons of the year.
GPS: 42.4195, -73.2766 (trailhead parking)
The first section of the trail follows an easement on Bousquet property. Take the beginner ski slope, Drifter, up for 0.4 miles to the woodland start of the trail. From there, the Mahanna Cobble single-track trail is 1 mile with switch-back turns and stone steps. There is a spectacular view and stone bench at the vista. The bench is dedicated to founding BNRC Executive Director, George Wislocki.
Enjoy the grassy ledges at the vista with uninterrupted views south over Kennedy Park and Yokun Ridge. Your approach back down the slope allows bird’s eye views of Pittsfield and the North Berkshires.
Please stay on BNRC or Bousquet property. Dogs are welcome. They must be leashed on Bousquet property and always under your immediate control. No access to Pleasant Valley is offered from here. If you decide to head that way anyway, be aware that as a wildlife sanctuary Mass Audubon does not allow dogs, bikes, or hunting.
Mahanna Cobble is a terrific counterpart to the other dramatic hikes of the Berkshires. Located in the center of the county, this one is close to town, has tremendous views, and a great picnic spot – it has it all.
The Cobble itself is the northern summit of Lenox Mountain, the long and picturesque ridge that extends north from Olivia’s Overlook to the Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield. Lenox Mountain has long been a focus for conservation. BNRC’s Burbank Trail at Yokun Ridge South anchors the southern end. The Town of Lenox’s watershed and Kennedy Park comprise the midsection. Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Sanctuary and BNRC’s Mahanna Cobble conserve the northern end.
Mahanna Cobble did not have an easy birthing. On its way to being sold to BNRC in 2007 by Bousquet Ski Area owner the late George W. Jervas, a would-be developer entered the picture. The developer claimed that it had reached agreement to buy the ski area, including the Mahanna Cobble tract under contract to BNRC. The news later emerged that the developer hoped to build a hotel, restaurant and condos on the summit of the mountain. All parties involved hired lawyers. In 2010 the courts affirmed BNRC’s right to purchase the land and ordered the developer to pay BNRC’s legal fees.
The Mahanna Cobble Trail construction team brought together BNRC volunteers, trail and stewardship staff and interns, Greenagers teen crews, as well as professional trail builders, OBP Trailworks, LLC. This route is built to sustainable trail standards, to provide a special experience for generations, and to reduce impact on the surrounding environment.
Today’s partnership with Bousquet and Mill Town ushers in a new moment in the Mahanna Cobble history. Access from the ski area secures a route to the reserve and newly completed trail. In the near future, Bousquet will host a winter trailhead for Mahanna Cobble, as well as the northern trailhead for BNRC’s The High Road route from Pittsfield to Lenox and beyond, along Yokun Ridge. The High Road will connect trails and conservation to towns throughout the Berkshires. More details will be shared as plans are finalized.
“Cobbles” are a particular Berkshire name for a classic geologic formation of exposed bedrock existing high on a ridge. Others in the Berkshires can be found at Tyringham Cobble, Cheshire Cobble, Pine Cobble, and Bartholomew’s Cobble. They are evidence of tectonic movement that shifted ancient strata.
The bedrock on Mahanna Cobble is a type of schist. Schist is a metamorphic rock that has medium-to-large, flat, sheet-like grains. It is defined by having more than 50% plate-like and elongated minerals. The individual mineral grains in schist, drawn out into flaky scales by heat and pressure, can be seen with the naked eye. Schist is characteristically foliated, meaning that the individual mineral grains split off easily into flakes or slabs.