Located close to Berkshire County’s population center, the 645 acres of The Boulders provide more than six miles of trails plus the dramatic boulders that give the area its name and offer a vista to the west. The trails lend themselves to hiking, biking, hunting, jogging, dog walking and cross-country skiing.
Healthy Heart Loop: 0.5 miles, easy
Green trail: 1.4 miles roundtrip, 1 hour, easy
Red trail: 2.4 miles roundtrip, 1.5 hours, moderate
Blue trail: 2.8 miles roundtrip, 1.75 hours, moderate
Special features: Miles of excellent trails, beautiful tall trees, and the natural slides at The Boulders
SCROLL FOR TRAIL DESCRIPTION, PROPERTY DESCRIPTION, AND NATURAL HISTORY
To the trailhead parking area on Gulf Road, Dalton: take routes 8/9 east from the center of Pittsfield. Take a left onto Park Avenue, passing Craneville School. Take a left onto Gulf Road. Park at the pull-off on the left, opposite the parking for the Appalachian Trail.
GPS: 42.4816, -73.1783 (trailhead parking on Gulf Road)
Healthy Heart Loop:
This easy loop winds you through hemlock forest with no elevation changes.
Explore wetlands, large trees and a fern-filled forest floor on this hike with little elevation changes.
Walk through diverse forests, stopping mid-way at the pond, on this trail with moderate elevation changes.
Follow an old wood road to the Boulders summit.
This property was acquired by the Crane family in the beginning of the 19th century. In 1994, the family officially opened the property to public. It became permanently protected in 2004 when Mass Wildlife bought a conservation restriction. In 2015 Crane and Company donated The Boulders property to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, ensuring that this popular destination – most of which is within the city limits of Pittsfield – would be conserved and open to the public.
The land use history of this property has resulted in diverse forests including large and old trees. This makes for a memorable experience no matter which route you take.
The Boulders’ weathered chunks of gray rock, some stacked like steps, are a handy rest stop after a moderate climb. The bedrock of this property is primarily pelitic rock; a metamorphosed fine-grained sedimentary rock. The large outcrops on the boulders ridge show part of a concentric arcing called a “lunate fracture.” These form as an interaction between ice, pressure, and a very hard rock like the quartzite found here.
The trails leading to them wind through woods that include such hardwoods as oak, maple, beech, ash and birch; softwoods include white pine and hemlock. Along the blue trail are enough mature, straight-trunked black cherry trees to provide lifetimes’ supplies for furniture makers. Deer and barred owls are among many animal species to be found here; red trillium and pink lady-slippers show up in spring among many other ephemeral wildflowers.