A hike of just 1.4 miles round trip brings you to one of Berkshire County’s most dramatic sights: Lenox Mountain Brook cascading down a steep rocky ravine. A carefully laid-out trail through the 129 acres and an observation deck make it all safely accessible, and recall the glen’s history as a destination for carriage-goers more than a century ago.
Stevens Glen Trail: 1.2 miles roundtrip, 1 hour, moderate
Special features: 19th century tourist attraction, reborn for the 21st century including a waterfall through romantic rock cleft, stream to dabble feet on hot day, a viewing platform with bench for reflection. Deep hemlock forest also awaits.
SCROLL FOR TRAIL DESCRIPTION, PROPERTY DESCRIPTION, AND NATURAL HISTORY
From Lenox: Take Route 183 South, passing Tanglewood. When the 183 bears left, take a right onto Lenox-Richmond Road. Drive up the hill 1.6 miles and turn left on to Lenox Branch Road or also called Lenox-West Stockbridge Road. Go .06 miles and the lot will be on the right at the sign. Overflow parking is further down.
From Pittsfield: Take Route 20 West and turn left on Lenox Road. Then turn right on to Lenox Branch Road or also called Lenox-West Stockbridge Road. Go .06 miles and the lot will be on the right at the sign. Overflow parking is further down.
GPS: 42.3505, -73.3484 (Trailhead parking)
In addition to the many longer hikes on Yokun Ridge, Stevens Glen is a short, 45-minute jaunt on a partially looped trail. Visitors walk under 100-foot tall white pines and majestic hemlocks that have long since replaced the American chestnut trees that were felled almost a century ago in an effort to arrest the devastating chestnut blight.
From the trailhead, visitors walk a short distance to a juncture and can choose to proceed either clockwise or counter-clockwise on paths that then converge at a point where a spur trail leads to the overlook platform.
Stevens Glen enjoys a remarkable history. The Stevens family settled here in 1760 and worked to clear the land for farming. Coaching parties crowded to the mountain summit through the late 1800s and early 1900s, their carriages discharging hundreds of passengers for an evening of dancing on a pavilion near the ravine. It’s hard to envision 900 people up on this ridge dancing away, and even harder to imagine how the women in the late 1800s made it to the ravine in their tiny heeled boots, petticoats, and long dresses. In 1924 the landscape changed dramatically when all the mature trees were cut to control chestnut blight. Now the forest has regenerated. Clearly Stevens Glen has been part of our changing ecological and social history, and thanks to the donation of the Glen property to BNRC by brothers Millard and Frederic Pryor in 1995, it is once again open to the public under the terms of a conservation restriction jointly owned by BNRC and the Richmond Land Trust.
Go when the light is filtering through the tall pines and hemlocks or go when their boughs are laden with snow. Here are glades that are deep with big trees. At any time of year Stevens Glen is a magical place, shifting light and space through a filter of greenery, and trading off light and dark as you make your way along the clearly marked trail. Stop a minute any place here and let your senses breathe in the quiet.
Since 1998, Stevens Glen has offered visitors access on carefully designed trails. Bridges over Cone Brook and Lenox Mountain Brook allow for easy crossings; a series of steeper stone steps there is a sturdy bench upon which to rest; the trail is laid out to visit the most scenic interior views, and the dramatic ravine is safely penetrated by stepping down to a railed platform. Here the Glen itself is a jagged cleft of gray-green rock that rushes Lenox Mountain Brook through crags and slides to the level landscape below. One has to admire the tenacity of trees growing straight out of the sides of the ravine and the lone birch that clings tightly to its fragile base.
The trail begins by winding through an abandoned Christmas tree farm. Take note of the sizeable northern red oak, sugar maple, white pine, and hemlock as the forest transitions. Along the trail the filtering of light through the full canopy changes daily and seasonally. The quick-moving water and mature-forest slope harbor a range of wildlife, including fishers, chipmunks, red squirrel and deer.
The glen is a jagged cleft of gray-green rock that rushes Lenox Mountain Brook through crags and pitches to the level landscape far below. Trees grow tenaciously out of the sides of the ravine and a lone birch clings tightly to its fragile hold.
2. Hoosac Range
3. Basin Pond
4. Stevens Glen
6. Clam River
8. Bob’s Way
10. Housatonic Flats