Are you a fool for foliage? If so, you’re not alone. Foliage fans faithfully flock to the Berkshires for the best picturesque panoramas that fall has to offer. They know they’ll find vivid vistas at high elevation and the Berkshire landscape provides plenty of peak leaf-peeking vantage points such as Mt Greylock in the north and Mt. Washington in the south, and countless top spots in between. Brook Farm Inn in Lenox is centrally located to everything!
These two mountains have an advantage – you can drive to the top, then hike (or take a leisurely stroll) from there. Mt. Greylock has the additional benefit of Bascom Lodge for refreshments, a meal or even an overnight stay. Both are scenic drives and both can also be enjoyed at a slower pace, either by bicycle or by foot.
In between these peaks, the Berkshires offers many other opportunities to scale the heights if you’re happy to hike, such as Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, Laura’s Tower in Stockbridge, Kennedy Park in Lenox, Tyringham Cobble, and, perhaps the Berkshires’ most popular climb, Monument Mountain in Great Barrington.
The Berkshire region offers other, more uncommon ways to get high for leaf-peeping, particularly if you’re on the adventurous side. Get above it all in a small-plane sightseeing tour with Lyon Aviation or take flight the old-fashioned way – powered by hot air – with Worthington Balloons. Glide down a zip line at Bousquet or take Zoar Outdoor’s zipline canopy tour over the Deerfield River Valley. Climb a few stories of stairs in a dilapidated, former coal–fired boiler room at MASS MoCA and peer out from a metal plank that supports a vintage Airstream camper repurposed for Michael Oatman’s installation, “All Utopia’s Fell.” It’s meant to be a crash-landed spaceship; don’t neglect to check it out while you’re enjoying the view.
Bear in mind that you don’t have to get high to enjoy the foliage. Getting out on the water also yields great views. Rent a paddleboat, canoe, kayak, jet ski, pontoon-, sail-, or motor-boat from Wild ’N Wet Watersports on Lake Pontoosuc or from Onota Boat Livery on Lake Onota. Paddle down the Housatonic River with Berkshire Scenic Treks & Canoe Tours or DIY with a rental kayak or canoe from one of the region’s many outdoor stores. Get your adrenaline pumping on river-rafting trips with Zoar Outdoor in Charlemont.
Bikers not up for mountain trails can find stunning views along the 11-mile Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, which runs from the Pittsfield/Lanesboro line to downtown Adams alongside stunning Cheshire Lake and through woodlands. If you prefer to take to the roads, pick up a copy of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s map of bike paths in the towns of Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington and Sheffield. Or sit back and enjoy a more relaxing foliage tour on the Berkshire Scenic Railway.