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Thread: Berkshires Trip

  1. #1
    Up on the Hill
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    Berkshires Trip

    Hey folks,

    I'm heading to the Berkshires with a couple of friends for 3 days of riding over the weekend of October 14. All of the DCR campgrounds are closing on the 8th, so we'll probably be staying in "off season" accomodations at either Mohawk Trail SF or Taconic SP in NY. Some questions:

    1) Camping: Anyone know of other good (more centrally located) camping options this time of year, maybe private campgrounds?

    2) Riding: We've tentatively planned to ride Yokun, October Mtn, and Pittsfield SF. However, if we're all the way down in the southern part of the state (Taconic) or up in the north (Mohawk), it might make more sense to cut down on driving and rider closer stuff. I just don't know how good the riding is at most of these places DCR lists for mountain biking. I'd appreciate suggestions as to which ones are gems and which are not worth considering given that this is a trip we're taking time for just to ride (and drink beer, of course).

    - Beartown State Forest
    - Chester-Blandford State Forest
    - D.A.R. State Forest (I've heard of good stuff here)
    - Dubuque, Kenneth Memorial State Forest (I've heard of good stuff here)
    - Granville State Forest
    - Mt. Greylock State Reservation (I've checked out, but didn't find good singletrack. Any?)
    - Mt. Washington State Forest
    - Savoy Mountain State Forest (I've checked out, but didn't find good singletrack? Any?)
    - Tolland State Forest
    - Windsor State Forest

    3) We're XC riders. Is there anything at Jiminy for us these days, or is it all DH stuff? Is it easy to connect Pittsfield and Jiminy?

    4) Wendell, Erving, and Robinson are further east and thus more out of our way, but are they worth the drive over the places listed above that are closer?

    Many thanks, and Happy Fall!
    "Takin' my time, choosin' my line, tryin' to decide what to do."

  2. #2
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    Try camping at beartown , I know they stay open thru hunting season.DAR is great ,

    October Mtn too , but you will need a guide . The best of Pittsfield SF requires local knowledge. We can probably show you around Sunday morning ,if you dont mind hanging with a bunch of 50 year olds . or tell you where the good stuff anyway . Let me know . Harry

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Climbin'J
    Hey folks,

    I'm heading to the Berkshires with a couple of friends for 3 days of riding over the weekend of October 14. All of the DCR campgrounds are closing on the 8th, so we'll probably be staying in "off season" accomodations at either Mohawk Trail SF or Taconic SP in NY. Some questions:

    1) Camping: Anyone know of other good (more centrally located) camping options this time of year, maybe private campgrounds?

    2) Riding: We've tentatively planned to ride Yokun, October Mtn, and Pittsfield SF. However, if we're all the way down in the southern part of the state (Taconic) or up in the north (Mohawk), it might make more sense to cut down on driving and rider closer stuff. I just don't know how good the riding is at most of these places DCR lists for mountain biking. I'd appreciate suggestions as to which ones are gems and which are not worth considering given that this is a trip we're taking time for just to ride (and drink beer, of course).

    - Beartown State Forest
    - Chester-Blandford State Forest
    - D.A.R. State Forest (I've heard of good stuff here)
    - Dubuque, Kenneth Memorial State Forest (I've heard of good stuff here)
    - Granville State Forest
    - Mt. Greylock State Reservation (I've checked out, but didn't find good singletrack. Any?)
    - Mt. Washington State Forest
    - Savoy Mountain State Forest (I've checked out, but didn't find good singletrack? Any?)
    - Tolland State Forest
    - Windsor State Forest

    3) We're XC riders. Is there anything at Jiminy for us these days, or is it all DH stuff? Is it easy to connect Pittsfield and Jiminy?

    4) Wendell, Erving, and Robinson are further east and thus more out of our way, but are they worth the drive over the places listed above that are closer?

    Many thanks, and Happy Fall!
    Climbin J,

    Here's what you need to know..

    1. Whether you are in Southern or Northern Berkshire county-Lenox, Pittsfield Sf and October Mt are all within 20 minutes of each other-and no more than 30 minutes from the farthest reaches of Berkshire county and all are closer than the other places listed.

    2. If you're a knowledgeable local then ignore this next point--if you're a visitor-truthfuly you're going to find (or more pointedly NOT FIND) that the Singletrack riding at October Mountain, Pittsfield State Forest and Kenneth Dubuque is all hidden and not on any map. Without local guidance you ain't going to find any of it. Whereas, Lennox Mt./ Yokun ridge/ Kennedy Park is all on a readily available 'Yokun Ridge map' at the Arcadian Shop or at local Bike Shops (though probably not at Plaine's). Also, The DAR is within a 30 minute drive from lenox-and it has great riding-all of it legal and displayed on the available park map. Keep that in Mind.

    3. Following from the previous advice-hook up with local rides (out of the Arcadian Shop, Dave's Bike Shop or on the yahoo group website of the norulesmountainbikingclub.com where local rides are posted-that's the only way to tap the goods.! It's the best riding in the east--but it's not easy to access.

    Oh-if you stay on the NY side of the Berkshires you might want to consider Stephentown, NY-great riding-again not that easy to access on your own-the guys who run the Down in Denver Bookstore on rte 43 in Stephentown lead rides in this area (cherry Plains/ stephentown/hancock/Nassau) ring them up and check them out (and buy a few used books while you're at it!).

    4. Windsor, Savoy, Greylock, etc-not worth riding with only three days to sample the best of western Ma. Erving is too far for you (and is devoid of decent singkletrack)-and Wendell-my home area is great-but too far (over an hour from williamstown). I wouldn't bother with those places-you've narrowed the right list- Pittsfield sf, Lenox, October Mtn, add the DAR-too.

    5. If you want to PM me-I'm leading a group ride on the weekend of Oct 14-15-thinking the DAR or some other sizeable place-you're more than welcome to come along!

    The DCR doesn't have any standards for what they listed as acceptible for mountain biking so their listings are useless!

    Have a good trip!

    Liam

  4. #4
    The Dog.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Climbin'J
    Hey folks,

    I'm heading to the Berkshires with a couple of friends for 3 days of riding over the weekend of October 14. All of the DCR campgrounds are closing on the 8th, so we'll probably be staying in "off season" accomodations at either Mohawk Trail SF or Taconic SP in NY. Some questions:

    1) Camping: Anyone know of other good (more centrally located) camping options this time of year, maybe private campgrounds?

    2) Riding: We've tentatively planned to ride Yokun, October Mtn, and Pittsfield SF. However, if we're all the way down in the southern part of the state (Taconic) or up in the north (Mohawk), it might make more sense to cut down on driving and rider closer stuff. I just don't know how good the riding is at most of these places DCR lists for mountain biking. I'd appreciate suggestions as to which ones are gems and which are not worth considering given that this is a trip we're taking time for just to ride (and drink beer, of course).

    - Beartown State Forest
    - Chester-Blandford State Forest
    - D.A.R. State Forest (I've heard of good stuff here)
    - Dubuque, Kenneth Memorial State Forest (I've heard of good stuff here)
    - Granville State Forest
    - Mt. Greylock State Reservation (I've checked out, but didn't find good singletrack. Any?)
    - Mt. Washington State Forest
    - Savoy Mountain State Forest (I've checked out, but didn't find good singletrack? Any?)
    - Tolland State Forest
    - Windsor State Forest

    3) We're XC riders. Is there anything at Jiminy for us these days, or is it all DH stuff? Is it easy to connect Pittsfield and Jiminy?

    4) Wendell, Erving, and Robinson are further east and thus more out of our way, but are they worth the drive over the places listed above that are closer?

    Many thanks, and Happy Fall!
    1) If you want to stay a little farther north, there is a private campground on Route 43 in/around Hancock, MA.

    2) Mt. Greylock has some good riding from Greylock Glen (south side). Also, Bellows pipe trail on the north side is fun too. Stony ledge trail is meant for mtn bike use, but is in really rough shape. I crash almost every time I go down it.

    There is excellent riding in/around Williamstown. If you want more details, just PM me. You could spend a long time here and not hit all the trails.

    3) Yes!!!! There is! You just have to access it from the back and manage to not get lost. The trails were built by locals and are known as the "silver street trails." They are on, well, silver street. To find Silver Street drive north on 7 from Pittsfield. Make a left was if you are gonna head to Jiminy. At the top of the very first hill hang a left. Drive about a mile or so and silver street will be on your right. Drive to the end until there is a small parking area (grass) on the right. The trails are right there. There is a quite a network of tight singletrack. Eventually they all sorta run into this dirt access road that climbs to Jiminy from the back. It is tough to navigate without local help, but there are some amazing trails, so it might be worth it. Best part is...no need to pay.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    pepito
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    2.) chester-blandford = not much riding, but beautiful location.
    granville state forest = a lot of great riding in that area. they might be closed by then, though. i seem to recall a columbus day closing.

    pm me when you've decided on a location. i'd love to hook up for a ride, and show you some trails if you're in the area.
    "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling" ~James E. Starrs

  6. #6
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    if you're interested i have a small book that contains topos and trail maps of the taconic crest/skyline trail system that runs accross the top of jiminy and through pittsfield state forest. it shows pretty much all the well established trails in the area and is quite accurate, i lived in that area for 10 years and rode or attempted to ride pretty much every trail in that area, so I know first hand that those trails are quite rugged, some steep, have the potential for some quite epic rides, and some of the trails can be quite raw and could require some hike a bike. I moved to Boston almost 10 years ago and haven't ridden those trails since then so I'm not aware of what changes have been made. I can also recommend you can ride up round top road in stephentown heading north off rt.43 and ride the taconic crest trail for quite a ways, i rode up to berlin mtn and looped back on the road (rt. 2) a few times and that particular section of trail is nice because much of it is rolling once you get to the ridge top and ridable, about a 4-5 hour loop.

    anyway post here or email me if you're interested in those maps, i'm not sure if they're available on any websites, i can scan them and email them to you.

  7. #7
    Up on the Hill
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    Many many thanks to everyone for the very helpful input, suggestions, and kind offers. I'm still trying to finalize plans outside of riding, including camping and arrival of separate parties. Looks like we'll ride Yokun on Monday, after (probably two of following) Pittsfield SF/ October/ DAR/ Dubuque on Saturday and Sunday depending on how things fall into place. I'll get things nailed down more tomorrow and get some PMs out to you good folks.

    Harryonaspot, Superbman, and the_dude: You rock! It would be great to find and get on the best singletrack at these places. Your local knowledge would be much appreciated. We're experienced MTBers, but not out there to hammer on this trip so I just want to make sure we wouldn't slow you down. Could you still make PSF on Sunday, Harry? And Liam- do you know yet where and which day the group ride is happening?

    Dogdude222- what's the name of that campground on Route 43 near Hancock? Would also like to pick your brain, and jplain's, on some out of the way stuff. I grew up not far from Williamstown and basically learned to ride on the TCT but it sounds like there's a bunch of stuff I'm not familiar with.
    "Takin' my time, choosin' my line, tryin' to decide what to do."

  8. #8
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    that campground is called the privacy campground, on the east side of rt. 43 about halfway between stephentown and williamstown. my girlfriend went there once for fun to check it out many years ago and said the owner had all these newspaper clippings all around his office of dog attacks, apparently the guy was seriously paranoid of dogs, don't know if it's still the same owner. i did a quick google search and it seems it's still in operation. -jay

  9. #9
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    We are going to DAR this Sunday

    If that doesnt fit in I can help with directions for most anywhere else . Lots of local singletrack is hidden from atvs. Harry

  10. #10
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    you won't be disappointed with Berkshire riding. it's my favorite but I'm 200 miles away.

    question?? I hear people say they're riding from the "pump house" at October state forest. where is the pump house? I've never gone to Oct. because I don't want to waste a day not finding the good stuff. can you find the stuff from the pump house? is everything hidden like Pittsfield?

    you can go to Jiminy from Pittsfield state forest. I always start a Balance Rock Park and make my way to Jiminy, go down,north side(??), then back up same way. some day I'll find more. I went to Pedros Festivals for 3 years to learn it all. it took a while and there's still more.

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