Winter Hike - Canoe Meadows


Where We Went : Mass Audubon Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary / Pittsfield, MA


When We Went : February 2019


Difficulty (Boots 1 - 10) : 1 Boot / 1.5 Boot with snow on the ground


Trail Length : Sacred Way Trail 1.2 miles / 1 hour


How Long it Took Us : 2.5 hours


Overview : Canoe Meadows is 262 acres of field, forest, and wetland bordering the Housatonic River, just a mile from the center of Pittsfield, open year round. three miles of well-marked walking trails include two loops that you can explore.

The famed poet and essayist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. inherited Canoe Meadows in 1848 and built the house that still stands (privately owned) on a knoll that overlooks the Housatonic and the meadows. He punned that "The best tonic is the Housatonic."


What We Dug : Canoe Meadows got its name because the Mohicans beached their canoes on the meadows along the river. This name appears in the early historical records of the city of Pittsfield. We had fun pretending our sled was a canoe and we were dragging it to the shore. The trails are easygoing, flat walks. With the snow we definitely upped the energy expenditure and it was more difficult to discern whether we were following the actual trail. But it was such a wide open space for the kids to enjoy the snow! Even so close to a busy city, the area is screened from the sounds of traffic and other suburban noises. Wildlife are there for the viewing but we were making such a racket, we cut a wide berth between us and any other living creatures.


What We Could Do Without : It was a wintery day, so it automatically lost points with me.


Keep Your Eyes Peeled For : Otter, beaver, muskrat, raccoon, fox, coyotes, deer, turtle, frog, bobolink, osprey, great blue heron, warblers.


Must Know Before You Go’s : Trail is sometimes flooded due to beaver activity. Obviously not an issue in February, but please check with the Audubon office for current trail conditions (413-637-0320)


Directions : From the Mass. Turnpike (Rt I-90): Take exit 2 (Lee). Follow Rt 7 and Rt 20 north for 8 miles to Holmes Road. Turn right onto Holmes Road and proceed 2.7 miles to sanctuary entrance on the right.

From the north and Rt 9: Take Rt 7 and Rt 20 south from Pittsfield to Lenox. Turn left onto Holmes Road at the traffic light and proceed 2.7 miles to the sanctuary entrance on the right. GPS 42.430527, -73.237482


Website: https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/canoe-meadows


Resources : Canoe Meadows Trail Map




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