Straddling the Massachusetts/Vermont border, this inviting mix of forest and field, wetland and wildflower meadow, draws both novice hikers and serious naturalists.
What makes Mountain Meadow Preserve a special place?
We think it’s the scenic trail from Massachusetts to Vermont – just a mile to the Green Mountain State! – along which you can gaze across a serene meadow, peek through a forested ridge, and enjoy mountain vistas. Follow the property’s four miles of trails and gather your own special memories: of watching a butterfly light on a wildflower or catching the cry of a red-tailed hawk as it soars overhead.
This preserve of multiple natural habitats and rich ecological values is home to bears, coyotes, bobcats, fox, and deer as well as wetland amphibians and numerous small mammals and reptiles. The meadow’s mix of flowers and grasses, including aster, little bluestem, and fringed gentian, attracts a variety of butterflies. The Trustees maintain the field to keep it from reverting to forest and to nurture habitat for such species as Monarch butterflies, bluebirds, and goldenrod.
Although modest in size, the 180-acre reservation rises in elevation from 690 feet at the Williamstown parking lot to more than 1,100 feet across much of the preserve’s Vermont landscape. From the broad meadow a few hundred yards beyond the parking lot, enjoy a view of the Hoosac Valley that includes both Williamstown church spires and Mount Greylock. Climb a half-mile loop trail to a hilltop, from where you can also continue your hike into the Pownal, Vermont side of the reservation. If you prefer your vistas without the uphill walk, enter the reservation from the Pownal parking lot. Meander along a network of flat trails to a woods road leading to a scenic overlook at the ruins of Mausert’s Camp, a rustic family getaway that burned down in the 1970s.
Four miles of easy-to-moderate hiking on woods roads and footpaths.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.
Mason Street, Williamstown, MA 01267
Benedict Road, Pownal, VT 05261
Get directions on Google Maps.
Williamstown, MA parking area: From the intersection of Rts. 2 and 7 in Williamstown, take Rt. 7 north for 1.7 mi. Bear right onto Mason St. (steep dirt road uphill) and follow to entrance and parking (10 cars).
Pownal, VT parking area: From the intersection of Rts. 2 and 7 in Williamstown, follow Rt. 7 north 1.7 mi., turn right onto Sand Spring Rd., then bear right onto Bridges Rd. Follow for 0.3 mi., turn left onto White Oaks Rd., and follow for 1.1 mi. when road becomes dirt. Continue for 0.4 mi., bear left at fork onto Benedict Rd., and continue 0.1 mi. to entrance and parking (8 cars) on left.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of one hour.
Free to all
It is assumed that Native Americans, while making use of hot springs in the area, were at one time dependent on what is now Mountain Meadow Preserve for hunting, migration, and living space. Due in part to its remote, mountainous location and regional violence related to the French and Indian War (1754–63) this corner of the state was not settled by colonists until relatively late – the mid- to latter part of the 1700s.
The lower slopes were cleared for farming while land higher up was reserved for timber operations. Agriculture was a primary land use for more than 200 years. In the mid-1900s, a gravel mine also operated here.
Victorian-era botanist Grace Greylock Niles (who adopted as her middle name that of Massachusetts’ highest peak) made her home within this ruggedly beautiful environment and spent years wandering the wetlands and forests of this area. Her 1904 book, Bog Trotting for Orchids, enhanced interest in the unique plant life and landforms found here in the Hoosac Valley.
Property Acquisition History
Gift of Pamela B. Weatherbee in 1998, with endowment. Additional lands were purchased in 2000.
Natural history walks and an annual tribute to Victorian-era botanist Grace Greylock Niles, a native of this region, are among the reservation’s programs. Search our events calendar for more programs and activities at Mountain Meadow Preserve and other Berkshires reservations.
A printed trail map is available for free at the bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies somestimes run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.
Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.
Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Before Setting Out
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
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No advisories at this time.
Jul 1 – Conde Nast Traveler