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Hike to the top of Pony Mountain, then cool off with a summertime dip in the chilly waters of the brook’s picture-perfect pools and falls.
What makes Chapel Brook a special place?
We think it’s the rugged beauty of the landscape, like much of the Highlands a blend of steep and deep forests, sensational summit views, and streams that surge and trickle with the seasons. The brook is tranquil – except when spectacular Chapel Falls are in full roar! – and rugged Pony Mountain has a kick.
Although Pony Mountain is only 1,420 feet high, the hike to the top is exhilarating. The Summit Trail rises to meet the abrupt, vertical, 100-foot rock face of Chapel Ledge (which attracts experienced rock climbers). You’ll want to be in good shape to tackle this trail. A less-daunting, half-mile trail leads around the western side of Pony Mountain to its summit.
But, however you reach the top, the panoramic views of the Highlands and the foothills of the Berkshires, are well worth the exertion!
You can traverse the lower slopes on the D.A.R. Trail, a footpath built in partnership with the Ashfield Trails Committee that will connect to a town-wide network of walking trails. The trail currently takes you above Chapel Brook, past old foundations, along a ridgeline, and through an historic sheep pasture.
The reservation is renowned for its seasonally-torrential Chapel Falls. Just below Pony Mountain, Chapel Brook, a tributary of the South River, flows serenely through most of its journey across the property. But at Chapel Falls, a series of steep ledges, it turns wild and unruly in times of high water. The same forces that have carved the falls have formed pools and chutes where the water rushes and splashes before reverting to its quieter personality. Come summer, these pools offer a cool, welcome dip.
Two miles of trails. A half-mile trail climbs to the top of Pony Mountain. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places.
When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours to explore onsite, and more like 3 hours if hiking the D.A.R. Trail or the Two Bridges Trail.