On Falls Trail in Massachusetts

What to Do & Where to Do It

Bike the Holyoke Range

Over 45 miles of hiking trails and bridle paths take you through the woods and up the hills of the Holyoke range, for excellent views of the surrounding countryside. These routes run over both state parkland and private land to which public access has been granted, providing mountain bikers with one of the most extensive and challenging trail systems in eastern Massachusetts.

Route: From I-91, take exit 19 onto Rt. 9 East. Follow Rt. 9 East to Rt. 116 South. Follow Rt. 116 South for 5.0 miles from the point it splits off from Rt. 9, then turn left at the sign for the Holyoke Range State Park Notch visitor center into the parking lot.
Early to mid October

Drive and hike Mt. Greylock

Drive all the way to the summit of Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, and hike the 50 miles of surrounding trails through old-growth spruce and colorful hardwood forests, including a section of the Appalachian Trail.

Access: In North Adams, at the junction of Rt 2 and Rt 8, go west on Rt. 2 for 1.1 miles. Turn south onto Notch Road at the sign. After 1.2 miles, turn left, staying on Notch Road. Drive 7 miles to the summit.
Peak color: Early to mid October

Hike the Berkshires

Hike in the brilliantly colored hardwoods of Beartown State Forest, one of state's largest forests, or climb to the wide-open views of the precipitous Mount Race-Mount Everett ridge. Whether you've got a long weekend or just an afternoon, a hike in the rolling Berkshires can get you away from the everyday.

Peak color: Early to mid October
More about Hiking the Berkshire Hills

Drive the Mohawk Trail

The 65-mile Mohawk Trail is one of the state's most popular foliage routes. Up-country color-viewing destinations include: the Whitcomb Summit; the hairpin turn before North Adams; the 10-mile drive to the summit of Mt.Greylock; the French King Bridge, Millers Falls; the Bissell Covered Bridge, Charlemont; and the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls.

Route: Take Rt. 2 from Orange to North Adams
Peak color: Early to mid October
More about the Mohawk Trail

Paddle the Concord River

Paddle in the strokes of Henry Thoreau, who took a rowboat down this river in 1839. This is a great 10-mile canoe trip in the autumn, after the summer crowds have cleared. Bright leaves and waterfowl share the waterway with you, and you pass beneath a reconstruction of the Old North Bridge, Longfellow's "rude bridge that arched the flood," where the first shot of the American Revolution was fired.

Route: You'll need two cars: leave one near the bridge over the Concord River at Rt. 3A, north of Billerica. Then drive south 5 miles to Rt. 62, turn right, and continue 10 miles Concord. By the Colonial Inn, turn right onto Lowell Road. The river is just beyond the village. Before the bridge, take a left into the river-access lane.
Peak color: Mid to late October
More about Paddling the Concord River

Drive to the cranberry bogs of North Carver

This scenic day-trip will take you to North Carver in the southeast, where you'll see russet-toned cranberry bogs flooded with pools of crimson berries as the harvest gets underway. Maples, oaks, beeches, and other hardwoods line the small-town streets.

Route: From Rt. 128 south of Boston, head south on pick up Rt. 24, then take Rt. 104 to Bridgewater. Continue on Rt. 104, then Rt. 106 to Halifax. Rt. 58 South to North Carver. Continue south on Rt. 58 to Rt. 28 East to Rt. 6 West and the picturesque towns of Wareham, Rochester, Marion, and Mattapoisett.
Peak color: Mid to late October

Drive the apple-country back roads

This less-traveled route, through the orchards and farmlands of central Massachusetts, will take you on a leisurely drive to the Quabbin Reservoir. At Wachusett Mountain Reservation, you can drive or hike to the summit for a sweeping view of the countryside, and drive on to Willard Brook State Forest.

Access:From Rt. 128, follow Rt. 117 to Stow, then Rt. 62 south and west to Princeton. Turn north on the unnumbered route to Wachusett Mountain Reservation. Return to Rt. 62 and head west to Barre, then south on Rt. 32 to Old Furnace. Follow the unnumbered road west to Hardwick. Turn north on Rt. 32A, which runs along the Quabbin Reservoir to Petersham. At Petersham follow Rt. 101 East through Templeton, Gardner and the Ashburnhams to the junction with Rt. 119. Head east on Rt. 119 through the Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby and Townsend.
Peak color: Early to mid October

Bike the Cape Cod National Seashore

Explore Nickerson State Park and the National Seashore, pedalling past ponds and marshland, through woods and colorful cranberry bogs, via a bike path from Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham. The Nauset Bike Trail, which runs on a boardwalk across Nauset marsh for 1.6 miles each way, makes an excellent side-trip. The 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail, which crisscrosses the elbow of the Cape from Dennis to Wellfleet, intersects here too.

Parking and access: Cape Cod National Seashire, Salt Pond Vistors Center, Eastham; Other access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail: from Rte. 134, South Dennis; off Rte. 6, Exit 10, Harwich; Rte. 137, Brewster; National Seashore, Wellfleet; LeCount Hollow Rd., Wellfleet.
Peak color: Mid to late October
More about The Cape Cod National Seashore

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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