A COOL TREK THROUGH ANCIENT ROCKS
Tucked away behind the old train station in Stockbridge, MA is a natural treasure known as Ice Glen. There are very few signs pointing the way towards this trail; most people would drive right past not knowing what they’re missing. But finding it is well worth the effort – it’s a beautiful vestige of wilderness from prehistoric times.
Located within one of New England’s rare old-growth forests, one gets the sense of stepping back in time upon entering the preserve. The trail begins in a very unassuming spot – park your car at the end of Park St., head over the wooden bridge and across the train tracks. At that point, you’ll see the trail head into the woods, and you’d think you were just going for a hike on a regular old forest trail. But go a little further and you’ll be presented with giant glacial rocks lining the bottom of a small valley. The tress are dense, and very little sunlight gets in – you’ll feel the air get cooler just getting near the rocks. The rocks themselves act a little like ice cubes, keeping the air in the glen a good 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the region, making this a perfect hike for summertime.
Be aware that the trail itself is challenging – it will require careful steps and close attention to footing – there are indeed gaps in the rocks and you’ll at times need to hold on to them as you climb between them. Bringing small children is not recommended, and any young people who go should be closely watched. Those precautions aside, the trek is definitely worth making – the sense of climbing through a space with great natural stones that have essentially gone unchanged for tens of thousands of years is quite compelling. For the bold, it is possible to step off the “trail” between the rocks and climb up on top of them for a better view, but do so at your own risk!
Highly recommended for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, it’s a trip not easily forgotten that you’ll be sure to recommend to your friends.
Ice Glen can be accessed from two ends – Park St., as mentioned above, and Ice Glen Rd, a little further south on Route 7. I recommend going via Park St. – it’s easier parking and you’ll arrive at the rocks sooner than the trek from the other end. The trip through the rocks themselves takes about 20-30 minutes, but it’s best to simply turn around at the end and experience them from the other direction! That way, you’ll wind up right back at your car.
Park St. is off Route 7 in Stockbridge, at the corner with the Mobil station on one side and the Railroad station & skateboard park on the other. Coming from the Yankee Inn, you’ll be making a right onto Main St./Route 102, and then making a left onto Route 7 South. A couple hundred yards beyond that you’ll see the Mobil station on the left, make a left onto Park St., head to the end, and your journey begins!