Savoy Mountain State Forest is located in the northern part of western Massachusetts.
From the west: Follow Rte. 2 east to the town of Florida. Turn right onto Central Shaft Rd. Follow the signs to the park entrance on the right.
There is a wealth of outdoor recreational resources located along Route 2 (The Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway) in the northern Berkshires. A system of State Forests, Parks and Wildlife Management Areas, totaling 36,000 acres and hundreds of miles of multi-use trails are available for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross country skiing and other activities.
Amongst them, Savoy Mountain State Forest, tucked into a remote northwest corner of the Berkshires, is the place for a "High Altitude" mountain biking adventure! Located atop the Hoosac Mountain Range, an extension of Vermont's Green Mountains, the forest is comprised of 4 ponds and no less than 7 hills and mountain summits. The most notable being Borden Mountain (formerly known as Savoy Mountain), which rises to a height of 2,500 feet above sea level. Topped by a fire tower, it has lovely views (especially during the fall foliage season) from the summit in all directions. The varied Savoy mountain habitat is great for those seeking a remote backwoods wilderness adventure in Massachussets. It is also home to black bear, fish, beaver and a variety of birds including warblers, thrushes, hawks, kingfishers and owls. Porcupines can also be seen on occasion.
During the summer, interpretive programs including guided hikes, natural and cultural history walks, slideshows, exhibits and more are offered at the Forest Interpretive Center. Miles of wooded trails provide year-round recreational activities and access to some unusual and spectacular natural features such as Bog Pond, Spruce Hill, Tannery Falls and Balanced Rock (more detail below in Trail Highlights).
Facilities include: 45 site camppground located in an old apple orchard (mid-May to mid-October). Flush toilets and showers are available. Four stone cabins with chimneys overlook South Pond. The cabins were built by the CCC and are available for year round rental. A day-use facility at spring-fed North Pond features a sand beach, picnicking, fishing and unguarded swimming. Campers can also swim and fish at South Pond.
Savoy Mountain has it's place in mountain biking history. On September 8-9, 2001, The Massachusetts IMBA Epic Celebration Ride, which stretched from one end of the forest to the other, took place here.
Almost all the trails and roads in the Savoy Mountain State Forest are open to mountain bikes. Over 30+ miles of wooded trails provide mountain biking on a mix of mostly maintained rolling dirt roads, rugged four-wheel trails and some singletrack with accompanying hairpin turns, roots, rocks, rubble and mud bogs. There are lots of trail access points, options and ride configurations you can do, depending on your abilities.
The forest is typical of the hemlock/northern hardwood forests of Vermont. Balsam, fir, maple, birch and red spruce are some of the trees and shrubs found here. Ferns edge the trails and spread over the forest floor. It's really pretty when the pink azaelas (mid-June) and mountain laurel (early July) bloom.
Note: The riding conditions are pretty good most of the year. Some winter biking is possible on hard-packed snow, if you and your bike are adequately prepared for it. Remember this a remote area. Do not take anything for granted in the wilderness. We can't stress this fact enough. There have been times when we said "oh what can possibly happen?", and we found ourselves in life-threatening situations. We consider ourselves lucky to be here to tell you this.
During mud season or wet weather conditions, stay off the trails in order to prevent erosion and trail damage. In 2005, state officials banned motorized off-road vehicles from Savoy Mountain State Forest citing trail, environmental damage and public safety concerns.
Before riding, stop in at the Ranger's Station to pick up a detailed map and get the low-down on current trail conditions. It's also not a bad idea to let the Rangers know you're around.
Trail highlights include:
A good place to begin is from the large parking area on Burnett Road, which you can get to via Florida Road. From here, there are several loop options that can be made using a combination of several trails and jeep roads (Tannery Road, Lewis Trail, Balance Rock Trail, Tannery Trail, Fire Tower Trail) that will lead to some fantastic natural features.
There are 2 "Balanced Rocks": A series of steep, switchbacks lead up to the "Balance Rock" near Tannery Road and the other is located off the easier "Loop Trail" at South Pond. Huge boulders were left spectacularly "balanced" on small protusions, when the glaciers that once covered this area, retreated over 10,000 years ago.
Bordern Mountain Fire Tower: It's a climb, but you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views, especially during fall foliage season. On a clear day, you can see four states (Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire).
Tannery Falls: Take the time to visit. Can be accessed from Tannery Road. A hiking trail (no biking) leads to Tannery Falls where Ross Brook cuts through a deep gorge, to cascade over several ledges to a pool below.
In the early 19th century, farmers began to settle in the remote towns of Savoy and Florida. As farming grew more popular in New England, the need for adequate fencing also increased. The period from 1775 - 1825, were known a sthe "Golden Age Of Stone Wall Building". Savoy Mountain State Forest was created in 1918 with the purchase of 1,000 acres of the now abandoned farmland. Today, apple trees interspersed throughout the campground and the stonewalls you see throughout the forest, are some reminders of the once vibrant farming history of the area.
In 1851 began the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel, one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. The tunnel was dug 4.75 miles through Hoosac Mountain, linking Massachusetts to Albany, NY. 200 men lost their lives building the tunnel, which is still being used today.
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