No Leaf Unturned: Drive 1

Stay tuned to the RCI blog for all four drives that show off the best views of Berkshires fall foliage.

Leaves are not the only autumn attraction in the Berkshires, of course. Hiking trails and highways follow routes first walked by Native Americans. Towns look, not coincidentally, as if they were the settings for paintings by Norman Rockwell . And travelers find sustenance at the tables of some of the most elegant country inns in America. Yet trumping all the man-made entertainments is the beauty of the landscape, a rolling terrain of wooded hills and valleys ablaze with vivid shades of yellow, orange, red and brown.

Regular visitors to the Berkshires, which are only a few hours’ drive from either Boston or New York City, will already have their favorite highways and backroads. But for first-timers we’ve mapped out four routes that show off many of the area’s natural attractions.

Drive 1; Distance 47 miles

Great Barrington — South Egremont — Bash Bish Falls — New York Rte. 22 North — West Stockbridge

Bash Bish Falls, in the extreme southwest corner of Massachusetts, is the state’s highest waterfall, and the walk to it is a leaf-carpeted stroll. But the real point of this loop is to witness the contrast between Berkshires past and present. A hundred years ago, much of the forest here was farmland, which regenerated itself as farmers either went to work in the nearby factories (now themselves abandoned) or moved to the Midwest, which has more easily tilled soil. You can see how sharp the contrast is during the drive north on Route 22, in New York State, through open farm country, the Berkshires visible just to the east.

Route: From Great Barrington, 4 mi. on Rte. 41 S to Mt. Washington Rd., on right, just past split with Rte. 23. Follow signs 10 mi. to trailhead at Bash Bish Falls. From Bash Bish Falls, Rte. 344 2 mi. west to Rte. 22 N, in Copake Falls, NY; 18 mi. to Rte. 102 E; 3 mi. on Rte. 102 E to Rte. 41 S; 10 mi. to Great Barrington.


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