Topping out at a meager 846 feet, it might be easy to overlook the tiny Pocumtuck Range in western Massachusetts. But that would be a mistake, especially if you love gorgeous vistas and miles of fun, challenging trails.
The Pocumtuck Range is tucked between the Connecticut River and Deerfield River valleys. Surrounded by farmland and rolling hills, the region is one of the most beautiful places in New England. Along the top of the range is the roughly 15-mile Pocumtuck Ridge Trail, which runs from South Sugarloaf Mountain in Deerfield north to Poet’s Seat Tower and Rocky Mountain in Greenfield. The trail follows a ridge-top route for most of the way, and the area is known for its continuous high cliffs that look down upon amazing scenery.
Paul Bissex, a local hiker, publishes Pocumtuck.org, a website with trail information about the Pocumtuck Range. Despite the lack of big elevation, he says the trail can be challenging with a fair amount of ups and downs.
“Terrain is quite technical in many of the steep places,” says Bissex. “The rocks are sharp and the roots are numerous.”
He says the longest section without major elevation changes is the Deerfield Ridge, which features a section of smooth fire road.
Bissex’s website breaks the trail into nine sections, with trail information on each one.
He cautions that the trail can become hard to follow where it transitions from Section 2 to 3, as it seems to fade into someone’s yard. Make sure to follow the blue trail blazes. He also says someone posted some hostile signage along Section 3, but he believes it’s someone angry at motorized vehicles. He doesn’t know a hiker or runner who has experienced any problems on this section.
He also cautions that runners need to pay attention to an area of Section 6, where the trail was disrupted. He says a large clearcut on the north side of Keets Road a few years ago damaged the southern portion of the trail in that section. An alternative trail has been blazed, meeting Keets Road about a quarter mile up from the powerline cut. He says access at the northern end of the section remains “awkward.”
For information on the Pocumtuck Ridge Trail, visit www.pocumtuck.org.