Outdoor Activities in the Berkshire Mountains
The Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts offer a long list of outdoor and adventure activities for visitors. The natural beauty and varied terrain of the Berkshires is well-suited to a range of activities that will immerse you in the wilderness. Some activities provide tranquil views and remote quiet while others provide big thrills and adrenaline rushing excitement.
On the quieter side the Berkshires features many short hikes with great views and waterfalls. Sections of the Appalachian Trail are popular day hikes, including trails on Mount Greylock, Massachusetts highest peak. Also on the more relaxing side visitors can enjoy fishing in many local rivers, most of which are part of the state trout stocking program. The Deerfield River is a very popular fishery with support from the State and from the local Trout Unlimited Chapter.
If you want to combine the serene with the thrilling, try a hot air balloon ride over the forests and farmlands of the Berkshires. No better way to view the spectacular fall foliage than floating over it to see the collage of colors. Horseback riding and biking are two activities that will combine some peace and quiet with some exercise and fun. Rail trails are available for biking and several local farms open their doors for guided horseback rides.
Thrill seekers visiting the Berkshires have several options to get the adrenaline pumping and make some lasting memories in a challenging setting. New to the area are several aerial adventure parks which feature challenging obstacle courses 10-40 feet off the ground. Participants are harnessed with safety gear as they try to navigate through brain and body challenging obstacles. Zipline and canopy tour courses have also popped up in the Berkshires.
Zip lining through the dense forests of the Berkshires is a great way to immerse your fun in the local environs.
The biggest thrill ride in the Berkshires comes from whitewater rafting on the Deerfield River. Scheduled dam releases from two hydroelectric dams guarantee great river flows all summer on different levels of whitewater. Several licensed outfitters offer tours on the river.
Family owned and operated Crab Apple Whitewater was the first rafting company on the Deerfield River. Three generations of river runners have offered trips since 1989. Whitewater trips include guided rafting trips and self-guided “funyak” (inflatable kayak) trips.
“Funyak” trips at Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting leave daily in the afternoon. Paddlers receive instruction, shuttle to the launch point and float through eight miles of mild Class 1 and 2 rapids on their way back to their vehicles at the Crab Apple base camp alongside the Deerfield River.
Guided rafting trips at Crab Apple Whitewater are offered in three levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Beginner trips are half-day on small Class 1 and 2 rapids for families with kids as young as 5. The intermediate whitewater rafting trip at Crab Apple is the most popular trip and is enjoyed by kids 8 and up with their families, youth groups and many first time rafters.
Wild rafting at Crab Apple is on the upper, Class 3 and 4 section of the river. On this whitewater rafting trip guests plunge through big waves, large drops and are constantly soaked by the river. All guided rafting trips include delicious food and are guided by friendly professionals and ownership family members that genuinely love what they do.