A windy country road passing straight through the town of Ashfield, MA brought us to this beautiful hidden gem tuck away in the foothills of the Berkshires. We were pleasantly surprised to have gotten here at the right time for a Saturday morning Farmers Market offering a wide variety of handmade food, baking goods and crafts of all kinds. There was a band of young family musicians playing lovely folk songs for the joy of everyone and kids were running happily around dancing to the tunes and drawing all sorts of lovely creations turning the grey grounds into a colorful canvas.
We took a minute browsing around with a hot fresh brewed coffee and homemade blueberry scones in hand while our little one was crunching on a delicious chocolate chip cookie before heading back to the car and to our intended destination.
Chapel Brook Falls is a little known spot right on Williamsburg Road pass the idyllic small town of Ashfield, MA. It consists of a beautiful set of small waterfalls in a secluded but easily accessible area if you take the road to the right and a hike to spectacular views on the top of Pony Mountain taking the Ledge trail on the other side of the road.
The trail to Chapel Brook Falls is relatively easy and short. Right as we parked the car to the side of the road we “climbed” uphill for about 5 minutes to a wooden bench where we took a short break (little man wanted a sip of water), before going straight downhill mostly walking by the side of the stream before reaching the first of the few beautiful sets of waterfalls that cascade into pools that are deep enough to swim in.
We found ourselves in an absolute tranquil state surrounded by the blend of steep and deep forests and the soothing sound of the waterfalls. The sun was peaking through the leaves of the massive green trees and lighting up the falls with summer colors. The water felt nice and refreshing and we couldn’t wait to dip our toes in it. The rocks makes for a great slide to splash down into the water and despite than none of the falls are more than 20-30 feet high the pool that the running water creates is surprisingly deep enough for a nice refreshing swim.
Come here in the summer and you’ve found yourself a swimming hole most likely to enjoy all by yourself. We only encountered one couple that was leisurely sunbathing during the whole time we were here so I’m pretty sure you won’t have to fight crowds at this spot. Each of the falls had it’s own style and character and each had something different to offer.
We swam in the first one, let our little one splash by the other while we were catching up and had a picnic on a fallen tree log by the other one while listening to nothing other than the sound of the singing birds and of course the casual shrieks from our toddler.
We were pretty tired by the end of the day and didn’t attempt any of the other hiking trails available here, but if you are in the area and have more time to spare we highly recommend checking out the Bullit Reservation, taking a hike to DAR, or up to the summit of Pony Mountain to see the panoramic views of the Highlands and the foothills of the Berkshires.
The hike to the top of the mountain is exhilarating. And although it is only 1,420 feet high we suggest you only attempt to do it if you are an experienced hiker, in good shape to tackle this trail, have plenty of water and good footwear. It’a about half a mile of moderate hiking, strenuous at places to the top of Pony Mountain, but well worth the exertion.
The trails are open daily, year-round from sunrise to sunset. Allow yourself a minimum of an hour and a half to explore onsite and about 3 hours if you set on hiking the D.A.R. Trail or the Two Bridges Trail.