Where We Went : Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary / Lenox, MA
When We Went : End of June
Difficulty (Boots 1 – 10) : 1 Boot
Trail Length : 7 miles of trails
(All Persons Trail: 0.3 miles)
How Long it Took Us : 2.5 Hours
Overview : Gee whiz, Wally!
Established in 1929 by the Lenox Garden Club, the sanctuary celebrated it’s 90th (!) year this season. The evolution and development that this property has experienced over the last 9 decades is full of inspiring stories of individual stewardship and organized benevolence. Collaborative efforts of 90 years (crazy, right!?) of hard work created a space where nature preservation and environmental education can walk hand in hand.
Many who think of Pleasant Valley do so because of the beavers. One of the more interesting stories is the re-introduction of these animals and the creation of the habitat that we see when we visit today. In October of 1932, Warden Stuyvesant Morris Pell (
Pell, passing at age 38, would never see the full impact of his role in enriching this area. He requested small hemlock trees to adorn his funeral. If you walk the sensory trail around Pike’s Pond, take a moment of gratitude in the hemlock grove for Warden Pell. For a man who thought his education was lacking; much like a beaver transforms their surroundings, he surely left an indelible mark.
Passing into the hands of Mass Audubon in 1950, Pleasant Valley continues to be a driving force in land preservation, environmental education and ecological innovation.
What We Dug : We visited Pleasant Valley at the end of June, as celebrations for their 90th birthday were underway and the mountain laurel was really putting on a show! Bursts of the fragrant pink & white stars were blossoming everywhere, making our adventure one to remember.
We hiked the
The boardwalks and bridges are abundant, letting the kids get up close and personal with the water and multiflora around it. Every viewing platform was an opportunity to relax and drink in the sunshine, and also feed the insatiable horde we brought along with us. At the end of our trek, Mother Nature graced us with a warm summer rain shower.
Don’t miss the Hummingbird Garden at the beginning of the All Persons Trail or the Nature Play Area at the end of the trail!
What We Could Do Without : Pleasant Valley is a widely popular nature preserve. This is not the hike if you’re looking for low traffic, especially in the summer/fall months.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled For: BEAVERS, catfish, frogs,
Must Know Before You Go’s : Free for Audubon Members & Lenox Residents, Fee for Non-Members, Facilities include a Nature Center (check website for hours), Restrooms, Universally Accessible Trail, and picnic area – trail materials available in large print, Braille, audio, and tactile formats. Borrow hands-free binoculars, audio players, field guides and walking canes at the main office during open hours.
Directions : From the Mass. Turnpike (Rt I-90): Take exit 2 (Lee) and follow Rt 20 west for 6.6 miles (Rt 20 merges with Rt 7). Turn left onto W Dugway Road and the sanctuary is 1.6 miles ahead on the right. GPS 42.382587, -73.298968
From the North: Take Rt 7 and Rt 20 south from Park Square in the center of Pittsfield for 4.9 miles. Turn right onto West Dugway Road and the sanctuary is 1.6 miles ahead on the right.
Scroll through for more photos of our Pleasant Valley adventure!