Where We Went: Margaret Lindley Park – Williamstown, MA 

When We Went: Early May 2020

Difficulty (Boots 1 – 10): 1 Boot

Trail Length: 0.85 miles, Yellow Blazes

How Long it Took Us: 1.5 Hours

Old Aerial View

Overview: Margaret Lindley Park is tucked away in the Southwest corner of Route 7 and Route 2 in Williamstown. Named for longtime area educator Margaret Jones Lindley, the park’s 13.5 acres were purchased and dedicated shortly after her death in 1966. The park features expansive woodlands, picnicking, and a man-made swimming pool that is filled during the warmer months and has historically served as a popular cooling-off spot for residents over the years. Due to Covid-19, the town made the difficult decision to hold off on filling it this year.

Don’t let this dissuade you from exploring the park’s trails and woodlands. Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation has been a steward of these trails since 2011. Follow along the banks of Hemlock Brook, a water source that originates in the Taconic Mountain Range before emptying into the Hoosic River or walk the cool shade of the towering Hemlock Grove. 

 What We Dug: Right from the parking lot, we were struck by the presence of an enormous silver maple tree, it’s red buds visible against the brilliant blue sky. M & V made a bee-line for the retaining columns at the edge of the empty swimming area and in a jiff were sitting proudly at the top. After a cautious descent, they made tracks in what M called, the “giant sandbox.” We found the Hemlock Brook/Torrey Woods Trailhead on the far side of the swimming pond near the edge of the woodlands. From there we followed the blue blazes a little ways until we got to a 4-way intersection.

On our left was a red-blazed trail that we soon discovered led through the Hemlock grove and back to the parking area. Over the bridge to the right is the other half of the Torrey Woods Trail. Because Torrey Woods Trail encompasses the Hemlock Brook Trail and the kids were dead set on playing Pooh Sticks on the bridge, we continued our hike to the right. Following yellow-blazes now, we continued along brookside, making ample use of several opportunities to explore close to the water and throw stones. It was too early for tadpoles, but the kids had fun searching the weeds anyways. Crossing a second footbridge the trail becomes Hemlock Brook Trail again and we raced our sticks a 2nd time. Soon enough, we crossed a third foot bridge and a fourth, finally concluding our Pooh Stick tournament of champions.

Hopping back across the brook via some large stepping stones was a little slippery, V got wet but I’m pretty sure it was intentional lol. A the far bank, keep left to head back to the Park. You’ll see a sign alerting you that you are leaving Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation property and it’s straight on back to the Park. We finished out our adventure by walking the Hemlock Grove trail back to the parking lot and marveling at the sheer size of some of the trees. Some of them are over 100 years old! If you’re looking for a place to let the kids loose and explore, you can’t beat Margaret Lindley Park. 

What We Could Do Without: When we visited in May, we didn’t think too much of the swimming area in regards to the global pandemic. It was too early to swim and Covid still seemed like a temporary inconvenience that would be sorted in no time at all. Cut to August and everything’s still closed, we’re gearing up for remote learning, and our Berkshire bubble is a maze of masked mortals waiting for the other shoe to drop. The only thing I could do without these days is the constant reminder of all the things we took for granted before the pandemic. 

Keep Your Eyes Peeled For: Eastern Hemlock, Silver Maple, Striped Maple, Paper Birch, Carolina Spring-Beauty (spring), Fiddlehead (spring), Mapleleaf Viburnum, Mosses & Lichens, Chipmunk, Tadpoles, Red Efts

Must Know Before You Go’s: Facilities are currently closed to the public. Dogs are OK but must be leashed. Swimming is not available at this time. Always practice carry-in/carry-out and leave no trace principles when visiting nature and the outdoors. Social-distancing guidelines help keep everyone safe & healthy to enjoy the trails. 

DirectionsMargaret Lindley Park, 1201 Cold Spring Rd, Williamstown, MA 01267

From the intersection of Rts. 2 and 7 in Williamstown (the roundabout), take Routes 7 and 2 southwest for 2.3 miles. Turn right into Margaret Lindley Park just after Route 2 leaves Route 7 (2.31 mi.).

Website: Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation

Resources: Margaret Lindley Park Facebook Page