The Mohawk Trail
- This article is an itinerary.
The Mohawk Trail was historically a Native American migratory game path . Today it is officially known as Massachusetts Route 2, and the actual 63 mile East-West highway extends from the Massachusetts-New York line to Millers Falls on the Connecticut River. The Mohawk Trail provides over one hundred attractions and has been recognized as one of the best scenic routes in the United States.
Like many roads in New England, the trail got its start as a migratory game path originating somewhere west of the Taconic Mountains (in what's now New York state), and it wound eastward through, what would eventually become, Massachusetts. Native Americans --primarily the Mohawks in the west and the Pocumtucks in the Connecticut River Valley to the east-- used the trail in their migrations, and they had long-established treaties regarding hunting and fishing rights along its length. Upon the settlement of the English in the Pocumtuck territory, and the Dutch, who were making inroads into Mohawk lands in the lower Hudson River Valley, political unrest began to develop amongst the two tribes. The Europeans initially hoped that political unrest between the tribes would further their own ends, and they began to manipulate one tribe against the other. Although the Europeans later attempted to arrange a peace conference to settle the differences of the two tribes, eventually a full-scale war broke out, with the Mohawks ultimately gaining the upper hand. Since no one ever names anything after the losers, the path eventually became known as the "Mohawk Trail."
With the end of the Indian Wars and the beginning of the American Revolution, the old trail was gradually rerouted and widened to accommodate wagon traffic between the city of Boston and the interior towns, particularly North Adams.
By the early part of the 20th century people began to appreciate just how beautiful the region encompassing the trail was, so in October of 1914 the Massachusetts State Legislature declared the Mohawk Trail a scenic tourist route. It was during this time that the mountainous, winding stretch of road --especially the section named The Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway-- really began to explode with popularity. Previously, the fastest route from North Adams to Boston was by rail via the 4.5 mile Hoosac Tunnel, which traveled through the Hoosac Mountain --one of the largest mountains that the Mohawk Trail climbs and winds over. But as cars were becoming more affordable in 1914, the thrill and challenge of driving over the Hoosac Mountain, instead of through it, began to draw families from everywhere in the Northeast. Stretching from the 1920's through the 1950's, the road became a travel destination in itself and small shops, campgrounds, and trading posts began to pop up. Today, the excitement and fascination with this stretch of road seems to be surging like never before, and it has drawn enough attention as a vacation spot that the towns and surrounding areas are now referred to as The Mohawk Trail Region. The trail has been recognized by The National Geographic Traveler and The American Automobile Association as being one of the top scenic routes in the United States.
Whether you are someone who lives close by and is looking for a slow relaxing ride by the scenery, or you are looking to spend days exploring the side roads, stopping in different villages and towns, hiking its open public lands, visiting the campgrounds, and exploring some of the numerous other sites and attractions, you should definitely consider experiencing the Mohawk Trail.
If you plan on venturing out on the Mohawk Trail on a motorcycle, keep in mind that helmet laws vary from state to state. Depending on where you are traveling from, there may be no helmet law in your state. Even if you usually don't wear a helmet, it is a good idea to bring one with you and check with the state laws when crossing borders. If you intend on bringing a passenger along with you, your passenger must be wearing a helmet at all times. Only motorcyclists who have held their license for over 1 year may have a passenger on the back of their bike in the state of Massachusetts.
Western route to the middle of The Mohawk Trail
- From Boston via Springfield, Massachusetts I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take I-91 North
- From I-91 North take Exit 26 in Greenfield, Massachusetts and Route 2 East or West.
Western route to the western section of The Mohawk Trail
- From I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take Exit 2, North on US 20/7 to Route 2
Northern route to the eastern section of The Mohawk Trail
- From Boston. I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take Exit 11A I-495 North
- From I-495 North take Exit 40, Route 2 West.
From New York Metro Area:
To the western section of The Mohawk Trail
- Take I-95 North to I-91 North
- Get off on I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) to Exit 2, North on US 20/7 to Route 2
To the middle of The Mohawk Trail
- Take I-95 North to I-91 North
- From I-91 North take Exit 26 in Greenfield, Massachusetts and Route 2 East or West.
Northwestern scenic route to the western section of The Mohawk Trail
- Take the Taconic Parkway North to Route 295 East.
- From 295 East take Route 22 North to US Route 20 East.
- Take Route 20 to US Route 7 North and follow to Route 2 East.
- Mohawk Trail State Forest, 175 Mohawk Trail/Rte. 2, Charlemont, Ma. 01339, ☎ (413)339-5504. This forest consists of over 6,000 acres of mountainous terrain, and miles of rivers and streams. Some of the activities consist of canoeing, fishing, hiking, walking trails, swimming, and scenic viewing areas. The forest is open everyday, year-round from sunrise until sunset. From May until the middle of October only, there is a $5 fee per vehicle. Parking is always free for Parks Pass holders, handicapped, disabled veteran plates, and seniors 62+ with a Massachusetts Senior Pass. With 56 wooded camp grounds and 6 overnight log cabins you can also choose to stick around for a while. The camping season is generally from mid-April through mid-October, but the cabins are available year-round, and off-season camping is available as well.
- The Bridge of Flowers, Bridge St. Shelburne Falls,MA 01370 (The bridge is just off of the Mohawk Trail. The easiest way to get there is to travel west from Greenfield on the Mohawk Trail/Route 2. About 12 miles after Greenfield, keep your eyes out for a sign for Route 2A West toward Shelburne Falls and Buckland and the turn is near the Sweetheart restaurant. Then another quick left following 2A west brings you to Bridge Street, and just follow it up to the business district.), ☎ (413)625-2544. Originally built in 1908 for trolleys to cross the Deerfield River, this 400-foot, 5 arch, concrete bridge is now one of the most unique attractions in the Mohawk Trail Region. The Shelburne Falls Fire Department bought the bridge in 1929 when the trolley service ended, and a fundraiser was launched to turn the bridge into a garden pathway. The popularity of the attraction led to a $500,000 renovation of the bridge in 1983 to ensure that the historic structure would survive a long future. Today the bridge is open from early spring through late fall, and over 20,000 people walk across the bridge each year. Over 500 different types of perennial and annual flowers are planted continuously throughout the season by a paid gardener and volunteers, in order to guarantee constant blossoming. There is no fee for you to walk across the bridge, but there are donation boxes at both ends of the bridge, which help to pay for nearly 80 percent of the annual maintenance fees and operating budget.
- The Mohawk Trail Scenic Loop - The Mohawk Trail has recently drawn the attention of people who enjoy riding motorcycles. The scenic route has been described by riders in the area as one of the most enjoyable paths in the north east. Climb 3,491 feet to the top of the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. Then descend down the mountain to find a hairpin turn, winding you up the Hoosac Mountain. Your journey up the Hoosac Mountain will provide you with views over several mountain ranges, a look down upon four states, and the view right down into the Hoosac Valley. Coming down the backside of this mountain you will be winding along side the Deerfield River, through the Berkshire foothills, and across the Mohawk Trail State Forest. Then tail off onto Route 2A East, and hop on 112. Whether you are looking for a relaxing ride to take in the scenery, or you are seeking a thrill ride through winding roads and hills, the average 325-350 mile journey on The Mohawk Trail Scenic Loop is a must for motorcycle enthusiasts of all ages.
- The Sand Springs Pool, 158 Sand Springs Rd, Williamstown, MA 01267 (off Route 7 and near Route 2 in Williamstown, MA.), ☎ (413)458-5205, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you decide to wander off the trail a little bit into the Berkshire County, you might want to visit the Sand Spring Pools. It is a spa and fitness center, and the main attraction is the 74 degree Olympic sized pool that is filled with pure thermal mineral water, which surfaces from deep within the earth and is directed into the pool.
- The 1761 Old Mill Restaurant, Cracker Barrel, Pub, and Country Store, 69 State Rd. East/Route 2A Westminster, MA 01473 (It's off the Mohawk Trail on Route 2A between Fitchburg and Gardner, MA), ☎ (978)874-5941, fax: (978)874-0914. Restaurant is open on Tuesday-Thursday from 11:30-9:15 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 11:30-9:45 p.m., and Sunday from 10-8 p.m.. Once you walk into this restaurant, you can almost feel the history wash over you. The Old Mill was originally a sawmill in the 1800's that produced the logs from the homes that were being built in the surrounding neighborhoods. It has been a family run restaurant since 1946. The menu gives you a wide selection from burgers and sandwiches, to seafood (such as the Fresh Atlantic Haddock), to prime rib, to Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, all the way to Roast Country Duck. The food is a little expensive with the average meals ranging from an average or $15-25, but the service is pretty good and it has a real cozy atmosphere.
- The Golden Eagle Restaurant and Lounge, 1935 Mohawk Trail, Clarksburg, MA 01247, ☎ (413)663-9834, e-mail: email@example.com. Open: Mother's Day to July 1st Monday - Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9 p.m. July 1st to Labor Day Open 12 noon everyday Fall Hours (From Last Week of September through first week of November) 12 noon to 9 p.m .Everyday Winter Hours 2nd week of November to Mother's Day Friday & Saturday 4:00 to 9 p.m. Sunday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Separated into two dining areas. Downstairs is more of a casual stop in to grab a bite to eat lounge experience, and upstairs is the scenic dining room. In the spring, summer, and fall you also have the option to sit outside on the restaurant's upstairs veranda. The view overlooks downtown North Adams, the Green Mountains in Vermont, Stamford Lake, VT., Windsor Lake, VT., Mount Greylock, the Taconic Range in New York, and the Hoosac Valley. The food is what you would normally expect from a place like this: burgers, sandwiches, salads, seafood, surf 'n turf, steak, chicken, pasta. The items on the lunch menu range from $5-10, and the dinner menu ranges from as low as $12 to as high as around $25 but most meals fall around the $15 mark. The size of the servings are definitely worth your money though.
- The Charlemont Inn, 107 Main Street , Route 2 - Mohawk Trail, Charlemont, MA 01339, ☎ (413)339-5391, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Country Aire Campground, 1753 Route 2 - Mohawk Trail, Charlemont, MA 01339, ☎ (413)625-2996, e-mail: email@example.com.