It’s no secret my heart adores North Adams Massachusetts. Like any smaller town, we have our downfalls, but I am so passionate about the good parts of NAMA. I want to use this space as an area to share those awesome parts; it’s important to me to use this space to highlight the best parts of my city.
Whether you’re in North Adams for one of the world renowned bands that are performing at Mass MoCA, visiting the art museum, camping in one of the amazing nearby campgrounds, or dropping someone off at MCLA, you may need something to do with kids for a day. My kids LOVE to hike. I want to share some of my favorite hiking trails with the kids! A reminder to first time visitors, I am usually doing these hikes out with 6 kids, ages 13, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 3 months!
Today we’re going to start with a free one, Tannery Falls, Savoy State Forest!
Tannery Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Savoy, Massachusetts that cascades over 80 feet down at the peek waterfall. Fed by the Ross Brook, this gorgeous area is filled with waterfalls that, while most often shorter than the Tannery’s towering 80 feet, bring a certain woodland exploration kids love. Tannery also happens to be special to me because it’s the place that I was baptized last year.
Before kids, I believed the hardest part of this day trip was the car ride up there. Be advised, it is a treacherous road to get up from either side. If you are driving a low riding car, you may want to consider waiting to do this trip until you have a higher car. The roads can be hard.
The hike down to the bottom of Tannery are pretty easy in my opinion; they can be a little steep at times, but they are mostly wooden stairs that are pretty simple to follow. The entire trail is about 5 miles according to DCR, but I’ve never done the entire walk with kids(and I wasn’t going to today). I usually simply walk to the base of the waterfall and then let the kids explore a little down there.
The descent to the waterfalls base was easy enough. There are certain spots that are filled with roots, so the stepping can be difficult, however I managed to get down while wearing Bear(2 months) and Bug(2 years) held my husbands hand as they made their way down together. Getting back up seemed to be more difficult as the hill is steep in specific places. I wouldn’t consider my husband nor I in the best physical shape, however, and we both made it up. I was a little winded, but we made it!
Down bottom there is a beautiful little pool that the kids can play in, as well as an area to sit and eat. We laid Bear out for a nap(perfect transfer from the wrap to a nap!) and the kids played for about an hour and half in the water and surrounding puddles. The water is cold, though I maintain it will never be as cold as it was when I was baptized last year! It’s only a couple feet deep, at most, though and makes for a wonderful wading pond or a play area for those younger kids.
What did we do right?
Bringing snacks down with us. If you or anyone in your group gets hungry quickly or eats often(or is a child!), it’s smart to bring the snacks or foods down with you. I personally probably would have made it back up to the top to get said snacks and never gone back, because that journey back up the hill is a leg killer!
Going earlier in the day. The walk was hot in general, I can’t imagine if we had done it in the midday heat. I highly recommend doing the walk earlier in the day. It could be a great one to go down and have a picnic lunch by the water.
Picking a nice warm day! The kids loved the water and climbing all over the rocks; if it had been ten degrees cooler, they would have been freezing and miserable though, with how chilly the brook was.
What did we do wrong?
Underestimated the hike back up. It was hard to get up the hill, I won’t lie. We had plans to leave within 20 minutes, since the walk down was so easy, but the walk back up took awhile longer than the hike down. The kids went as fast as they could, of course, but Josh and I struggled a bit. If you aren’t going to spend a bit at the bottom, it may not be worth it.
Underestimating how deep the water would be. My last time up there was my baptism. The water was extremely low at that point. We chose to not have the kids put their bathing suits because we didn’t think the water would be deep enough, but our kids were up to their shoulders at a few points. It worked out well-we just let them swim in their clothes- but bathing suits would be better. I have taken note of that!
Underestimating how much the kids would love it there! Despite their clothing being soaked and lunch time coming, the kids wanted to stay even longer than we were there! They had a blast climbing and splashing, looking for salamanders and throwing rocks. We definitely would have been able to stay there for a few hours.
All in all, I really would recommend this short “abridged” version of the Tannery Falls hike for parents in the Berkshire area, whether you live here or are visiting. It’s a nice trip for a “half day” excursion, including a picnic lunch if you would like.