Stockbridge Massachusetts is a great place to park and walk. This walk starts at the town hall (where you can park). The trail head is hidden at the rear of the parking lot. The trail is maintained by the nation's oldest village improvement society, The Laurel Hill Association is (founded in 1853). After a few hundred yards, you come to a grove with a rostrum. At the far end of the grove the path continues along the slope of Laural Hill and eventually comes to the trail head parking lot on Park Street. Space is limited here, and imo far better parking behind the town hall.
The trail is well marked and there is a magnificent suspension bridge over the Housatonic River. After about 1/2 mile the trail divides with the left fork going to the Ice Glen and the left fork climbing 600 feet to Laura's Tower (constructed in 1931). The right fork leads to the Ice Glen. Some earlier Ice Glen hikers included: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and William Cullen Bryant.
There is a bit of rock climbing involved to cross the Ice Glen. On the other side you can follow a dirt road to Ice Glen Road and loop back to Stockbridge.
After the walk stop by the Red Lion Inn or Alice's Restaurant for lunch.
Links of interest:
- Housatonic Heritage - Laura's Tower
- Application Mountain Club - Laura's Tower
- Stockbridge What to Do (includes Laura's tower)
- Panoramio view from tower
- Wikipedia - Laural Hill Association
- Wikipedia - Ice Glen
- History and Botany of the Ice Glen
- Wikipedia - Stockbridge
- Wikipedia - Alices Restaurant
- Red Lion Inn
- Story of Laurel Hill Association
- Laurel Hill Association Trail Maps
- Youtube Video - Hiking to Laura's Tower