About Appalachian Trail Trailhead - Blotz Road
Also known as Kirchner Road, this trailhead has parking for about 8 vehicles. It is plowed in the winter, and provides year round access to nearby Warner Hill--offering great views of Mt Greylock to the north--as well as abundant high bush blueberries in mid-July. Southbound hikers can spot a 2nd car near your destination at Washington Mountain Road for a great, relatively gentle 2.8 mile one-way hike--or for a 3.4 mile northbound hike, a car at Grange Hall Road.
The Appalachian Trail crosses through the center of the parking area. Starting away from the road, northbound hikers travel on a flat old woods road before climbing moderately through the remains of a Norway Spruce plantation. Originally planted around 100 years ago to protect logged off municipal watershed lands from erosion, these fast growing, non-native trees are dying out and slowly being replaced by native species. Hikers can see where many fallen trees have been cleared from the Trail by volunteers. At two other locations on the AT, a hiker can observe areas where the dying trees have been deliberately removed to speed the growth of native forests.
Leaving the plantation area, the Trail levels out through overgrown pastures before climbing moderately for a short distance through lush ferns to the summit of Warner Hill at 0.8 miles. The Mount Greylock range marks the far northern horizon, but the view includes the Taonics to the west and the southern parts of the Green Mountains to the northeast. Hikers can continue north on the A.T. to Grange Hall Road in Dalton for another 3.4 miles
Southbound A.T. hikers cross Blotz Road and immediately walk on split logs (puncheon) or wood planks (bog bridges) over wet and muddy ground. The Trail climbs up and down three small high points for about 0.6 miles before arriving at a small cliff. The rocky nooks and crannies provide locations for porcupine dens--many tracks are observable in the winter as these critters travel between their dens and nearby hemlock trees--their favorite winter food. Scrambling down the cliff, it’s a short distance to Cady Brook. This unbridged stream crossing can be a bit tricky in times of high water, but a dry-footed crossing on rocks is possible most of the year. Upstream (right), hikers will see the remains of extensive beaver ponds. Climbing slightly, the A.T. enters Pittsfield Watershed lands. This extensive, generally flat area is often wet and crossed by several streams. Abundant bog bridges keep hikers above the wettest areas. Use caution as these can be slippery, especially when wet. As the ground gently rises, hikers reach Washington Mountain Road (also known as Pittsfield Road) in 2.8 miles. If you missed the wild blueberries on Warner Hill, you can pick your own in season at Blueberry Hill Farm (known to hikers as The Cookie Lady’s) about 300 feet left down the paved road.
The Appalachian Trail (or A.T.), is a 2100 mile footpath stretching from Maine to Georgia. 90 miles of the Trail are in Massachusetts, traversing the Berkshires. Local volunteers manage and maintain the footpath and the surrounding trail corridor in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the National Park Service Appalachian Trail Park (NPS-APPA). While popular with both day hikers and backpackers, the A.T. is managed as a primitive backcountry trail with limited amenities. Visitors should dress for the range of expected weather, wear sturdy shoes, and carry the Ten Essentials on their hike. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the A.T. For more on the Appalachian Trail, visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s website.