About Benedict Pond Boat Launch
The Benedict Pond Boat Launch is an ideal location for anyone interested in boating on the serene waters of the Berkshires. Located right on Benedict Pond in the southern part of Beartown State Forest, the boat launch is perfect due to its easy accessibility, ease of use, and the stunning landscapes that it provides access to. A large dirt parking lot contains multiple picnic tables, benches, and small charcoal grills for visitors to use and enjoy a picnic or small event on the waterfront before using the sizable dirt ramp to unload their boats into the calm water. Restrooms are available at the beach, only a short walk from the boat launch.
Benedict Pond is an excellent place to explore on a boat (car top and electric motors only). The waters are calm, and the pond has lots of nooks that make paddling a fun and engaging experience for everyone. A host of wildlife also calls this area home, and lucky and keen-eyed visitors might be able to spot them. Geese, great blue herons, white-tailed deer, beavers, red-tailed hawks, and even bald eagles can be found at the lake. Benedict Pond is an ideal location for any family-friendly boating and paddling adventures in Western Massachusetts, and all visitors interested in such activities should be sure to stop by.
In addition, this parking area serves as the jumping off point for both northbound and southbound A.T. hikes. It is connected to the Trail by the blue-blazed Benedict Pond Loop Trail, which departs to the right of the launch and junctions with the A.T. at 0.4 miles. Northbound hikers can spot a 2nd car at Beartown Mountain Road in Monterey for an occasionally challenging 4.8 mile trip--or a shorter, briefly strenuous, 1 mile hike on the A.T. just to The Ledges overlook for expansive western views. Southbound hikers can similarly spot a car at Monterey Road (Roeut 23) for a 1.8 mile mostly downhill trip. Or extend their hike further south to Lake Buel Road trailhead for south for a 2.6 mile option.
Northbound hikers turn left at the junction between the Benedict Pond Loop trail onto the white-blazed A.T. After skirting the eastern end of Benedict Pond, the Trail climbs steeply on rock steps, crosses below a large beaver dam, reaching The Ledges overlook at 1.0 mile. Continuing past the overlook, the A.T. descends to a wide bowl, crossed by multiple small streams before climbing past the Wilcox South Shelter and Campsite (1.4 miles), a primitive overnight site for A.T. backpackers with a CCC era trail shelter constructed in the 1930’s.
The Trail eventually reaches and traverses a level ridge and then descends to a large beaver pond near the headwaters of Swann Brook, then climbs briefly to a junction with a 0.2 mile blue blazed access trail at 3.3 miles that leads to Wilcox North Shelter and Campsite, another backpacking overnight site. This access trail was part of the original route of the A.T. through the Beartown State Forest. The Trail then descends moderately, reaching Beartown Mountain Road at 4.8 miles
Southbound hikers turn right at the junction of the Benedict Pond Loop Trail and the A.T., then almost immediately cross an old park road. Then, on level hiking followed by a short rocky descent to Blue Hill Road in Monterey at 0.6 miles. Crossing the road, the Trail is on bog bridges over a wet area adjacent to a cow pasture before descending to the trailhead at Monterey Road (Rt 23) at 1.8 miles. Hikers can continue across the highway, entering an area damaged by a tornado in 1990, before crossing the remains of a dam above Lake Buel. A dirt road is crossed before climbing up to Lake Buel Road, for a total of 2.6 miles from the junction with the Benedict Pond Loop Trail. The trailhead parking is approximately 100 feet to the right.