NEW Riverfront Trail in Great Barrington: Construction Begins Fall 2019

riverfront trail footpathThe Great Barrington Land Conservancy is excited to announce that construction of the RIVERFRONT TRAIL will begin in September 2019.

This new trail will connect visitors to a long-inaccessible section of the Housatonic River. The route will bring hikers near important wildlife habitat, dramatic river and birdlife viewing areas, wetlands, and through historic agricultural and urban landmarks. The path is designed for accessibility to all and will feature a crushed stone surface to accommodate assistive devices. Trail use will be encouraged year-round for walking, snowshoeing and other passive uses.

This first phase of trail construction will result in two trail sections, totaling approximately 4,500 feet. The trail route has been laid out and designed by Peter S. Jensen, designer and builder of the Housatonic River Walk and of dozens of trail projects in New England. 

The Riverfront Trail Route:

  • The trail begins on Bridge Street near the river’s edge and will follow a path along the edge of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Field. It then emerges into a meadow behind the historic Searles Castle, now home to the John Dewey Academy. At this point, the trail will traverse one wetland area with a 20-foot-long footbridge constructed of black locust. 

  • From the south, the trail begins at Brookside Road, offering It an entry point for hikers coming off the Appalachian Trail and others seeking a pleasant stroll to downtown Great Barrington. This access point will serve as an important source of recreation for senior citizens living in the affordable housing complexes in the area. 

  • The trail continues through undeveloped riverside areas and then past the Truman Wheeler Homestead.

Constructed features include:

  • a black locust split-rail fence with access gates through the Dewey Academy property,

  • fencing near Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Field, 

  • a reconstructed storm culvert and a stone and timber footbridge on the Dewey Academy property, 

  • fencing and benches at the viewing area to encourage birdwatching at a significant bend in the river, 

  • vehicle access barriers at Brookside Road,

  • kiosks at each trailhead,

  • and interpretive and wayfinding signage where appropriate.

Funding for this project was provided principally by the Town of Great Barrington, through its Community Preservation Act program, for both the design and construction of the trail. Additional funding was provided through the Massachusetts Recreational Trail Program and the Fields Pond Foundation. These donors expect GBLC to provide $5,000 in matching funds through private donations. 


Supporters of this project may donate online at this link or by mailing a donation to GBLC, PO Box 987 in Great Barrington, MA 01230.

We thank the following generous neighbors for making this project possible through granting GBLC easements and long-term leases: Great Barrington Youth Foundation, the John Dewey Academy, Lido Property, LLC, Bostwick Gardens, LLC and the Town of Great Barrington. 


brook side autumn riverfront trail