Looking for the perfect outdoor winter activities in Western MA? You’re not alone.
Once the holidays have passed, we New Englanders collectively settle in for a long winter. Looking ahead, we know that this season may blur into spring with a surprise April or May snowshower, and do our best to remain active, engaged, and warm in the meantime.
Outdoor adventures have always been part of enjoying the cold season, but this year in particular many of us are looking for fresh air activities to stay safe, get our bodies moving, and keep the winter doldrums at bay.
To help you do just that, we are sharing some of the best outdoor winter activities and events that Western MA has to offer, from ice skating to dog sled rides.
All of these locations are local to our showroom and workshop in Gill, MA, so you can make a day of it by stopping by to say hello, warm up, and peruse our handmade boards and bowls between sledding and skating.
Our Favorite Outdoor Winter Activities in Western MA
Nestled between Beacon St. and Sanderson St. in Greenfield, Beacon Field is a local sledding favorite, and perfect for families looking for a relaxed (and free!) way to enjoy the outdoors in winter. When temperatures allow, this spot also boasts a small outdoor ice skating rink–a rare find anywhere.
Hospital Hill is a favorite Pioneer Valley sledding spot, and with good reason. The hill’s topography offers a range of speed and steepness, so you can take a relatively easy ride or one that might make you scream on the way down. Either way, the large field at the bottom of the hill gives you plenty of time and space to safely coast to a stop. Hospital Hill is located on Route 66, next to the Smith College Equestrian Center, and just a couple minutes from downtown Northampton.
If you’re looking for some serious winter adventure, head over to Berkshire East for skiing and snowboarding. Berkshire East offers lessons in both sports, and welcomes folks of all experience levels.
Not into skiing or snowboarding? Berkshire East also has an entire area devoted to snow tubing, a perfect alternative for any age or skill level, with a Magic Carpet lift to help you tube over and over with ease. Since they make their own snow, you’ll be able to tube no matter the weather in your own backyard.
Located on Route 63 in Northfield, the Northfield Mountain Cross Country Ski Area features 25 miles of scenic trails with difficulty levels ranging from beginner to difficult. Warm up with a hot cocoa in the base area yurt or a trailside warming hut, or take a ski lesson with one of the staff instructors. Both skis and snowshoes are available to rent on site.
If you’d just like to stay on your feet, thank you, instead of donning skis or snowshoes, Mt. Tom is the perfect place. Enjoy the trails around Bray Lake–the even terrain here is usually navigable even in winter, and you’ll have the pleasure of guessing which woodland creature left the many animal tracks you’ll find on the trail. On occasion, the ice on the lake is cleared for hockey or ice skating, and the warming hut (with bathrooms) by the lake is open all year round.
Make your Iditarod dreams come true right here in Western MA. That’s right–for a totally unique outdoor winter activity that’s more Alaska than New England, make a date with Hilltown Sleddogs. You can meet their Alaskan Huskies, help harness the team, and enjoy a ride pulled by 10 dogs through snowy, scenic wooded trails.
Just twenty minutes from our shop, Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro offers an indoor ice skating rink, hiking trails, and a ski lift and slope at the Brattleboro Ski Hill. Afterward, stroll Brattleboro’s vibrant downtown and enjoy some window shopping.
If slow and steady winter adventure is more your style, why not try ice fishing? In Western MA, a day of ice fishing might yield bass, perch, salmon, or trout. At Sheomet Lake, you can enjoy a quiet day of ice fishing at a pristine, remote lake surrounded by forests and hillsides.
If you are new to ice fishing, don’t let that stop you. The MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is offering a virtual ice fishing class on January 31, 2022, and sponsors family-friendly ice fishing events throughout the state. Enroll in the class and see their full calendar here.
This all-day, annual event showcases local ice sculptors. Stroll downtown Northampton during the day on February 11th to see the artists at work. Finished ice sculptures will be on display that evening and through the weekend, or as long as the weather allows. This event coincides with Arts Night Out, a monthly gallery walk.
This marks the hundredth year Greenfield has held its traditional winter carnival. This weekend-long celebration has something for the whole family: fireworks, ice carvings, and even a cardboard sled contest.
Take a Break…and Treat Yourself!
Want to warm up during your snow day adventure? Stop by one of our favorite local cafes for a hot cocoa and a snack, or to pick up a hot meal:
- Small Oven in Easthampton, MA
- Pie Bar in Florence, MA
- The Haymarket in Northampton, MA
- Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls, MA
- Hager’s in Shelburne Falls, MA
- The Wagon Wheel in Gill, MA (just down the road from our showroom).
We hope this tour of outdoor winter activities in Western MA helps you make new memories, and make the most of winter. Stay warm, friends, and we hope to see you soon!
Did you like this post? Then you might enjoy The Berkshires: Top 10 Stops on the Mohawk Trail.