Pittsfield Backpacking Trip

Saturday, September 16 -
Sunday, September 17, 2023
Pittsfield State Forest
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Event Info


This was our first trip to Pittsfield State Forest. With the basic idea of hiking the Taconic Skyline Trail (TST) and camping in the forest, it turned out that there was only one trailhead with parking outside the camping area, at Balance Rock State Park. We had 5 youth and three adult participants on this trip.

The weather was perfect for backpacking – cool and breezy (windy at the higher elevation). We had no rain on this trip.

Our Saturday hike started with an incline and only got steeper to get to the TST, an elevation gain of about 900 feet. Even then, we still had periods of significant elevation gain for most of the day. At one point (circled in red on the elevation plot below), the incline was so steep, we had our hands and feet on the ground. In fairness to the trail, we had missed a turn, so we were not on the Taconic Skyline Trail at that point (right near where we had lunch).

Our camp site, the Bishop Field Group Site, was at the the lowest part of the forest. As a result, the Turner Trail took us down about 900 feet in elevation in about 2 hours. On Saturday, we hiked about 7.2 miles with 1321 feet of ascent and 1549 feet of descent.

We had over-delivered on the adventure on Saturday, so on Sunday, we opted to follow roads back to our starting point to avoid blowing out some tendons. This was a 4.6 mile hike with 720 feet of ascent and 817 feet of descent. See our actual trail, as recorded by Joshua Froimson's GPS:

My Maps - map uploaded into Google My Maps
GPX file (for downloading)

Since this was a campground, we were a short walk from a bathroom with running water (one of the nicest in any state park), and there was a water faucet even closer. The site was fairly secluded from the other sites.

At the site, the Scouts made freeze-dried dinners for dinner and had cereal for breakfast.

This was our 177th consecutive month with at least one overnight camping trip.

Page updated 10/1/23
J. Froimson

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