25 Self-Guided Hikes in Western MA to Support Place-Based Learning

Support Hilltown Families on Patreon!


Here is a list of self-guided hikes to do with your family or on your own. To support place-based learning, before you head out, conduct an online search about the natural and human history of some of these community-based educational resources. Bring with you field guides, sketchbooks, cameras, and magnifying glasses and spend the afternoon engaged in self-directed, nature-based learning!

Easy Hikes in Western MA:

  • Chesterfield Gorge, West Chesterfield
  • Dinosaur Footprints, Holyoke
  • Field Farm, Williamstown
  • Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley, Lenox
  • Mass Audubon Arcadia, Easthampton

Read the rest of this entry »

Land Trusts & Native Species: Community-Based Educational Resources to Support Self-Directed Learning

Support Hilltown Families on Patreon!


Self-guided hikes are a great way to keep your family active outdoors and engaged in nature! They’re also excellent ways to support learning via community-based educational resources, including land trusts & native species!

Download this free interpretive trail guide Hilltown Families created with the Hilltown Land Trust for the Bradley Sanctuary trail in Williamsburg, MA. This guide goes beyond the typical map and route. It highlights interesting features and information from cultural, scientific, artistic, and historical perspectives. It encourages users to think about how their experience outdoors relates to other interests such as citizen science, history, literature, and social activism. Additionally, it complements the trail guides by providing additional resources and activities that extend your learning off the trail.

This guide takes hikers along the Red Oak Trail, a great walk to do with kids or on your own. On this trail, hikers will see the historical and environmental features of Bradley’s landscape and enjoy a lovely walk along Nichols Brook. One of the most interesting features of the Bradley Sanctuary is an old-growth Red Oak tree that is approximately 5 feet in diameter. Included in the guide is a formula for helping Bradley hikers hypothesize the tree’s age.

This property is available to the public year-round, thanks to Hilltown Land Trust’s land conservation efforts and the foresight of Hilltown residents who value the protection of our natural resources in perpetuity for future generations to visit and love. Each Hilltown Land Trust property has a story to tell. This partnership with Hilltown Families narrates this story for Bradley Sanctuary in Williamsburg, MA, and shows how our community places are connected to our personal stories and interests.

Use this guide to strengthen your relationship to the local land and experience these Hilltown forests and woods in new and inspiring ways.


Support us on Patreon!

%d bloggers like this: