Monument Mountain (reservation)

Monument Mountain (reservation)
This article is about the open space reservation. For the mountain on which the reservation is located, see Monument Mountain (Berkshire County, Massachusetts)
Monument Mountain
Open Space Preserve
Country United States
State Massachusetts
Location Great Barrington, Massachusetts
 - elevation 500.5 m (1,642 ft)
 - coordinates 42°14′50.4″N 73°20′26.6″W / 42.247333°N 73.340722°W / 42.247333; -73.340722
Biome Mountain ridge, talus slopes,
upland forests
Geology The Berkshires;
quartzite, metamorphic rock
Plant Red Oak, Eastern Black Oak, Sugar Maple,
Eastern Hemlock, Eastern White Pine,
Red Pine, Mountain Laurel,
Black Birch
Founded 1899
Management The Trustees of Reservations
Area 503 acres (204 ha)
Website: Monument Mountain

Monument Mountain is the name of a popular 503-acre (204 ha) open space reservation located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on the southeast side of Monument Mountain. The reservation is centered around the 1,642 feet (500 m) subordinate summit of Squaw Peak. It is managed by The Trustees of Reservations, a non-profit conservation organization and is notable for its expansive views of the Housatonic River Valley, The Berkshires, the Taconic Mountains, and the Catskill Mountains of New York from the knife-edge summit of Squaw Peak. Monument Mountain, composed of erosion resistant quartzite, is of The Berkshires geology. The reservation receives over 20,000 visitors a year.



Monument Mountain has been the subject of art and literature since as early as 1815 when the poet William Cullen Bryant penned "Monument Mountain," an account of the story of a Mohican woman who allegedly leapt from what is now called Squaw Peak. In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville picnicked on the mountain; a thunderstorm forced them to seek cover in a boulder cave where they engaged in a lengthy discussion which inspired some of Melville's ideas for his novel Moby Dick.

In the 1930s, red pines were planted on the reservation; by that time much of the mountain had been heavily logged for the charcoal industry in support of iron foundries in Falls Village, Connecticut and Lenox, Massachusetts.

The reservation was acquired as the gift of Helen C. Butler in 1899 and John Butler Swann in 1980. Additional parcels were purchased in 1985 and 1986.


A trailhead parking lot is located on Massachusetts Route 7 north of Great Barrington center. The trail system consists of the Hickey Trail and Indian Monument Trail which form a loop around Squaw Peak; and Squaw Peak Trail which ascends the knife edge summit between the other two trails. An unnamed waterfall is located to along the Hickey Trail. Devil's Pulpit, part of Squaw Peak, is a free-standing pillar of stone visible from the Squaw Peak Trail.

The reservation is open to hiking, picnicking, and hunting (in season).


External links

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