Leyden Blueberry Fields
ElevationAscent: 1,167' 356 m
Descent: -1,188' -362 m
High: 1,230' 375 m
Low: 447' 136 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)
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“This varied loop strings together hilltop blueberry fields, each stunningly beautiful and surrounded by rich woodlands.”— Glenn firstname.lastname@example.org
The terrain offers a variety of running surfaces from singletrack to wood roads to mowed paths. There may be a few short stretches that are brambly. The last 1.9 miles is on a maintained dirt road, though it holds its own in terms of beauty. The road allows views up to the open ridgetop that you traversed at the start of your run, and it passes through working farms. At one, a sheep farm, you may be greeted by a border collie and a couple Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs, whose size, curiosity, and bark are a good fit for protecting the sheep herd. They may intimidate you, but in my experience, they are very friendly and no threat to runners.
The woodland reservoir you pass is a water supply, so please resist any temptation to cool off so we retain access to this beautiful place, and, of course, protect our neighbors.
Be extra mindful during pheasant and deer hunting seasons in particular. There is no hunting on Sundays.
As summer approaches August, you'll be surrounded by ripening native lowbush blueberries, an exquisitely tasty treat in spite of their tiny size, but you may well expend more energy harvesting from these now-untended plants than you get from the eating. These fields seem to be ideal tick habitat, so be sure to protect yourself to avoid Lyme Disease and other tick-born diseases. During summer in particular, I find it necessary to check my legs as I exit each field. I have better luck after extended dry spells, but there is no time I go up there without taking this threat very seriously.
This track includes a couple out-and-back spurs to highlight two of the several alternative trailheads, all marked by yellow steel gates. These spurs are delightful regardless of where you enter, especially the open hillside access to the southeast (Oak Hill Rd in Greenfield). Skipping them would bring the loop closer to 5.5 miles.
The trickiest turn is at the end of the very first set of fields. The mowed path turns left, and soon after you'll want to go right and into the woods. Next up, on the woodland doubletrack, resist the wood road to the left that goes out to road access. Finally, after the third large field (Ball Mountain), the prominent mowed path you've been following seems to dissolve on the bank as you approach the woods. Head straight and slightly right, perhaps through some not particularly disagreeable brambles, toward three oaks on the edge of the woods where the easy-to-spot woodland trail resumes.
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Land Manager: Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game