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Rock House Reservation, West Brookfield

(4.4/5 based on 30+ reviews on the web)
The Rock House Reservation is a 196acre open space preserve located in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. The property, acquired in 1993 by the land conservation non-profit organization The Trustees of Reservations, is named for a natural rock shelter once used as a winter camp by Native Americans.Its location near two, long Native American footpaths suggests that it may also have been a trail camp and meeting place.The Rock House Reservation is located off Massachusetts Route 9 and offers 3mi of hiking trails, an interpretive center, a butterfly garden, and scenic vistas. Boulder strewn Carter Pond occupies the center of the property. The reservation is open to hiking, picnicking, and cross country skiing. Horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed on certain parts of the property.HistoryDuring the last ice age when the southern movement of the Wisconsin Glacier transformed the landscape producing unique rock formations and outcroppings. Today two glacially formed outcroppings are still present on the property. These formations are known as Balance Rock and the Rock House Shelter. After the ice age, archaeologists believe Native Americans used the Rock House Shelter as a winter camp, trail camp and/or meeting place.In the mid 17th century, the forests of West Brookfield were cleared by colonists for farming. In 1866, pastures around the Rock House were added to a 281-acre farm on Ragged Hill Road owned by William Adams whose family would tend the land for more than 125 years. During the first two decades of the 20th Century, Rock House was a popular stop on the "Copper Line", an electric trolley that ran between West Brookfield and Ware.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Great trails close to Palmer, Ware, Brookfields, etc....some trails not signed that great but easy enough to finally get back on track if you miss something. Multi levels - not overly strenuous but a ...  more »
  • What a beautiful hiking trail area and awesome climbing rocks! The rocks are huge and there are places to climb and explore. There are clearly marked trails and trail maps posted so you won't get lost...  more »
  • Great place to take the kids on a picnic anytime of the year!!!!Winter spring summer and fall, thee is not a bad time to come here. 
Google
  • Great trail network, some hikers could spend 6 hours here probably looking at everything, I've had numerous trips and I keep going back. If you're going to bring your dog, watch out for other off leash dogs. I want there to be some signs hung on the trail map posts and near the parking area that ask for leashed dogs only. I know the neighboring town of ware has a leash law. The woman I saw yesterday had her dog off leash, and she had no idea that it was a problem at all. All around great place to hike though.
  • A real gem. There are a collection of awesome rock formations a very short distance from route 9 parking, a very nice pond with a great view from the outdoor museum, and nice pine needle bed trails. Really cool even if there aren't many long trails to hike.
  • Rockhouse is a well maintained reservation with a lot of trails going through different environments.