Discover a small, serene pond beyond a jumble of giant boulders forming a "house."
The cave-like Rock House Reservation and its surroundings offer an intriguing blend of geologic and human history. Glaciers once pushed, pulled, and scraped over New England, forming the landscape and leaving behind boulders in improbable places. Forests transformed into farmlands; ponds and streams powered mills. And now, the landscape is reverting to what it once was.
Rock House’s mammoth proportions and southern exposure made it an excellent winter camp for Native Americans. In the mid-17th century, colonists cleared the forests of West Brookfield 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. And in the early 20th century, Rock House became a popular stop on the “Copper Line,” an electric trolley that ran between West Brookfield and Ware.
Discover the nooks and crannies of this 296-acre tract via three miles of trails and woods roads. The centerpiece is the 20-to-30-foot-high rock enclosure that stands guard over man-made Carter Pond. Along the way, savor the wildflowers, hardwood forests, and pine groves, and watch for a wide variety of animals, from wild turkeys to painted turtles. Look for a striking example of glacial erratics in Balance Rock, perched atop a large stone outcrop.
Free to all.
West Brookfield, MA 01506
From the Mass Turnpike (Exit 8), take Rt. 32 North toward Ware where it joins Rt. 9. Stay on combined Rt. 32/9. When the routes separate, follow Rt. 9 East for 1.1 mi. to entrance and parking (12 cars) on left.
We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you visit.
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In Massachusetts, people and the land are of each other, inextricably woven together to form the tapestry of our long history together.
Following the arrival of Colonists in the mid-17th century, the forests of West Brookfield were cleared for farming. In 1866, pastures around the Rock House were added to a 281-acre farm on Ragged Hill Road owned by William Adams. During the first two decades of the 20th century, the Rock House was a popular stop on the “Copper Line,” an electric trolley that ran between West Brookfield and Ware. Visitors came to picnic in the abandoned pastures and explore this historic Native American landmark.
Property Acquisition History
Anonymous gift, with endowment, in 1993 in memory of William Adams. Additional land purchased in 2002.
Easy roadside stop. Free. Easy for family and kids (no strollers). Not a serious hike, but well worth the time. The rocks are amazing.
– Bennie, Trip Advisor
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