What makes Chesterfield Gorge a special place?
We think it’s the way this remarkable natural formation allows visitors to experience both the region’s geologic past and its recreational potential. The ancient rock emerged from the seabed a half-billion years ago, then was carved for thousands of years by glacial action and roaring meltwater. Today, this stretch of the Westfield River attracts walkers and cyclists, photographers, and anglers.
This dramatic rock canyon Chesterfield Gorge features 70-foot-high walls carved by centuries of rushing water from the East Branch of the Westfield River. On your hike of the half-mile trail along the cliff tops, you’ll take in breathtaking views of the gorge, the river, and the surrounding forest, which nurtures hemlock, ash, and oak, and is home to bears, bobcats, and turkeys.
Chesterfield Gorge is the entrance to an extensive natural recreation area along the Westfield, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River for its strong ecological and recreational values.
A half-mile trail runs along the top of the Gorge. Easy walking. The trail from the parking lot connects to the East Branch Trail (also known as River Road), popular with day hikers and mountain bikers, which follows the river another seven miles, beyond Bliss State Forest. This longer trip leads to the broad basin above Knightsville Dam, a massive Army Corps of Engineers flood control project.
When to Visit
April 1 to December 1, daily, 8 AM to sunset. Allow a minimum of ½ hour.
Seasonal public restrooms. Picnic tables.
About Chesterfield Gorge
Stone abutments of a c.1762 bridge that spanned the river are all that remains of an important link in the former post road between Boston and Albany, NY. Stagecoaches used the bridge, and a toll gate was established at its eastern end. During the Revolutionary War, redcoats marched over this bridge toward Boston following their defeat at Saratoga, NY. In 1835, floodwaters swept away the bridge along with nearby gristmills and sawmills.
Property Acquisition History
Original acreage acquired in 1929. Additional land purchased in 1949 with funds given by Sidney L. Beals and Mrs. Stanley King. Additional land was given by the Pioneer Valley Association in 1950; Quinnehtuk Co. in 1955; and Stanley and Mildred Greimann in 1994.
Chesterfield, MA 01012
From Pittsfield: Follow Rt. 9 East/Rt. 8 South 5 mi. Turn left onto Rt. 143 East. After 12.3 mi., turn left onto Rt. 143 East/Rt. 112 North. After approx. 4 mi., turn right onto Ireland St. south for 0.8 mi. Turn left onto River Rd. to parking (20 cars) on left.