The Mohawk Trail is an ancient highway – one humans have traveled for thousands of years, for purposes of trade and connection between communities. It is also a very old designated historic and scenic landmark, because of the beauty of the land that it travels through.
It began as a foot trail, heavily traveled by Native New Englanders. As European settlers arrived, and history rolled on, so did more types of transportation – and the trail evolved over the centuries to accommodate the transportation methods of the time, it is now accessible by automobile.
The “trail” spans from the Massachusetts/New York state line to the Connecticut River at Millers Falls, a 63-mile route. Inns, shops, attractions and more are discoverable along the way, providing exploration and necessities for visitors. The landscape itself also offers unique experiences (including spectacular views of Mt. Greylock).
If you guessed that the trail is named for one of the groups of people native to the area, you are correct. According to mohawktrail.com:
“The English and Dutch arranged a "peace" conference between the two tribes. However, a Mohawk of high tribal standing was killed and the Pocumtuck people were blamed. The furious Mohawk sent their warriors quickly over the Indian Trail and annihilated the Pocumtuck settlements. The English now had no resistance to their advancement up the Connecticut River. Moreover, the Dutch took the opportunity of the Mohawk's diverted attention to pursue their interests farther up the Hudson River. With place names, then as now, the recognition goes to the victor...’The Mohawk Trail’.”
That same website also offers several driving tours for those who wish to auto-tour the area.
Salmon Falls is one of the geographic attractions along the way of the trail. Contrary to the expectation that the name might give you, the riverbed here is mostly dry. The real highlight here is the glacial potholes. These potholes were formed thousands and thousands of years ago by the waters that roared through during the Glacial Age. Whirling water carved solid rock to create the spectacle now visible to the eye, thanks to the now-receded water.
You won’t want to miss the Bridge of Flowers – an abandoned trolley bridge that has been literally transformed into a flower bridge – a garden suspended across the 400 ft span where trolleys used to roll.
There are indoor attractions as well including the Clark Museum, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, and the Quaker Meeting House in Adams, MA.
With 63 miles of trail to explore, you could easily spend a whole trip focused on the attractions of the area – and still need to come back for many subsequent trips to take in still more. Every time you visit attractions along the trail, you are following a path that thousands before you have traveled throughout time.
Visit the Mohawk Trail website for more information about this vital piece of Massachusetts and American history. (Photo from the Mohawk Trail website Driving Tours page)