Posted on October 17, 2022 and last updated on October 31, 2022

Buck Hill, Monson

QUICK TRAIL FACTS

  • Preserve Size: AT corridor
  • Trail Mileage: 3.8 miles one way
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: beautiful views, Upper Doughty Pond

For relatively little effort, you can hike up to a lookout on Buck Hill, which offers a gorgeous view of the land around Monson Pond and the Barren Mountain ridge and Borestone Mountain.

The lookout is not quite halfway on a 3.8-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail between Pleasant Street and Route 15 (it’s closer to Pleasant Street). There are two good parking areas at either end of the leg, one on Pleasant Street, right before it becomes a private drive, and one at the Goodell Brook Falls lot off Route 15.

If you start from Goodell Brook Falls, you’ll walk across some ledge before heading gently down to a marshy area near Upper Doughty Pond. To reach the pretty overlook of the pond, look for a ~0.1-mile side path to the right. It was somewhat hard to see in the fall of 2022. You’ll reach it soon after walking over a sturdy boardwalk spanning the narrow marsh. According to my GPS, the pond is about 1.5 miles from Goodell Brook Falls.

From the low-lying area around the pond, the 0.7 climb up to the Buck Hill lookout is moderate. The lookout, which has a rough bench, is marked with a sign for a scenic view. It’s not quite at the highest elevation reached by the path, but just below it. Either return the way you came, or continue to Pleasant Road, roughly 1.6 miles farther on.

We also checked out the view on Lake Hebron, another 1.25 miles farther south along the Appalachian Trail from the Pleasant Street trailhead. While the pond is pretty, you don’t get great access to it and it also doesn’t look like a good spot for swimming. It can be a bit wet close to the lake.

Directions:
The Goodell Brook Falls parking area is about 3.75 miles north of downtown Monson, on the right. Look for signs indicating the Appalachian Trails and hikers crossing the road. The trail to Buck Hill is across the street, marked with white blazes. When I visited in the fall of 2022, a stake painted with a white blazes marked the path. If you’re starting from the south, turn onto Pleasant Street from Route 15 and drive just under 2 miles to the parking area on your right, immediately before a sign indicating the road beyond is private. You’ll see a blue-blazed path that will take you to the white-blazed Appalachian Trail in about 1,000 feet. At this junction with the AT, go right.

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Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!