The Rock House Reservation is a 196-acre open space preserve located in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Built by the glacier, the cave-like shelter and its surroundings are an intriguing blend of geologic and human history. Nature lovers can enjoy expanses of wildflowers, hardwood forests and pine groves, while watching for a wide variety of animals, from wild turkeys to painted turtles.
The centerpiece of the property is the massive, 20- to 30-foot-high rock enclosure that stands guard over man-made Carter Pond. Visitors who choose to explore the 196-acre tract will find there’s plenty more to sample from this multi-faceted greenspace. Like much of central Massachusetts, the history of Rock House Reservation is that of forests transformed into farmlands, ponds and streams turned into mill power, and now all reverting to their natural states.
Over the thousands of years the glacier pushed, pulled, and scraped over the New England landscape, myriad land formations, such as the Rock House, were created. But the movement of the ice sheet also left behind boulders in the most improbable places. A striking example of these “erratics” is Balance Rock, which perches atop a large stone outcrop.
There are more than 3 miles of trails and woods roads. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places. It is open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours. There is a portable toilet (open seasonally) and small trailside museum (nature center) overlooking Carter Pond.