If you like Solitude this is the place for you
West Lake is in one of the many sections of The Massachusetts Park System, which make up Sandisfield State Forest. This is a man made lake that was formed by damming the Clam River in 1965 to provide flood control & recreation for the area. The paddling the lake is very easy most days, although the wind can be troublesome at times. To fully circumnavigate West Lake takes a bit over an hour. There are abundant geese, ducks, & herons along with an occasional beaver & deer. On all but the hottest days of the year you will likely be alone on the lake, a family or somebody fishing may show up at the boat ramp, but few stay for very long - a quick dip and back in the car.
Late April to mid- November are the best times to paddle West Lake. Especially at the extremes of this time period the numerous hardwood trees give the lake great color in the fall. & The fields around the lake have many wildflowers in the spring. There are two trails that go to Abbey Lake, which is about a mile away & its worth the portage, being further away from the road & people Abbey Lake has a bit more wildlife & very rarely is there anyone else around.
There are some of the old tree stumps & boulders along the shoreline that would ruin a nice cedar strip or even cause a boat to capsize if the paddlers are not paying attention. There is also what is know as a Morning Glory Dam which presents minimal danger to persons in boat, but a swimmer could get caught up in it and have some serious problems.
The Commonwealth's official line is that overnight camping is not allowed at the park & if one of Environmental Protection Officers were to happen by & you were camping they probably tell you to leave. There are several areas where persons have camped in the past.
At West Lake there is a sandy boat ramp & limited parking, but little else (the maintenance shed that was there burned a few years ago). Daffer's Mountain Inn on Route 57 has rooms to rent & decent food they are under a mile from the lake.
Take Route 57 to Bosworth Road (a dirt road on the North just after the New Marlborough Town Line)travel to West Street then go about .6 of a mile and on the right is West Lake. To note there are no signs.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management http://www.state.ma.us/dem/dem.htm (413)442-8992
USGS Otis MA Quad. Tolland Center Quad would also be helpful but not necessary.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water