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October Mountain Lake, Schoolhouse Reservoir,
and Felton Lake

Last Updated: 3/2016
IMPORTANT – Read First
      These recently created lake and reservoir have a short history that goes back to about 1984 & 1985.  As a result, there is no bathymetry charts or other state maps available of either of these bodies of waters.  There is no fishing information available either.
      The available USGS Map does not show them but does show a lake called “Washington Mountain Lake” in a different location.  Use Google Earth to get the latest map of the area.
STATISTICS
 
Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:    1 hour
Total Distance:
          October Mountain Lake: 2.0 miles
          Schoolhouse Reservoir:  0.9 miles
Felton Lake: 0.6 miles
USGS Map:      Stockbridge, MA (7.5’x15’)
Launch Addresses:   

October Mountain Lake and Schoolhouse Reservoir:
Schoolhouse No 2 Rd, Washington, MA 01223 
Felton Lake: Lower Tower Rd, Lee, MA 01238
Boat Launch: Car top only.
Positions:
October Mountain Lake:   42-20.98N 73-11.17 W
Schoolhouse Reservoir:   42-20.56 N 73-11.35 W    
 Felton Lake: 42-21.68 N 73-13.37 W
Physical Features:
  • Area:                 acres
  • Max depth:          feet
  • Average Depth:   feet
  • Transparency: 
  • Terrain Type: Wooded, State Park
Fish Population
  • Unknown
   
Put In and Take Out: 13.2 miles, 30 minutes
  • From Route 90, Massachusetts Turnpike, Exit 2
  • After the tollbooths, take a left at the light.
  • At the next immediate light, continue straight on Route 20 East.
  • At mile 4.1, turn left on Becket Road.  The road climbs through woods.
  • At mile 6.0,it becomes Yokum Pond Road.
  • At mile 7.7, make a sharp (almost reversal) left turn on County Road. 
  • At mile 10.0, you will pass the Dream Away Lodge on your right then the road becomes dirt.
  • At mile 11.4, the road splits, make a slight right on Lenox-Whitney Place Road (There is no road sign on this dirt road)
  • At mile 12.6, turn left at a crossroads intersection onto West Branch Road (no road signs).  Its more field than woods here.
  • At mile 13.0, turn left on Schoolhouse No. 2 Road.
  • Follow the road to the end for car-top boat launch.
  •  
Boat Launch
       The boat launch is blocked so that motorboats on trailers cannot be launched.  There is a very nice parking area.  There is a large picnic area where each table has a cooking stand for charcoal or wood.  Other fires are not allowed.
Where did Washington Mountain Lake go?
     Back in the 1970’s a survey was made and watershed evaluated for a new lake.  Washington Mt. Lake (Navin Rd.) Dam was built and the land cleared.  Construction was completed in 1973 with a gravity dam of 695 feet long.  Its capacity is 3985 acre-feet and normal storage is 2635 acre-feet.  The reality is that it never filled.  OOPs, that’s right!  They built a lake that never filled.  The only water is a swamp and a brook.  If you wish to go hike around it, all you have to do is get the Stockbridge USGS Map and follow around the supposed lake.
    
October Mountain Lake
     Launch your boat and enjoy a very pristine paddle around this little lake.  Because of its remoteness, there is a good possibility that you will have the entire lake and land around it to yourself, especially on a weekday.  If you are very quiet, you may see anything from a Moose, a black bear, a bald eagle, or any number of smaller mammals and birds.
      If you are with a group, there are opportunities to cook, picnic, swim, hike, paddle, and play.  Even reading a good book on one of the tiny beaches could be a way of regaining lost energy from a busy week.
     Turn right, west, after leaving the launch toward the picnic area.  There is a small cove that leads to a grass emergency spillway.  Now follow the earthen dam south.  About midway is a drainway of concrete that controls the lake level.  This dam is 1790 feet long and there is a capacity of 1800 acre-feet with a normal capacity of 1130 acre-feet. It was completed in 1984.  I am not sure what year it actually filled.
     Now paddle pas forest to the south end where the shorter dam/dike is located of similar construction.  Finally, paddle northward along wooded shoreline and make a detour into a small eastern cove.  Follow the coast north and then east to the launch area.
Cartop no motorboats launch with plenty of parking nearby.
A view of this mountain lake.
There are picnic tables and a restroom.
October Mountain State Forest
     At 16,500 acres, October Mountain is the largest state forest in Massachusetts. Here visitors can camp, hike and enjoy the outdoors while they visit nearby Tanglewood and other Berkshire Region points of interest. 47 campsites dot a sunny hillside and offer a great base to explore this vast forest.
        The name of "October Mountain" is attributed to writer Herman Melville, whose view from his home in Pittsfield of these hills in fall impressed him so. The state forest originated from the former estate of William C. Whitney, President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of the Navy. Trails are available for every level of experience, and include the famous Appalachian Trail . One of the most scenic trails leads through Schermerhorn Gorge, a striking natural feature which has intrigued generations of geologists. Countless varieties of wild plants and animals can be found throughout the varied terrain of this vast forest.
State Forest
Trail Map
Camping
      Camping season is from mid-May through mid-October in designated campground only. Reservations are suggested. Several sites are wheelchair accessible. There are three yurts that are available for camping. No group sites are available. Campground office hours: 8am-10pm.
Campground Map
Felton Lake
       This small Lake located in October Mountain State Forest at 1580 feet is liked by some so it is included here.  The exiting brook at the dam feeds into the Housatonic River. It has been popular with beavers in recent years so stay sharp and you may see one.  Be aware that the trails around this lake is used by ATV which use them extensively especially on weekends.
      There is barely an island in the northeast shore.  The separation between the land and island is easily stepped across.
     At the far east end of a pond is a brook that is the only source of water entering the lake.  It is unnamed and about 1.1 miles long coming from Halfway Pond and the associated wetlands at 1835 feet.  If you feel adventurous you may want to follow it to its source.
Park near the gate and carry in.  0.25 miles
Follow the gravel road to the put-in.
Launch near dam.
Schoolhouse Reservoir
       
This dam is 350 feet long and there is a capacity of 1300 acre-feet with a normal capacity of 800 acre-feet. It was completed in 1985.
       Some lakes and ponds, such as Richmond Pond and Stockbridge Bowl, have been around since the end of the last ice age. Other bodies of water are of more recent vintage. Before the mid-1980s the shallow valley that would become Schoolhouse Reservoir was a forested declivity of woods and wetlands that sheltered Washington Mountain Brook. Add a dam and a little landscaping, and you have a new lake as well as the beginnings of a new ecosystem. Since its creation Schoolhouse Reservoir has been a classroom for ecologists and others to observe the evolution of forest to shoreline and the accompanying shift of plant and animal communities in the water as well as the land. Whether you agree or disagree with the idea of modifying the environment for the creation of impoundment lakes, this small reservoir can teach you many things about the natural world and do so in an environment of unrivaled privacy. Schoolhouse Reservoir, at an elevation of about 1,700 feet, is not the easiest place to get to or even to find; neither it nor October Mountain Lake even appears on most maps. The roads that lead through October Mountain State Forest are rough but passable by automobile, and a carry of about 100 yards from the parking area to the water is required. It seems a lot of work just to paddle a little man-made lake. Perhaps it is, but that’s why you’ll probably have the entire lake all to yourself.  http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=CGN037-007

Park near the gate and carry in.
Put in near the dam.
The dam is quite large considering the size of the reservoir.