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Stockbridge Bowl

Birding in Massachusetts

Stockbridge Bowl
Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01262
Stockbridge Bowl webpage
Stockbridge Bowl information sheet and map

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Berkshire County

Stockbridge Bowl
Coordinates: 42.3354533, -73.318634
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About Stockbridge Bowl
​The lake known as Stockbridge Bowl is the property of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is defined as a Great Pond. Although the lake belongs to the State, the Town of Stockbridge is responsible for its maintenance. The Stockbridge Bowl Association works with the Town to insure the health and safety of the lake. The Town of Stockbridge owns approximately 2,875 feet of shoreline around Stockbridge Bowl: 300 feet at the boat ramp, 1,125 feet at Gould Meadows, 450 feet at the Town Beach, and an estimated 1,000 feet from the dam to the diversion drain at the Outlet.

​Stockbridge Bowl was first known as Lake Mahkeenac, a name given by the local Mahican Indians, a tribe of the Mohicans. Mahkeenac means “home of the Mahekanus.” For a brief period of time, it was called Mountain Mirror, according to a map at the Stockbridge Library Archives.

​Stockbridge Bowl is 372 acres in size. From its north shore to the Outlet at the south end, it is about 1.7 miles long, about .6 miles wide at its widest point, and has approximately 6 miles of shoreline. The maximum depth is approximately 48 feet, depending on conditions; the average depth is approximately 27 feet.
​A sampling of lake water revealed 13 species of fish: largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow bullhead, black crappie, rock bass, golden shiner, white sucker, rainbow trout, brown trout, and lake salmon. The trout and salmon are the results of annual spring and fall stockings. Fishing on the lake is very popular, including in the winter when ice fishermen set up huts on the lake.

Public boat access to the lake is provided by a double concrete ramp with a 40-car parking lot on the northwestern shore. The ramp was installed by the Berkshire County Commissioners in the 1950s and is now controlled by the Commonwealth. Swimming at the ramp area is not permitted. The canoe/kayak part of the Josh Billings race is launched from here.

​There are three additional ways to access the lake on foot. At the southeast shoreline, the Stockbridge Town Beach provides a sandy beach, lifeguards, changing and restrooms, picnic tables, and playground equipment. Areas open to the public are Gould Meadows, owned by the Town of Stockbridge, and Bullard Woods, owned and managed by the Stockbridge Bowl Association. Both have walking trails to the lake. Bullard Woods also provides picnic tables and a dock. In addition, there is a connector walking trail made available by the Boston Symphony Orchestra between Gould Meadows and Bullard Woods.

There is a causeway near the northeast shore. On the other side of the causeway is Lily Brook Pond, which is the holding pond for the lake. Years ago, one could paddle a canoe under the causeway and into the pond, but, unfortunately, it is now impassible due to the buildup of silt, beaver dams, and weeds.
North of the causeway is the condominium community of White Pines. To the west of White Pines, on the north shore of the lake, is Camp Mah-Kee-Nac, founded in 1929 by Joe Kruger as a boy’s camp operating from the end of June to mid-August.
From Stockbridge Bowl webpage