Stockbridge Bowl lily pads

The Stockbridge Bowl, aka Lake Mahkeenac, is a popular destination for boaters, swimmers, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. Best of all, the large, man-made reservoir, is just 15 minutes from Applegate Inn.

The Berkshires are home to all manner of outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, skiing, and more. Once the weather turns warm, however, there’s a natural inclination to head for the water. The Lee, MA area is home to quite a few lakes but one of the largest and most popular is the Stockbridge Bowl.

The Stockbridge Bowl is a 398-acre man-made lake with approximately six miles (9.6km) of shoreline and a maximum depth of 48 feet (14.6m). A small, three-acre island, named “Kwuniikwat Island” by the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe in 2018, is located at the southwest end of the lake. The lake is contained by a 340-foot long (100m) earthen dam built in the late 1800’s.

Although the Bowl is an artificial body of water, it has been around for over 100 years and is now a strikingly beautiful natural area. It’s a wonderful lake to explore by boat, offering expansive views of the surrounding Berkshires.

More than 400 homes surround the Bowl, including a few, historic Berkshire “cottages.” Many are on the water, including the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and Seranak, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer lake house.

Exploring The Stockbridge Bowl

Stockbridge Bowl kayakers

The Stockbridge Bowl is located north of Stockbridge, MA at 55 Interlaken Road, Lenox, MA.

Getting there from our Berkshires bed and breakfast is snap. One can either head north on US-20 W, passing through Lenox, MA to reach the lake, or head south west on Stockbridge Road, passing through Stockbridge. Either route takes you past lovely Berkshires scenery and attractions, like Berkshire Botanical Garden, Tanglewood, Naumkeag, and others.

People come to the lake from all over to swim, paddle, sail, fish, and otherwise enjoy themselves. During winter time, the lake is very popular for skating and ice-fishing.

Stockbridge Bowl town beach

Anglers will find a variety of fish species to try for at the Bowl. Species include largemouth bass, rock bass, yellow perch, rainbow trout, brown trout, and lake salmon. Make sure you have your fishing license and know the rules and regulations before you throw your line in the water.

Looking to get out on the water? There are a number of outfitters in the area renting kayaks, canoes, SUP boards, and more. A double concrete boat ramp, found near the northwest shore parking lot, provides public access to the lake surface.

Swimmers and sunbathers will enjoy the southeast shore’s sandy beach, complete with lifeguards, changing rooms, and restrooms. Nearby picnic tables and playground equipment round out the options.

Bullard Woods, Gould Meadows, and ​Kwuniikwat Island

Stockbridge Bowl scene

Wildlife and hiking enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the trails of Bullard Woods.  Bullard Woods is a 52 acre stretch of woodlands located along the northeast shore of the Bowl. The woods, originally part of the Highwood manor house estate, are owned by Tanglewood and open to the public.

Bullard Woods offers a series of short hiking trails, including one that leads to some picnic tables near on the shore of the Bowl. Another trail leads to and through nearby Gould Meadows, a 95 acre conservation property with a public trail and water frontage on Stockbridge Bowl.

Kwuniikwat Island is the three-acre island located at the south end of Stockbridge Bowl. The island has a public dock, picnic tables, and lots of wildlife. Birders, in particular, come to see the blue herons, green herons, osprey, loons, cormorants, ducks, geese, and bald eagles.

Learn more about the Stockbridge Bowl online at thesba.org Let us know if Applegate Inn can help you with gear, directions, or suggestions of any kind. We love sharing the beautiful Berkshires with our guests!