These days, it’s not often Kendra and I go on an adventure without our kids. When we told our neighbors we were headed to Ramblewild, an aerial adventure park in Western Massachusetts, they joked that it would be a “marriage building” experience. Little did we know they were right – the three hours we spent helping each other climb through the trees actually did strengthen our bond. It was an awesome way to remind us of what a great team we make – all while challenging our limits in the outdoors!
The visit started with a short hike through the woods to reach the “training” platforms. During the hike, our guide gave us a brief history of Ramblewild. The 10-acre adventure park is owned by Feronia Forests, a certified B corporation helping to revolutionize the forestry industry. Feronia Forests encourages landowners to develop sustainable income opportunities, rather than using their land to harvest and sell lumber.
Ramblewild is one example of how landowners can create a revenue stream without contributing to deforestation. It is an eco-friendly adventure park high in the trees of a hemlock forest. All of the elements of the park are attached to the trees using tension, rather than bolts or screws, so the trees remain unscathed.
After our guide got us geared up with full-body harnesses and helmets, another Ramblewild staff member taught our group how to use our Edelrid Smart Belay – a unique carabiner system that facilitates safety on the course. When one carabiner is open, the other locks and cannot be opened, so you are securely attached to the Ramblewild elements at all times. As a newbie to tree-to-tree adventures, I was particularly appreciative of this belay system.
Once we all had mastered the belay, our Ramblehand taught us about the various elements we would encounter, and demonstrated each one. We then all took turns going through a ground-level training course. Once we’d successfully completed the training, we were sent off to explore Ramblewild!
We headed to the main hub, from which all eight of the adventure trails begin. Each trail is rated by color – yellow being the easiest, green and blue are intermediate, and black are difficult. The yellow and green trails start at 10 feet above the ground, while the blue and black begin from the second level of the main platform, 15 feet off the ground.
To test the waters, we started off with a yellow trail – “Lost in Trees.” It was fairly easy – we crossed over a dozen elements, which included walking on a net bridge, crawling through a wooden tunnel, traversing wooden platforms suspended by wires, and ending with a short zip-line back to the ground.
Feeling brave after our first run, we decided to move up to the green trails, choosing the harder of the two – “Riding High.” It was awesome. There was one really difficult element – walking across wooden cylinders suspended by wires. If you stepped the wrong way, or leaned backward, the wooden step flipped around, making it almost impossible to stay upright. We both made it across, only to look back and see the guys behind us get stuck.
The most exciting element on the “Riding High” trail was the zip-line 100 feet above the ravine that cuts through the park. Unlike a traditional zip-line, this one had a saddle to ride on, hence the name of the trail. The only part of this trail we weren’t too keen on was the free-fall jump at the end. It took me a minute to steel my nerves and jump off of the wooden platform. Once I did, I was surprised at the smooth landing – the free-fall only lasted a few seconds before turning into an easy drop down.
By the time we finished the first two trails, we only had enough time for one more, so we decided to jump up to a blue trail – “Ravine’s Edge.” It was definitely harder than the other two trails we’d done. We got to do another zip-line across the ravine – this time without anything to sit on. From that point on, the elements just got more difficult, and included skateboarding between two platforms, climbing across a rope spiderweb, and ending with yet another zip-line. By the end of the trail, we were sore and our arms were toast!
We had an incredible experience at Ramblewild. Though our kids are too young to visit, we saw plenty of families having a blast, including a lovely family who also have boy/girl twins! They were part of our training group, and we spotted them again on our way back to the Ramblewild lodge. There was no doubt they were enjoying their experience.
Back at the lodge we sampled the maple syrup made on site, and Vertical Water, a maple water sourced at another Feronia Forest site in Western, NY. Both are part of Feronia Forest’s sustainable forestry model. Though expensive, the maple syrup was totally worth the purchase. We bought a jug of the bourbon infused syrup and have been eating it over vanilla ice-cream. Amazing.
In addition to the adventure park, Ramblewild features hiking and snowshoeing trails, and offers guided hikes and snowshoe rentals.
We will definitely be back for another visit – hopefully with our Outdoor Adventure Club kids!!!
Tips For Your Visit
What to Wear: Make sure your clothing is comfortable, and appropriate for the season. I made the mistake of wearing cargo shorts and the buttons on the pockets got caught in elements with netting and rope. Kendra wore yoga pants, which worked really well. Also, wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.
What to Bring: Water is available in the park, but bring your own snacks and/or lunch.
Leave Behind: Your cell phone, wallet, camera, and anything else that could fall into the ravine. We also took off our necklaces and anything that could get caught on the elements. Your best bet is to lock your valuables in your car while you’re adventuring. There is a place in the lodge to leave your car keys.
Know Before You Go
Tickets: Ticket prices vary by season. All tickets are good for three hours, allowing for the completion of three-four trails.
- Summer: $69 Adults, $63 Teens, $57 Youth. After 4pm: Monday-Thursday $46, Friday-Sunday $53
- Fall: $48 per person
- Winter: $32 per person
- Spring: $32 per person
Discounted tickets are available. Groups of 10 or more can receive a 10% discount and groups of 15 or more receive a 15% discount. Groups of 20 or more can be scheduled ahead of time and receive special pricing. Active duty military and veterans get in free Monday through Thursday.
Season Passes: Full Season Passes are $966 (includes 4 free guest passes). Twilight Season Passes are $420 (includes 2 free guest passes). Additional guests receive $10 off a 3 hour ticket.
Hours: The days and hours vary by season.
- Summer: Open daily from 10am-8:30pm.
- Fall: Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-6pm.
- Winter: Open Saturdays and Sundays from noon-6pm.
- Spring: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon-6pm.
Directions: Ramblewild is located at 110 Brodie Mountain Road, Lanesborough, MA 01237.
- From Boston/Eastern MA: Take the Mass Pike West (I-90) to Exit B-3 (Berkshire Spur section), then follow Connecticut directions below.
- From Western CT: Take I-91 North to Mass Pike West (I-90) to Exit B-3 (Berkshire Spur section). Take Route 22 North to Route 43 East*. Go four miles on Route 43 to Brodie Mountain Road. Turn Right, pass the ski area on your right and watch for Ramblewild at the top of the hill on your left. * Route 43 East becomes Route 43 North in Massachusetts.
- From Albany, NY: Take I-90 East to Exit 8 (DeFreestville, just outside Albany) to Route 43 East. Continue about 25 miles to Brodie Mountain Road and turn right. Pass the ski area on your right. At the top of the hill, Ramblewild will be on your left. Alternate Route: Take the New York State Thruway to I-90 East (Berkshire Spur section) to Exit B-3, then follow Connecticut directions above.
- From Metro NY: Take the Taconic Parkway North to Route 295 East, follow to Route 22 North and then to Route 43 East. Drive four miles on Route 43 East to Brodie Mountain Road. Turn right. Go past the ski area on your right, watch for Ramblewild on your left at the top of the hill. Alternate Route (also from New Jersey): Take the New York State Thruway North to Exit 17 (I-84). Take I-84 East to the Taconic Parkway, then follow directions above.