This dramatic landscape southeast of the town center is known for a craggy, moss-covered gorge and a labyrinthine network of caves enveloped by a nearly two hundred-year-old forest. Sunlight hardly penetrates the bottom of the narrow, quarter-mile-long ravine, where ice formed in the deepest crevices can last into summer – hence the moniker “Ice Glen.”
In 1891, David Dudley Field donated 40 acres containing the glacial cleft to the Town of Stockbridge. With a bequest from its founder Mary Hopkins Goodrich, the Laurel Hill Association, one of the nation’s oldest civic beautification societies, erected a metal bridge across the Housatonic River in 1895, replaced in the 1940s by a suspension footbridge and a rustic fieldstone archway. The Goodrich Memorial Bridge connects Laurel Hill Park with three trails: Ice Glen, Laura’s Tower, and the Mary Flynn Trail. The Laura’s Tower and Ice Glen trails share the first quarter mile up the hill, through stands of white pine, ash, and hemlocks with an understory of maidenhair fern. The Ice Glen Trail splits to the right and continues level for a short distance, passing a flat dedication rock face inscribed with David Field’s name. At the V-shaped north gorge entrance, the footpath spurs into the quarter-mile-long, boulder-strewn ravine. At the southern end of the gorge, stands the largest white pine in the state, towering 150 feet tall with a circumference of thirteen feet.