Treadmill Rating (out of 10): 7 out of 10
Distance: 13.6 mile round trip
Max Elevation: 3,491
Elevation Gain: 2,320
The mountain is in the Mt. Greylock State Reservation, which is comprised of 12,500 acres. A strenuous day hike, there are several different routes to the summit. Bill Bryson penned his experience of the ascent in his book “A Walk in the Woods,” in which he described it as “steep, hot, and seemingly endless, but worth the effort.” The trail we took fit that description. It was a 90+ degree, humid July day when we hiked the narrow dirt trail through woods that vary drastically with the altitude change. These woods are inhabited by black bears, bobcats, coyotes, moose and over 100 species of birds, as well as other animals. It is believed that the mountain, thrust up from an ancient seabed, was once as high as 20,000 feet. It was worn down to its present height by erosion. After hiking for about three hours we reached the magnificent views from the summit, where we sat down in the grass and ate our sandwiches. Also on the summit of this mountain is, many miles from the ocean, a lighthouse — the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower, which was erected in 1932. Also located at the summit is the Bascom Lodge, also built in the 1930s, where you can get a meal or spend the night. The temperature at the top was noticeably cooler than in the valley where we started our day. We stayed in North Adams, which is the home of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, an artist colony and several fine restaurants.
HOW TECHNICAL IS THE HIKE?
This is a non-technical hike.
WHO CAN DO THIS HIKE?
This hike can be done by anyone in reasonably good health. We saw no children on the day of our hike…the ages ranged from teens to 50s. We encountered some long-distance backpackers and one power hiker, apparently in her twenties, who hikes to the summit every day.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
The mountain is open year-round, and there is a paved road so that you can drive to the top. The seasonal changes in New England afford the hiker richly-varied scenery. The Bascom Lodge is open from May until October 31. Call for reservations and details.
WHERE IS IT LOCATED?
Mt. Greylock is located at the northern end of the Berkshires, in northwestern Massachusetts, not far from the southern border of Vermont and the eastern border of New York. The Cheshire/Appalachian trailhead, which runs north to the summit, is located on Overlook Avenue. The mountain is the highest point in Massachusetts.
Train for endurance, as this is a long, steep hike. Hill climbing and very long walks should get the average person in shape for this one.
As some parts of the trail are rocky and uneven, hiking boots are preferred over sneakers. Water is a must, two bottles per person at least. Keep in mind that you will be hiking for six to seven hours. Bring lunch and snacks, bug spray, and a camera. We forgot our camera on the day of the hike so this photo is courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.