Day Trip — Mount Greylock State Reservation
Bascom Lodge at the summit of Mount Graylock, seen from the Veterans War Memorial Tower Purchase photo reprints »
A trail on the Mount Graylock State Reservation Purchase photo reprints »
At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock in North Adams is the highest point in Massachusetts, offering 60- to 90-mile views in any direction and a wealth of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities. A three-dimensional map at the summit can point out the surrounding Taconic, Hoosac, and Green mountains and the Berkshire Hills, while farther in the distance are the Catskill, Adirondack and White mountains.
Capped by the Veterans War Memorial Tower, built in 1932 to honor Massachusetts veterans, Mount Greylock is also the pinnacle of a large reservation spanning six towns: North Adams, Adams, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Williamstown and Ashford. The reservation, purchased by the Commonwealth in 1898, became the first wilderness state park in Massachusetts.
Winding through that reservation are more than 70 miles of designated hiking trails, including 11.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail, with opportunities for novice to experienced hikers. Those not looking for a walk in the woods can follow a road to Greylock’s summit, which remains open through Nov. 1.
For naturalists, there are many opportunities for viewing birds, butterflies, wildflowers and wildlife, which varies considerably given the mountain’s varied climate and topography. There are almost 100 species of birds including thrushes, sparrows, warblers, hawks, owls and ravens. Common mammals include moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcat, coyote, and red and grey fox.
The northwest slopes of Mount Greylock also offer a unique viewing opportunity: stands of 150-year-old red spruce growing there make up part of an area known as the Hopper. The Hopper’s unique geologic valley protected what are believed to be the only old-growth red spruce stands left in New England. In 1987, the National Park Service designated the Hopper as a National Natural Landmark.
Directions: From Northampton, take Route 9 west for 27 miles to the intersection with Route 8A. Take Route 8A north for 4.4 miles to Route 116 and turn left, heading west into downtown Adams. Continue onto Center Street, which becomes Park Street. Continue onto Route 8 north into North Adams and turn left onto Furnace Bypass. From there, take another left onto Furnace Street, then a slight right onto Reservoir Road, then a left onto Notch Road, which will take you to the top of Mount Greylock. Various parking locations with trail access will appear along the way.