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Visiting Mount Greylock, the Highest Point in Massachusetts

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

The Veterans War Memorial atop Mount Greylock

The Veterans War Memorial atop Mount Greylock

Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet in elevation. Tucked away in the quiet northwest corner of the state between the Berkshires and Taconic Mountains, the summit of Greylock and the surrounding network of trails provide an endless supply of scenic views and plenty of hiking opportunities. This is also the site of the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial, a stunning 93-foot granite tower that honors veterans of World War I.

Spectacular views from the summit

Spectacular views from the summit

Getting There

Mount Greylock is located in the Mount Greylock State Reservation, which was created in 1898. The closest towns are Adams, North Adams, and Williamstown, all fairly small, quaint communities typical of rural New England. Being located in a somewhat remote part of the state, getting to Mount Greylock from the Springfield area will require about a 90-minute drive. Albany, situated just across the border in New York State is about 75 minutes away. The nearest highways are the Massachusetts Turnpike (I90) to the south, I91 to the east, and I87 to the west in New York.

There are 2 auto roads that will get you to the summit of Mount Greylock. The access road from the south is Rockwell Road and is the location of the Visitor Center. From the north, you can take Notch Road. Both roads provide scenic stops along the route and are only open from May through November.

There is limited parking available at the summit and there is a $5 fee for Massachusetts residents. The fee jumps to $20 for out of state visitors.

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Stop at the Visitor Center

A stop at the Mount Greylock Visitor Center is a great way to begin your visit. The Visitor Center is located about 7 miles from the summit on Rockwell Road and has ample parking. The center is staffed and open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (4 pm during late fall to early spring). If this is your first visit to Mount Greylock this is a great place to stop and gather information, check out the exhibits, and watch an orientation film about the park. It also gives your first stunning view of the Berkshires, providing a glimpse of the more spectacular views that await you at the summit.

Please note that the Visitor Center is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mount Greylock Visitor Center

The Mount Greylock Visitor Center

Hike the Trails

There are numerous activities to partake in from the summit area. This is a hiker’s paradise and there are over 70 miles of trails of various lengths and degrees of difficulty that cater to hikers of all abilities. You can also take a hike on the infamous Appalachian Trail that passes right over the summit. Visitors can park at various points at the base of the mountain and hike to the summit, or you can drive to the summit and choose from a variety of trails. The Mount Greylock website has an excellent trail map of the area and you can view it here.

To really learn about the history, geology, and significance of the mountain to the local area you may want to consider a ranger-led hike. You can inquire at the Visitor Center about all of the educational and ranger-led activities that are offered.

Many Trail Options Available

Many Trail Options Available

Have a Picnic

As you can see from the photo below, the area around the War Memorial is an open clearing perfect for a picnic or to just relax with a good book while taking in the scenery. On a clear day, you can see for 90 miles and in the fall the landscape transforms into a spectacular sea of color.

Perfect spot for a picnic

Perfect spot for a picnic

Climb the War Memorial Tower

Dedicated in 1933, the tower is a stunning memorial honoring those who died while in service of the country. The towers spiral staircase takes visitors up 89 steps to the viewing platform and the effort is rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views of up to 90 miles across Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and Connecticut. Just above you is the beacon, which when lit is visible for 70 miles.

The War Memorial Tower is currently closed due to the pandemic.

The Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial

The Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial

The Veterans War Memorial atop Mount Greylock

The Veterans War Memorial atop Mount Greylock

Camping

Those of you interested in camping can reserve one of the 27 tent sites located at the Sperry Road Campground. Please note that there is no vehicle access to the campground as it is a hike in only site. On Rockwell Road, there is a campground parking lot and it’s about a 1.3 mile easy to moderate hike to the campground. Be forewarned that due to the COVID-19 pandemic the campground is closed for the 2020 season.

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The Veterans War Memorial atop Mount Greylock

The Veterans War Memorial atop Mount Greylock

Winter Activities

During the winter months, this region of Massachusetts is blessed with an abundance of snow. If you are interested in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling, the network of trails around Mount Greylock provides ample opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. You can actually ride snow-covered trails all the way to the summit and the Thunderbolt Trail gives skiers the chance to downhill ski over 2 miles from the summit to the base of the mountain.

The cozy Bascom Lodge

The cozy Bascom Lodge

Visit the Bascom Lodge

While exploring the summit area be sure to visit the historic Bascom Lodge. Built in the 1930s, this rustic lodge provides overnight accommodations for thru-hikers or those looking to spend a few days hiking and exploring the area. Rates range from $35 for a group bunk to $125 for a small private room. Private rooms able to accommodate a family are available for $150 per night. The lodge has a common room with a large stone fireplace, an enclosed porch, and a small restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lodge will also host private parties and weddings, and anyone interested can inquire directly through their website here.

The Bascom Lodge

The Bascom Lodge

If your travels are taking you to the beautiful rolling hills of western Massachusetts, consider spending some time at the Mount Greylock State Reservation. With a wonderful network of hiking trails, a historic lodge, stunning views, and the towering Veterans War Memorial, I think you’ll fall in love with this New England gem.

© 2020 Bill De Giulio

Comments

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 13, 2020:

Yeah, we would have loved to climb the tower but perhaps on our next visit. It is a great hiking area, and with the Appalachian Trail passing right over the summit you get lots of hikers here.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 13, 2020:

There were a number of people at the summit but they were maintaining a social distance for the most part. The area around the Memorial is very open so there is plenty of room for people to keep apart.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 12, 2020:

A sea of color is a good description of this beautiful place and it looks to be the perfect place for a picnic. it’s too bad that some parts are closed due to the virus. Looks like a nice hiking area too.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 12, 2020:

It's great to see, that in spite of some attractions being closed due to the pandemic, Mount Greylock still has much to offer visitors. The views look great and it sounds like social distancing shouldn't be a problem in such a big park. Do you find that there are some hotspots, like the summit, that can get crowded. The open area around the war memorial looks like a good sized open space.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 11, 2020:

Thank you, Peggy. As we are limited in where we can go right now we figured this was remote and open enough that we could explore a little. The views really are stunning and we hope to return later in the year to see the fall colors.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 11, 2020:

Thank you, Mary. The park is quite large and has miles and miles of trails. The lodge at the summit is very rustic, just what you would expect in rural New England. We would have loved to have had lunch there if not for the pandemic. Perhaps in the future.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 11, 2020:

Thanks, Chuck. It's a beautiful part of the state. The mountains here aren't really that high, but Mt Greylock gets you up high enough for some great views, You are right about the fall colors and that would be a good time to plan a future visit. Glad you enjoyed the hub, stay safe.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 11, 2020:

Yeah, it's unfortunate that the Visitor Center and the Tower are currently closed but we are close enough to return. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2020:

I always know that I am in for a treat when one of your articles pops up in my email notifications. What stunning views there are at and around Mount Greylock. It will once again be a spectacular vacation locale when we get past this pandemic. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 11, 2020:

This is a huge park and the Lodge is inviting.

Chuck Nugent from Tucson, Arizona on August 11, 2020:

Great Hub and beautiful pictures. I visited the Berkshires years ago after college when I moved back to my parents home in Rochester NY while I worked and continued to look for jobs in my field in other parts of the country. I passed through the Berkshires a couple of times and remember touring the Berkshires one long weekend in the fall and the colors were fantastic. I have never been to Mt Greylock but it looks like a great place from the way you describe it. I still have a brother and sister living in New York state and one of these days when we visit them my wife and will try to visit Mt Greylock. Great article enjoyed. it.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 11, 2020:

Too bad some of the area has to be closed due to the pandemic. But it looks lovely! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 11, 2020:

Thank you, Linda. It’s a beautiful part of Massachusetts, an area I’m sure you would enjoy exploring. Have a great day.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 10, 2020:

I would love to explore New England, including the area that you describe in this article. The scenery looks lovely. Thanks for sharing the information and the beautiful photos, Bill.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 10, 2020:

Thank you, Pam. It’s a beautiful part of the state and in the fall it’s absolutely stunning. Autumn is my favorite time of the year, the summer heat is gone and the leaves start to change. Thanks again for commenting, have a great week.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 10, 2020:

This looks like a great place to visit. I have not been that far north on the east coast. I would like to come in autumn as I love to see the autumn leaves. Your pictures are very good. I think you have given us a good overview of this area in MA. Thanks Bill.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 10, 2020:

Thank you, Lorna. The Memorial was designed as a beacon watching over Massachusetts and as a way to honor the veterans who gave their lives for the nation. The area is a paradise for those who love to hike, ski, and climb. Glad you enjoyed the visit. Stay safe.

Lorna Lamon on August 10, 2020:

Such a beautiful place with lots of activities, and I can imagine how wonderful it must look in winter. The war memorial tower is in the shape of a lighthouse. As a lighthouse is seen as a beacon of hope, and I was wondering if the tower is a symbol of hope.

I enjoy hiking, climbing and skiing so I would feel right at home in this beautiful place. This was an enjoyable and informative read Bill with great photos. Thank you for sharing and stay safe.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 10, 2020:

It is pretty funny, Bill. Our little Mount Greylock at 3491 feet is but a hill compared to the towering ranges in Washington. Yet, it’s a beautiful area of the state and has lots of outdoor activities to partake in.

It is hard to believe that summer is almost over. Fall is my favorite season so I am looking forward to the cooler weather. Stay safe and have a great week.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 10, 2020:

I'm the first to comment! Hooray!

You know I'm laughing right now, right? The highest point in Massachusetts is a foothill here in Western Washington, right? You know what I'm talking about. Still, it's a lovely spot with a great view, so I can see why you love it.

Another month and we'll have snow on the higher peaks around here. Hard to believe summer is almost gone.

Stay safe and healthy, my friend. Better days are ahead for us.