Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state of Massachusetts

Mount Greylock - MA Travel Blog

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The Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower

It is certainly a remarkable meteorological year this year. We had yet another heat wave forecasted for the city. Reason enough to go far away, to do a hike from my hike book that I had never done before, since it is pretty far.

I had to go to the state of Massachusetts' most north western part which is slightly north east of Albany New York. Just behind the NY-MA border one can find Massachusetts' oldest state reservation: Mount Greylock State Reservation. Mount Greylock is one of the peaks in the reserve. It is, with an altitude of 1063 meters (3489 ft), the highest point in the state. Yet, if it had been in the Catskills, it would not have made its way into the Catskill High Peaks. But that does not mean it is easy to hike to the top.

Inside the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower
The surrounding grounds are pretty low, so you'll still have to negotiate an impressive height difference.

The mountain has always been involved in a lot of activity. It was/is used for research, basic and extensive skiing, hiking, driving, lodging, hang gliding, etc. It is said that author Herman Melville was inspired by the mountain's whale shape to write his famous novel "Moby Dick".

In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps, the work stimulation project of President Roosevelt, built and improved a lot of roads and viewpoints on the mountain. Since then it is possible to drive up to the mountain. From 1931-1932 a memorial, the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower, was constructed on the summit.

Midway my descent, view on Mt. Greylock, note the TV tower and the Memorial!
This 28-m (93-ft) tall lighthouse shaped structure was originally meant to be placed near the Charles River in Boston, making it a very unusual item to discover on a mountain top. Its light can be seen 113 km (70 miles) away.

The CCC also constructed a real lodge at the summit, Bascom Lodge. It is still in use and gives a very Alps-like feeling.

In 1935 serious skiing commenced at the mountain when the Thunderbolt Ski Run was completed. This ambitious, man built skiing slope was soon named the most thrilling skiing route in the country. It hosted several championships. And no, at that time skiers just had to climb the mountain, no ski lifts! The trail became in disuse after the 1950s. Since the 1990s it is partly in use again, but still no lifts!

Apart from driving to the top there are several routes to hike to the summit.

The old truck at the trailhead, now with sunshine!
Some start at higher elevations, along the road. I decided to use the Hopper trail one of the oldest trails, dating back from 1830, starting at a 345-meter (1132-ft) elevation. It took me 720 meters (2362 feet) up to the summit. For the last half mile the trail was joined by a good "friend", the Appalachian Trail. It is a strange experience to arrive at a parking fee lot where lots of people walk around in a relaxed way, after a 2.5-hour strenuous hike on a deserted trail.

My effort to be the highest person in the state failed. It was impossible to be the only person at the view level of the monument. So I only made it to one of the two highest persons in the state. 

I hiked down via a small section of the Thunderbolt Ski Run, which is indeed pretty steep, narrow and overgrown with vegetation. A perfect and interesting hike, the only drawback was the weather. It had been clouded the whole hike, and exactly when I descended to start level, just minutes away from my car the sun finally broke through...

More pictures below.

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The Massachusetts Veterans War Mem…
The Massachusetts Veterans War Me…
Inside the Massachusetts Veterans …
Inside the Massachusetts Veterans…
Midway my descent, view on Mt. Gre…
Midway my descent, view on Mt. Gr…
The old truck at the trailhead, no…
The old truck at the trailhead, n…
An old truck at the trail head
An old truck at the trail head
The first time the summit road app…
The first time the summit road ap…
A lake, all of a sudden appears ne…
A lake, all of a sudden appears n…
Bascom Lodge
Bascom Lodge
The Massachusetts Veterans War Mem…
The Massachusetts Veterans War Me…
Inside the Massachusetts Veterans …
Inside the Massachusetts Veterans…
View on the city of Adams from the…
View on the city of Adams from th…
View on Bascom Lodge from the Mass…
View on Bascom Lodge from the Mas…
View on the Thunderbolt Ski Run Sh…
View on the Thunderbolt Ski Run S…
Top of the Massachusetts Veterans …
Top of the Massachusetts Veterans…
Beautiful toadstools
Beautiful toadstools
Midway my descent, view on Mt. Gre…
Midway my descent, view on Mt. Gr…
Descending along the Haley Farm Tr…
Descending along the Haley Farm T…
Descending the last few meters, wh…
Descending the last few meters, w…
Descending the last few meters, wh…
Descending the last few meters, w…
HDR image of the meadow with clear…
HDR image of the meadow with clea…
The old truck at the trailhead
The old truck at the trailhead
The old truck at the trailhead, no…
The old truck at the trailhead, n…
GPS Height Profile
GPS Height Profile
GPS profile (rendered by GPSVisual…
GPS profile (rendered by GPSVisua…
Mount Greylock - MA
photo by: mdalamers