On the far western edge of Massachusetts like the Mount Greylock State Reserve. Over 12,000 acres of protected woodlands and pristine hiking tracks. At the center of the park is Mount Greylock, Massachusetts highest peak at just under 3,500 feet. Atop the mountain you will find the historic Bascom Lodge and the inspiring 100 foot tall war memorial.
This war memorial marks the beginning hub for several of the best trails in the northern section. Its a brilliant way to start a beautiful day as the memorial offers the best panoramic views that anyone could ask for.
Although most of the trail hiking north of Mount Greylock uses the Appalachian Trail for their core, the area offers several &39;loop hikes&39; to keep things fresh. As these trails intersect repeatedly it is important to know that the Appalachian trail is blazed in white and the side trails in blue.
The first trail heading north would have been the Appalachian section heading towards Mount Williams. This stretch is roughly 2 and a half miles one way with challenging ascents to get the blood pumping. Hikers will enjoy a variety of birch, fir, bramble and hobble bush along the path but be careful as the initial leg is quite steep. Not far past the memorial on the Mount Williams Trail there are some postcard picture taking opportunities of the quint town of Adams. From this point forward you will be constantly bombarded with secondary trains branching off to minor attractions. If these alternative trails are what you are really looking for it is best to research them in advance as some are seasonal.
Although most of the scenery is beautiful, true outcrops for rest stops and picture taking are somewhat sparse along this section of the trail so take advantage when you can. You will know you are reaching the end when you begin to ascend Mount Williams. The climb up can be a bit much for novice hikers so take the hill in moderation. The peek of Mount Williams is about 3,000 feet so do not be surprised of you are out of breath. Atop the peak are majestic views of the Hoosic River valley and rolling mountain peaks.
The second most notable trail in the northern section of Mount Greylock State Reserve is the &39;Overlook Loop&39;. Although only a little more then two and a half miles long the loop offers one specific view that should not be missed. To start follow the Appalachian trail in the opposite direction towards the radio towers. Remember as this trail is not along the Appalachian Trail it is blazed blue not white. Although the first leg of this trail is absent any views the shadow of tall trees can be very refreshing on a summers day. Once you cross Notch Road be on the lookout for a clearing with an unbelievable surprise.
You have now reached what locals call &39;The Hopper&39;. The Hopper is a glacier carved ravine filled with pristine old-growth forest, it just does not get much better than this. As you look west you can see some of the most scenic topography of New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. As you press on you will pass the Bacon Brook which spills into the falls. As you begin your final ascent you have three choices, you can continue on and finish your loop, follow the trail to the local campground or branch off to the Hopper Trail.