New England Tri-State Cycling

Mount Greylock
Distance : 37.70 miles.
Time : 4 1/2 hours.
Elevation Gain : 3620 feet.
Difficulty : Strenuous.
Bicycle : Road.
Directions to the Start : This ride begins in North Adams, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Route 2 and Notch Road, by the MT GREYLOCK RESERVATION sign.

Route Description

In northwest Massachusetts.

You ride up Notch Road and at 1.24 miles, after 15 minutes and 390 feet of moderate climbing, turn left following the STATE RESERVATION sign. At 1.93 miles the road levels off as you ride through a meadow, and then it begins to steeply climb again. At 2.50 miles, after 30 minutes and 730 feet of climbing, you reach the park boundary.

This is a moderate climb, but you do occasionally meet extremely steep sections that require you to stand up or to tack back and forth across the road. After an hour and 1700 feet of climbing, you cross the Appalachian Trail. My sense of direction wants Mount Greylock to be at the top of the slope on the left of the road, but at 6.33 miles, you pass a treeless spot where, off to the right, you see Mount Greylock, the storybook valley below it, and the runs of the Brodie Mountain ski area for the first time. A half mile later, you reach a MT GREYLOCK WAR MEMORIAL PARK sign.

Before the 8-mile point, the road levels off somewhat, allowing a shift into a higher gear, and at 8.41 miles you turn left toward the summit and have the first view of Adams, Massachusetts.

At 9.32 miles, after 2 hours and 2840 feet of climbing, you arrive at the 3491-foot summit, the highest point in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Walk your bike along the footpath to the monument, which is really a tower. Open on weekends from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., its 89 damp, steel steps make for an interesting climb, especially in cleated cycling shoes. From the top of the tower you can observe the Massachusetts countryside, including the Jiminy Peak and Brodie Mountain ski areas, and have an especially good view of Adams, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony, and the starting point for a group hike to Mount Greylock every Columbus Day.

After taking in the view, return to the bottom of the tower and coast to the Appalachian Trail Club-maintained hut, which has a snack bar, enclosed tables, and overnight sleeping accommodations.

After a break at the hut, descend via the same route. Usually a fast downhill is the reward for a 2-hour climb, but the road is so bumpy that you must keep the speed down. At 10.17 miles turn left onto the route signed PITTSFIELD, ROUTE 7, and VISITOR CENTER.

At 10.63 miles you cross the Appalachian Trail again, and at the junction at 11.72 miles you veer left.

At 12.15 miles the road levels off and you must resume pedaling. At 13.60 miles you pass the Jones Nose trailhead, begin to climb again, and then descend once more on an especially rough, rippled section.

At 17.37 miles you reach the Visitor Center after 2 1/2 hours and a descent back down to 1630 feet.

At 18.00 miles a sign tells that this road was built in 1907 and was named the Rockwell Road after Francis W. Rockwell a Berkshire County Commissioner.

At 19.73 miles you turn right onto Route 7, which has a lot of traffic, but a wide, smooth shoulder. You climb several hills and pass rest areas at 21.88 and 26.69 miles. At 29.24 miles, in South Williamstown, you turn right, at the"Five Corners" intersection, onto Route 43 North. Five Corners has a store and restaurant built on the spot where Samuel Sloan constructed a tavern in 1767. Route 43 is scenic as you parallel the Green River, cross it several times, and ride past dairy farms. The road is rather narrow, although it has little traffic compared to Route 7.

At 34.04 miles you turn right onto Route 2. This is Massachusetts' Mohawk Trail, a paved highway that follows an old Indian footpath. You pass numerous restaurants and markets and at 37.70 miles return to the Notch Road starting point after 4 1/2 hours and 3620 feet of gain.

View: Trail Map

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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