Hiking The Southern Section Of Mount Greylock State Reservation
On the far western corner of Massachusetts in the northern tip of the Berkshires lies Mount Greylock State Reservation. This reservation holds over 12,000 acres of pristine New England woodlands, 50 miles of hiking trails and over 1,500 recognized National Natural Landmark acres. Marking the top center of this reservation is the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. At its summit of almost 3,500 feet lies the historic 100 foot tall war memorial and the rustic stone lodge, both almost 100 years old.
Unlike most other hiking areas in the region the southern section of Mount Greylock State Reservation does not use the Appalachian Trail as its core hiking trail and very few significant side trails actually spin off it in this area. One word of caution about the area however is that the trails in this area range from very easy to very difficult. It is not always simple to discern which is which from the trail-head and a novice hiker who has already defeated an easier path may find themselves in trouble if they are not careful.
Probably my favorite trail in the area is the Round Rock Trail. It is a simple one mile round trip hike with a few pleasing extras. Short and sweet this trail is perfect for a quick afternoon hike or to burn off a few calories if you happen to be nearby. Now when most people go nature hiking they specifically do not want to see man made intrusions but two such items make this trail unique especially considering how short it is. If you head uphill from the southern trail entrance you will the first item you will find is the old town marker. Erected in 1912 this pillar designates the New Ashford-Cheshire town line. I know it seems rather plain enough but things like this in the middle of nowhere always catch my interest.
Just a few hundred feet further down the trail you will come across the site of a tragedy. In 1945 a small plane crashed here and all that remains is the rotting frame and a small wooden cross. Although sad one cant help but to ask what the story behind the crash was, did anyone survived or how many perished. I know it is morbid but places like this or an old abandoned house in the middle of nowhere just appeal to the mystery lovers in all of us. By the time you have finished reflecting on the issue you will already be back in the parking area and probably thinking you got a lot out of such a short trail.
Another trail that adds a little man made flavor to the scenic beauty is the old Dynamite Trail. Roughly a mile and a quarter long this trail runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail however the two do intersect at its southern trail-head. Not far from this intersection you will see the old storage box used in the early 30’s to store the dynamite used to carve the roads in the area.
If you are in the mood for more scenic adventures we recommend starting at the top of the southern section at Mount Greylock. Besides the lodge and war memorial the summit itself offers spectacular views. If you follow the trails to the southwest of the mountain you will find at least a half dozen intersecting scenic trails. It is easy to get lost amongst so many intersecting trails however and they do vary in terms of difficult so best to keep a sharp eye.