Mount Greylock: the highest peak in Massachusetts. A beautiful, moderately strenuous loop starting at the Haley Farm trailhead, winding up through the Sperry Road camping area, crossing the Appalachian Trail, and eventually leading to a stunning peak. Views are spectacular on a clear day. The trek down brings you back through the camping area to a scenic overlook at Stony Ledge, and finally to the trailhead via the Haley Farm Trail. The overall hike took us about 8 hours, with many stops for rests, pictures, food, and peeing. Total length is measured at about 8.2 miles, with an elevation gain of 2,300 feet. We took this hike just as winter was approaching, so there was quite a bit of ice and snow at the top. Do not attempt this hike in winter conditions without proper knowledge and appropriate gear.
On a beautiful Veteran’s Day weekend, we headed up to Greylock for our first hike together. To locate the trailhead, we simply entered “Hopper Rd Williamstown, MA 01267” into Google Directions and we were on our way. We couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted a “Goat Sperm Collection” truck passing us on the highway—a good omen for sure. As we neared our destination, we followed Hopper Rd., bearing left at its fork with Potter Road. We drove all the way to its end where we parked across from a cute little farm with a bunch of talkative cows. While on Hopper Rd. we were able to catch a glimpse of Greylock to our left and even spotted the memorial tower at the top.
After parking, we walked to the trailhead directly at the end of the road. The blue trail markers were easy to find, and the trail was very well maintained. We passed the Haley Farm Trail (the first opening to our right) and eventually bore right (the second opening) onto the Hopper Trail at its fork with the Money Brook Trail. The trail was deceiving at first as it gradually sloped upward and turned towards the south. The hike began to get much steeper after we passed the other end of the Muddy Brook trail, which sloped down on our left. This was the steepest section of the hike in our opinion, but was easier to accomplish thanks to the large amount of traction the rocky ground provided.
We began to turn east as the ground leveled out. Campsites started popping up around us as we reached the Sperry Road camping area. Once we hit the road, we turned left and followed it past the check-in area and some baby waterfalls. Eventually we re-found the Hopper Trail, which turned left back up into the woods. We made another left at the top of the hill and continued straight on level ground. Taking a right at the fork with the Overlook Trail brought us upwards once again. This time it was a little harder for us because parts of the trail had flooded with ice-melt and were very wet and slippery. We passed the summit road on our right and continued on, keeping left at the Cheshire Harbor and Appalachian Trail connection, continuing on the Hopper.
Here’s where things got cool! Log bridges now covered the path, leading us safely over muddy patches of trail and eventually popping us out at an old artificial lake and pump house. This spot looked great with some snow still on the ground. Continuing straight we ended up on the road. Across it to the left was where our trail resumed and the final stretch to the peak.
This bit was slow going, as the cold temperatures in the higher altitude caused a lot of ice, but eventually we made it to the top safely. The surrounding snow complimented the memorial tower beautifully and the expansive overlooks beyond it. Sadly, we discovered that the tower is closed during the off-season, so we didn’t get to see the famed 360-degree views from the top. We ate our lunches here, outside the Bascom Lodge, before retracing our steps all the way back down to the Sperry Road camping area.
From here, instead of hiking back down the Hopper Trail, we followed the road as it zigzagged through the forest. (Side note: if you are uncomfortable peeing outdoors, hold it until you pass the Hopper Trail. Port-a-potties will magically appear on your right–Katie learned this the hard way). After a quick bathroom break, we followed the road to the Stony Ledge Overlook. The view here was probably the most spectacular on the journey because it gave us a unique perspective of just how much we had accomplished that day.
From our spot looking at Greylock we turned left to follow the Stony Ledge Trail. As we walked past a shelter on our right, the trail became slightly more difficult to navigate, so we kept a good eye out for markers. After venturing downward, leaving the shelter behind us, we took a right onto the Haley Farm Trail. Eventually, we caught a glimpse of Haley Farm and the parking lot through the trees as we switched our way down the mountain. We took a left when our trail connected back with the Hopper Trail and retraced our steps from that morning back to the car. Then we reassumed our positions in modern society by having dinner at a chain restaurant. The waitress gave us free desserts, probably because we looked so dirty and tired. Roughing it has its advantages!