Hold on to your hats, people, due to the fact you are about to embark on a wild ride recognized as the Massachusetts Appalachian Trail. Right after hundreds of rolling mid-Atlantic miles, the longer views and greater elevations of the Berkshires make the Bay State really feel memorably distinct. This gem of a section starts (or ends) on the rocky slopes of Bear Mountain at the Connecticut border. For 91 miles, you will traverse rugged peaks and soothing seas of conifers, discover charming New England towns and dip in cool swimming holes. What’s not to like?
It is fitting that Massachusetts starts on the slopes of Bear Mountain—after all, it is a bear of a state. Compared to the mid-Atlantic and Connecticut, climbs in Massachusetts are usually longer and much better graded. That stated, this state nonetheless has its share of abrupt ups and downs. Mount Everett in the southern element of the state poses a challenge due to its steepness and rockiness, even though Mount Greylock up north is formidable mostly due to the fact of its size.
Hikers will contend with lots of elevation alter and rocky tread all through the section. There is one particular notably mild stretch in between Lee and Dalton, about 15 miles lengthy. Take anything you study right here with a grain of salt, of course there’s no way to know what sections you will come across challenging or quick on a provided day.
Mile 1508.three: Sage’s Ravine
Just previous the Connecticut border, a stream tumbles into a shallow bedrock gully through a series of cascades and deep pools. This is Sages Ravine, and we believe it is fairly epic. The ravine’s cooling waters beckon to potential swimmers, even though the music of the cascades reverberates gently off of slick stone. It is a ideal spot to consume lunch and rest sore knees just after descending Bear Mountain. The AT hugs the stream bank for about .three miles, providing you lots of time to soak in its majesty.
Mile 1511.9: Mount Race
As you climb Mount Race, the wealthy soil and resplendent forest of the decrease elevations provides way to naked bedrock and low, shrubby vegetation. You will be in a position to take in a veritable ocean of trees, ponds, and pastures on this vertiginous .six-mile ridge stroll.
Mile 1513.7: Mount Everett
Right after rocketing steeply down the north face of Mount Race, the AT quickly starts climbing once more, this time to the summit of Mount Everett. The steep, unrelenting slab stroll to the prime of Everett is the only calf exercise you will ever have to have. For these asking yourself what New Hampshire’s White Mountains are like, this hike is a superior indicator. At the prime, you will be in a position to delight in fairly Berkshire views and discover the foundation of an old fire tower that as soon as stood on the summit.
Mile 1521.: Final Battle of Shays’ Rebellion
In 1786 and 1787, disgruntled Massachusetts citizens mounted an uprising against the fledgling US government’s taxation policies. The rebellion led to the Constitutional Convention and in the end to the birth of our present Constitution. The AT passes by means of the internet site of this historic rebellion’s final battle, and a stone marker alongside the trail commemorates it.
Mile 1522.eight: Terrific Barrington
Terrific Barrington is bigger and a lot more created than your typical trail town. It attributes a bustling downtown region with a multitude of dining and lodging selections, along with some of the friendliest townsfolk you will ever meet.
Mile 1542.four: Jerusalem Rd. Farm Stand
An idyllic farm stand bedecked with a massive AT symbol greets hikers emerging from the woods close to Tyringham, MA. The stand is not manned, but if it is unlocked you can leave funds in an honor box in exchange for snacks, drinks, and farm-fresh goodies. In lieu of a logbook, the owners present chalk so that hikers can sign their names on the shack’s interior walls.
Mile 1550.five: Upper Goose Pond Cabin
If you are prepared to make a half-mile detour off trail, Upper Goose Pond Cabin will reward you generously. The picturesque red cabin attributes a dock for swimming and canoes that are cost-free for hikers to use. If you are fortunate, you might even be the beneficiary of one particular of the caretaker’s fabled pancake breakfasts.
Mile 1571.1: Dalton and Pittsfield
Right after some 15 miles of somewhat flat walking, the white blazes will lead you straight down the most important street of one particular Dalton, Massachusetts. Dalton is the epitome of a charming New England town, replete with pizzerias and ice cream parlors. For hikers hunting for an adventurous side trip, the nearby town of Pittsfield has an Amtrak station with service to Boston.
Mile 1588.1: Mount Greylock
Mount Greylock is the highest peak in the state of Massachusetts at three,491 feet above sea level. The climb is not overwhelmingly steep, but it is long—eight miles from base to summit (northbound). The wide, grassy summit is an perfect spot for picnics, naps, and epic photo shoots. What’s a lot more, you can see 5 states from the prime of the stone veterans’ memorial tower that adorns the summit. Camping atop Greylock is prohibited, but the Bascom Lodge at the summit does offer you private rooms and bunks.
Far more From This Series
All mileages taken from The 2019 AT Northbound Guide, by David “AWOL” Miller
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