Mount Greylock is an easily accessible high point, being the tallest point in the state of Massachusetts. While in the summer you can drive to the top, in the winter they only way up is by foot.
We hiked to the top of Mount Greylock on a cold January day, but are so glad we got to visit the high point. Since the only way up is by hiking, it felt like we had the entire mountain to ourselves! This guide will give you all the information you need to hike to the top of Mount Greylock.
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About Mount Greylock
Mount Greylock is the tallest point in Massachusetts at a height of 3,489 feet tall. It is part of the Taconic Mountain Range. The Appalachian Trail crosses over Mount Greylock and is a popular spot for tourists year round. Around half of the year, you can drive to the top of Mount Greylock, but the mountain road is closed in the winter due to icy conditions.
How to Get to Mount Greylock
The best (and only) way to get to Mount Greylock is by driving. Mount Greylock is closest to the town of Adams.
In the summer you can drive to the top of Mount Greylock. At the top of the mountain there is parking in the summer.
To get to Mount Greylock in the winter, you need to hike to the top. There are few different trailheads you could park at to start the hike, so it depends on which route you plan on taking to the top. We parked at the Bellows South parking lot which was a good size and a good place to park. Various trailheads and where to park are described below.
Best Hiking Route to the Top of Mount Greylock
There are a ton of variations of hikes to the top of Mount Greylock. Some trails are better in the winter than others. I have only included trails that can be hiked in the winter here.
Mount Greylock via Bellows Pipe and Gould Trail
This trail is 6.3 miles and is a loop that includes the summit of Mount Greylock. This trail starts from the South Bellows parking lot. We took this hike counter-clockwise and thought that this was definitely the best way. We really liked this trail because it had a lot of variety and we felt that we got to see all that the mountain had to offer. The trail weaves up through the forest and follows a creek for much of the trail.
The trail passes Bellows Pipe Lean-to on the way which was a nice place for us to stop and take a little break out of the snow and ice. As you continue up the trail, eventually you will merge with the Appalachian Trail until the summit. Close to the summit there is an emergency overnight shelter, which also makes a nice place to step into to get out of the snow and wind for a snack and drink. It allowed us to warm up a little bit before continuing onto the summit.
At the top, there is a large Veterans Memorial. In the summer you can go inside the memorial, but in the winter everything is closed. If the weather is clear here, you can get a great view and it is said that you can see 5 states from the viewpoint. It was very cloudy when we visited, so there wasn’t much to see in terms of views, but it was still worth visiting.
There is a lodge at the top, but it is closed in the wintertime as well.
On the way down the trail, there is a little spur that takes you to a little cabin on a pond surrounded by pine trees. This was my favorite part of the entire hike. It was so peaceful and serene.
Continue down the mountain and make sure to follow all of the signage. There is a nice waterfall close to the end of the hike. Eventually you will reach the trailhead from the other direction. I liked this trail because it was a loop and there was so many different things to see. I recommend this route if you plan on hiking to the top of Mount Greylock in the winter.
Mount Greylock vis Bellows Pipe Trail
This hike is 6.0 miles and is another good winter option. This trail is very similar to the trail above, except that it is just an out-and-back trail. The trail starts at the South Bellows Trailhead. The first half of the trail is the same as above and when you reach the summit, you will turn around and come back the way you came.
Cheshire Harbor Trail to Mount Greylock
This trail is 6.2 miles and starts from the Cheshire Harbor Trailhead on the east side of the mountain. It is an out-and-back trail.
Gould Trail to Mount Greylock
This trail is 6.7 miles and is an out-and-back trail starting from the South Bellows trailhead. It is the second half of the trail described in depth above (Mount Greylock via Bellows Pipe and Gould Trail). This trail passes a waterfall at the beginning and also has a spur to see a pond with cabin beside it.
Mount Williams, Mount Fitch, Mount Greylock, and Stony Ledge
This hike is 12.4 miles and is the most challenging included on this list. Part of what makes it challenging is the distance and elevation gain in the cold winter months. The hike starts from Haley Farm Trailhead. Part of this trail is on the Appalachian Trail, which will have white blazes. The trail summits Mount Williams and Mount Fitch, but both are covered in trees and do not have expansive views. If you are looking for a major winter challenge, then this might be the hike for you.
Tips for Winter Hiking at Mount Greylock
Microspikes are absolutely necessary to hike to the top of Mount Greylock in the winter. The trail is super icy throughout and will require microspikes most of the way. We were slipping and (almost) falling even with microspikes, so I cannot imagine hiking to the top of Mount Greylock in the winter without them.
Be prepared with more gear than you think you’ll need
The top of Mount Greylock is much colder than at the base. At the trailhead, there was hardly any snow, but around halfway up the trail, everything turned to ice and it snowed. At the top it was very windy and cold. We were freezing at the top and it was definitely at least a 40 degree temperature difference from bottom of the mountain to the top.
Bring plenty of water
In the winter, you may not feel as thirsty as in the summer, but it is essential you hydrate well. It is really easy to get dehydrated in the winter. Make sure you have enough water with you for the whole trip plus extra. Also, have a plan for keeping your water unfrozen when hiking in cold temperatures. When we hiked Mount Greylock, one of our water bottles completely froze, so we were glad that we brought extra water since one of the bottles was completely unusable.
Essential Gear for Winter Hiking at Mount Greylock
Mittens have been a total gamechanger for us in the winter. Unlike gloves that go around each of your fingers, mittens let your fingers share their warmth and overall keep your hands warmer. Wearing mittens, my hands stay warm the whole time. As someone, with hands that are always cold, I have been thrilled to use mittens. Here are pair on Amazon that are similar to what I wear on the trail.
As stated above, microspikes are essential to have winter hiking at Mount Greylock (or really anywhere in the northeast). They are really easy to fit on any boot and just stretch over the shoe, leaving the spikes on the bottom of your shoe. They help you to grip the snow and ice, preventing sliding and falling. Here is a pair on Amazon that are similar to the type we have.
Layers of warm gear
Make sure that you have many layers of warm gear. The best way to stay warm outside in the winter is to have man layers that you can easily put on and take off. I am definitely not a professional outside, especially in the winter, but have learned a lot over the past few years. Wearing thinner layers rather than one giant layer will end up keeping you so much warmer.
I prefer having a puffy coat as they are really warm and help regulate your temperature in the cold weather, but they also pack down really small to easily fit in your pack.
Things to Do Nearby Mount Greylock
The town of Lenox is an adorable little Berkshires town with cafes and botiques. We stayed in Lenox during our stay in Massachusetts. Places to check out include Pizzeria Boema (literally the BEST pizza), Bagels and Brew, and Chocolate Springs Café.
Adams is the closest town to some of the popular trailheads of Mount Greylock. It is the birthplaces of Susan B. Anthony.
North Adams is north of Mount Greylock and is an artsy town. There are a ton of galleries all around, but definitely visit the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). Natural Bridge State Park would also be nice to check out.
Pittsfield is the largest town in the area and you can find most things you need. Places to visit are the Berkshire Museum and Mass Audubon Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary.
Traveling to the northeast? Check out some of my other posts of nearby places!
I hope that this guide helps you to plan an awesome day hiking to the top of Mount Greylock in the winter! If you have any questions or comments, please let me know below!
Thanks for reading!