Berkshire County High Point Trip Report

Mt Greylock (3,491 ft)

Date: December 8, 2002
Author: Jeff Runder

Mount Greylock, the state highpoint, is located in the Mount Greylock State Reservation. It can be easily reached by road in the summer, however, it is a bit more difficult in the winter, unless you have a snowmobile. The shortest, and consequently steepest, route is the Thunderbolt Trail. It climbs the eastern side of the mountain, starting near the town of Adams. The Thunderbolt Trail was originally a CCC built ski trail, but I believe its current course has been somewhat altered from the original. The trailhead and several other of the reservation's trailheads can be reached by traveling south on Highway 8 from the town of North Adams. On the northern side of the town of Adams, veer southwest onto Friend Street, follow this road, which becomes West Road, approximately 1.5 miles to Gould Road. Turn west on Gould Road. Shortly Gould Road turns south and Thiel Road continues straight. Thiel Road was not plowed but was relatively flat and passable in a passenger car. There is an excellent view of Mount Greylock from Thiel Road. The Thunderbolt Trailhead is less than half a mile down the road.

The Thunderbolt Foot Trail climbs gently west winding through the forest south of Hoxie Brook, with the snow cover it was somewhat obscure in its lower stretches. I believe the old Thunderbolt Ski Trail continues from the end of Thiel Road and does cross Hoxie Brook. To Stay on the foot trail stay south of the brook. Eventually, the foot trail will intersect the old ski trail. At about the one mile mark, the trail becomes considerably steeper and heads northwesterly towards the summit ridge. This stretch is quite broad and does appear to be a narrow, steep, tree-lined ski run. It would be a black diamond run, thought it doesn't look overly treacherous if one could avoid hitting a tree. Apparently, there is a nearby power line cut which leads straight down from just south of the Greylock summit, which is also occasionally skied. At about the 1.5 mile mark the trail reaches the summit ridge. It levels considerably and bears southwest to the summit. This last stretch is approximately half a mile and affords a fine view of the monument on the summit, or at least it did before clouds and heavy snow blew in. The trail passes a small stone shelter, and the summit road on the way to the top. The noise from snowmobiles somewhat detracted from the experience near the summit. The summit's southern slopes have been cleared and would allow views to the south weather permitting, the northern views are partially blocked by low coniferous trees. The monument/lighthouse may be the finest construction on any state highpoint, excepting New Jersey.

The total vertical via this route is approximately 2,275 feet in about two miles. Snow conditions varied from under a foot at the base, two over two feet in sheltered areas on the summit ridge. Most of the snow had been blown from the immediate vicinity of the highpoint.