Route: Tour du Greylock (MA)

Submitted by Jay Durand on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 03:10pm
Location
Massachusetts, US
Distance
28.4 mi
Vertical Gain
7500 ft
Description

This route circumnavigates all of Mt. Greylock, hitting what I believe to be the most important waypoints along the way.  An ascent of the mountain, followed by a big loop to the north and to the west, a second summit, then a second loop back to the west and to the south  Three major climbs and almost 8000 total feet of gain. 

The route begins and ends at the Greylock Glen in Adams, MA. 

Trails taken include:

  • Bellows South to the "Four Corners" intersection
  • Thunderbolt Ski Trail; almost 1400 feet of vertical climb in one mile (one of the steepest climbs in Berkshire County)
  • Small out-and-back to the summit via the Appalachian Trail, before descending to North Adams via Bellows Pipe
  • Bernard Farm Trail, past the site of a tragic 1988 plane crash (the wreckage remains, a few feet off trail), back to another short section of the AT
  • AT to Mt. Williams, the over to Prospect Mountain for another short out-and-back
  • Money Brook Trail to Money Brook Falls, then back to the Hopper
  • Climbing Haley Farm Trail to the Stony Ledge overlook, then onto Hopper Trail, to Overlook Trail, back to the summit
  • The last ~9 miles mostly follows the end of the Greylock Half Marathon route (Western Mass Athletic Club); CCC Dynamic Trail to Jones Nose (which, years ago, was covered with blueberry bushes; locals loved coming up "to pick Jones Nose").  Onto Old Adams Road, onto Cheshire Harbor, and back to the start/finish.

Overall - super-challenging, lots of climbing but some nice runnable bits as well.  Lots of climbing; two full ascents of Greylock and a third up Mt. Williams.  Most of trails are very technical (rocks, roots, narrow).  Crossing the borders of six towns/cities.  A few river crossings.  But a few more runnable stretches, especially the Bellows Pipe section to North Adams (gorgeous!) and the last ~4 miles.  

Note that the intentions of the loop were to minimize the use of the Appalachian Trail; folks come to the area to hike the AT already - I wanted to show off some of the OTHER gorgeous trails we are lucky to have.

GPS Track

Comments

Is this an established and well known route? Or is this more of a day-hike that you submitted as an FKT route? I'm a little confused on this.

Also, the vertical gain is expressed as 7600m when it should be 7458 ft according to your GPX file. I hate to be that guy but 7600m vs 7458 ft is a difference of more than 17,000 ft.

"The route is notable and distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it."

I believe this to be true to folks who are looking for places to explore in western Massachusetts.  I've spent the summer with the goal of figuring out the best, most interesting way to do a complete loop around out biggest local landmark, and want to share that with folks.  Lots of spectacular scenery, interesting landmarks, challenging, technical trails.  And, someone has to go first!    

I have no idea what you're talking about in terms of meters; the total vert, as per Strava, was just about 7700 feet, I've never claimed otherwise.  

Jay,

Thanks for the reply. I think the foot/meter problem was resolved shortly after I posted the comment, I should've waited for the correction rather than posting the comment. I was a just confused when it was almost 25,000 vertical feet! All good! Congrats!

Hi Maclean,

     Maybe you were unaware, but routes are approved by the site administrators before they are posted.  Are you from this area?  28 miles with 8k of climb in 7:45 on those trails is a heck of hike, you must be an impressive hiker!  If you have concerns about this FKT, I'm sure Peter and Buzz would be happy to discuss it with you.  Maybe they'll ask for your assistance in determining the merits of routes.  You should look through all the other FKT's.  I've been thinking of doing an FKT in this area for years, but never got around to it.  The trails are amazing, The Greylock half marathon is one of my favorite trail races, and the one year they had a marathon at Greylock, that may be best trail marathon I've ever run, which is why I've been thinking about a FKT route out there.  Thanks, Jay!  

Ben,

When I was looking over the route initially the course was expressed in vertical meters rather than vertical feet. My confusion and commentary stemmed from there. This is a great course and an incredible time set by Jay. 

 

Watching you guys tear up that mountain during the Greylock Half was my introduction to this crazy sport, which is part of why this loop and this mountain is so important to me.  I stand in awe of what you guys are able to do, and I'm just happy to ride in your wake!  It would be an absolute honor for you to come out this way, run this loop and beat my time just as badly (or even worse!) than Iain did - that's what it's all about.

I am absolutely stoked to see Iain destroy my time!  I'm proud of my effort but I know there are lots of folks that are faster than me - but I absolutely love these trails, I love this mountain, and I am stoked to see some elite guys come out and appreciate them as well.  Great work!