Mt Greylock -- Up, Down, or Around
  • Where:  Berkshire County, MA.  Mt Greylock (3491 ft elevation) is the highest point in the state of Massachusetts  
  • 46 miles, somewhat hilly (2700 vertical feet, hill index 3.6) -- for the scenic route around Mt Greylock.

66 miles, very hilly (5200 vertical feet, hill index 6.4) -- to go up and down, as well as around Mt Greylock.

  • Highlights:  Views of Mt Greylock, pretty farms, and two historic towns.  Three nice downhills, including the long, long descent down the Hoosic river valley (which drains north and  west into the Hudson).

And for those who must pedal their bike up the mountain, the climb has character and the views from the summit of Mt Greylock are very fine.

  • Characteristics 

Hill climbs:  About 2700 vertical feet of climbing.  The toughest is east from Hancock up Brodie Mountain Road for about 500 feet mostly 4% or less, but steepens to perhaps 8% near the top.  Route 43 south from Williamstown most of the way to Hancock, is a long ascent of the Green River (about 700 feet total), but it starts slowly and is broken up by many rests.

If you also decide to pedal up to the highest point in Massachusetts -- you add a lot more climbing -- about 2500 vertical feet more, for a total of 5200 vertical feet.  About 500 of those feet come at a grade of around 10%, and another 1000 of those feet are at a grade over 7%.

Traffic:  Some high-volume traffic sections on Rt 7 (wide shoulders) and through two towns.  Some other roads with more traffic than we wish (e.g. Rt 43 between Williamstown and Rt 7), but wide enough so we still felt OK riding them.  And many miles which were not "really" quiet, but wide enough for their lower traffic volumes so we felt comfortable.  

Check Reports . . .

. . . especially for the Rockwell Rd on Mt Greylock, since it gets hit by a lot of weather.  Descending it could be difficult or even dangerous with unrepaired potholes or broken-up pavement.

And it might have been a longer time since some of the Variations of the route were last checked by us.  Some roads and intersections might be different since then, or closed -- so be prepared to find alternatives -- a good reason to carry a detailed map. Other people may have more recent experiences with parts of the route which could help prepare: see the Reports page linked below.

Route not checked by us since 2000 -- learn more | see Reports

  • Warning:  Riding a bicycle on roads is risky.  See Notes on Bicycle Road Riding about some of the risks, and also some other helpful ideas.

Route Direction "Cue" Sheet

more . . .

  • Directions to Start: 

By car:  from New York, Route 22 to Stephentown NY, the Route 43 East to Hancock, MA (near the Jiminy Peak ski area).  From Massachusetts, Route 7 North from Pittsfield, then West on Brodie Mountain Road to Route 43.  The Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) goes near both Route 22 and Route 7.

Alternate start points:  Stephentown NY, Pittsfield MA, North Adams MA, Williamstown MA.  

If you start in Williamstown, you get most of the climbing over with in the first half of the ride.  Second best on this strategy is Hancock or Stephentown.

  • Maps:  You should have a detailed road map of Berkshire County, MA (or the Jimapco Western Massachusetts map) to do this route (see Maps).  

Route Direction "Cue" Sheet

Going to the top of Mt Greylock

  • It can be much colder and windier up there -- so consider bringing full-finger gloves, a wind-breaker, and insulating layers for the descent.
  • The climb from the south up Rockwell Rd is actually two sections of climbing, first 1250 ft and then 1150 ft, with a long break (and even some downhill) in between.
  • If you want to see the view from the top of the War Memorial tower, bring non-cleated (or at least recessed cleats) for climbing up and down the narrow, tightly spiraling metal steps.
  • Seems like less traffic on the Rockwell Rd earlier in the morning.
  • Radical variation (untested) -- for "Explorers" with something to prove:  Start in Williamstown, climb Mt Greylock from the North (steeper than from the south), descend to the South, then return through Adams and North Adams. 

More on Planning

  • Direction of Travel -- Although there are some nice descents in either direction, we prefer counter-clockwise (seen from above), for these reasons:  (a) Old Cheshire Rd / Lanesborough Rd can get some significant traffic, so we feel more comfortable taking it faster -- in the downhill direction.  (b) East Rd on the east side of Adams is somewhat suburban, so we enjoy it more at a quicker speed.  (c) Rt 43 between Rt 7 and Hancock is more rural, so we don't mind taking it slowly.

Route Direction "Cue" Sheet

Road Conditions and Trip Reports

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