State Highpoint: Mount Greylock via Bellows Pipe Trail

Take the 5.5-mile trek up Bellows Pipe Trail to the summit, while your there enjoy a local cocktail a cup of chowder at Bascom Lodge.
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Take the 5.5-mile trek up Bellows Pipe Trail to the summit, while your there enjoy a local cocktail a cup of chowder at Bascom Lodge.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once warned his frequent hiking companion and fellow nature lover, Henry David Thoreau, that Mount Greylock was a "serious mountain." Thoreau, of course, climbed it immediately. He summited the 3,491-foot Massachusetts high point via what he described as, in the purplest prose, "a road for the pilgrim to enter upon, who would climb to the gates of heaven." That road is now the 5.5-mile Bellows Pipe Trail.
Hike it by heading 2.2 miles south from North Adams on Notch Road to the trailhead at Notch Gate. The path rises 1,000 feet through the falls-filled ravine between Mt. Greylock and Ragged Mountain. The state's only boreal forest grows here. (Want to make it an overnight? The trail passes a shelter hidden in the pines at mile 2.7.) Link to the Appalachian Trail at mile 3.7 and wind through birch and pines another half-mile to the summit, a flat, open field with a lodge (see right), the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial (built in 1932), and wide-screen views of the rolling Berkshire Mountains.
Thoreau, of course, didn't have it so cush. He bushwhacked the final part of the ascent and slept on the summit under a plank of wood. And he wasn't rewarded with the now-legendary five-state view. It was socked in, or, in more Thoreauvian terms, obscured by an "undulating valley of clouds." In fall, the panorama draws foliage-heads (the majority drive to the summit on the newly restored road). Return the way you came or make an 11-mile loop with the AT and Bernard Farm Trail. Don't like to share? Wait until snowfall to trek—or snowshoe—in total solitude.
--O'rya Hyde-Keller

Note: The route shown on this map is approximate.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.9

Waypoints

TH: Waterton Canyon

Location: 39.490563, -105.09622

South Platte RD, Pike NF

TH: South Platte

Location: 39.400483, -105.167663

South Platte RD, Pike NF

TH: Little Scraggy Peak

Location: 39.34452, -105.257607

South Platte RD, Pike NF

TH: Shinglemill

Location: 39.344604, -105.281408

South Platte RD, Pike NF

TH: Buffalo

Location: 39.341052, -105.339307

South Platte Rd, Pike NF

TH: Rolling Creek

Location: 39.336075, -105.402676

South Platte RD, Pike NF

TH: North Fork

Location: 39.306779, -105.51513

South Park RD, Pike NF

TH: Lost Park

Location: 39.285008, -105.507017

South Park RD, Pike NF

TH: Long Gulch

Location: 39.347043, -105.618439

South Park RD, Pike NF

TH: Rock Creek

Location: 39.362479, -105.687543

South Park RD, Pike NF

TH: Kenosha Pass East

Location: 39.413579, -105.755162

South Platte RD, Pike NF

TH: Georgia Pass

Location: 39.4578, -105.916786

South Park RD, Pike NF

TH: Gold Hill

Location: 39.541273, -106.042139

Dillon RD, White River NF

TH: Miners Creek

Location: 39.533304, -106.097407

Dillon RD, White River NF

TH: Wheeler Flats

Location: 39.510482, -106.14128

Dillon RD, White River NF

TH: Camp Hale

Location: 39.422015, -106.271947

Holy Cross RD, White River NF

TH: Tennessee Pass

Location: 39.362615, -106.311284

Holy Cross RD, White River NF (or Leadville RD, San Isabel NF)

TH: Wurtz Ditch Road

Location: 39.35051, -106.349952

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Bear Lake

Location: 39.301155, -106.407714

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Timberline Lake (CT)

Location: 39.284963, -106.446718

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Hagerman Pass

Location: 39.26974, -106.433873

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Leadville National Fish Hatchery

Location: 39.225171, -106.391921

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Mount Massive

Location: 39.151603, -106.419355

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Mount Elbert

Location: 39.151329, -106.419325

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: South Mount Elbert

Location: 39.099352, -106.367147

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Interlacken

Location: 39.074644, -106.330833

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Clear Creek Road

Location: 39.020719, -106.278695

Leadville RD, San Isabel NF

TH: North Cottonwood Creek

Location: 38.865091, -106.239339

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Avalanche

Location: 38.813841, -106.280629

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

Mount Princeton Hot Springs

Location: 38.734206, -106.164614

TH: Chalk Creek (Bootleg?)

Location: 38.716182, -106.200392

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Browns Creek

Location: 38.671879, -106.161371

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Angel of Shavano

Location: 38.584329, -106.220992

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Mount Shavano

Location: 38.596442, -106.196463

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: US-50 South Fooses Creek

Location: 38.543332, -106.242814

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Marshall Pass

Location: 38.394948, -106.247537

Salida RD, San Isabel NF

TH: Cameron Park

Location: 38.30108, -106.36246

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Sargents Mesa

Location: 38.285844, -106.377782

Saguache RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: Razor Park

Location: 38.293257, -106.516169

Saguache RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: Lujan Creek Road

Location: 38.239522, -106.55799

Saguache RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: CO-114

Location: 38.225224, -106.585822

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Cochetopa Pass

Location: 38.161438, -106.620861

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Eddiesville

Location: 38.025587, -106.835777

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Stewart Creek

Location: 38.02459, -106.841289

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: San Luis Pass

Location: 37.938427, -106.960691

Divide RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: Spring Creek

Location: 37.94018, -107.158351

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Camp Trail

Location: 37.916703, -107.332609

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Williams Creek

Location: 37.923892, -107.33411

Gunnison RD, Gunnison NF

TH: Carson Saddle

Location: 37.85622, -107.368355

Divide RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: Stoney Pass

Location: 37.794779, -107.547741

Divide RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: Hunchback

Location: 37.712423, -107.517959

Divide (Creede) RD, Rio Grande NF

TH: Elk Creek

Location: 37.727044, -107.6468

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Molas Pass

Location: 37.747706, -107.687798

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Little Molas Lake

Location: 37.743838, -107.71067

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Bolam Pass

Location: 37.713413, -107.903423

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Hotel Draw

Location: 37.649714, -107.956982

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Kennebec Pass

Location: 37.451529, -108.011312

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Junction Creek Camp

Location: 37.337101, -107.919431

Columbine RD, San Juan NF

TH: Junction Creek

Location: 37.333962, -107.907893

Columbine RD, San Juan NF