My friend Matt, author of The Word of Zupka, and I recently climbed Mount Greylock via the seldom traveled Gould Trail. The combination of perfect weather, a new trail and time with an old friend made this a great day of hiking indeed.
At only 3,491 feet, Greylock has a pretty big reputation. Some say its shape inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. It also provided plenty of inspiration to Nathaniel Hawthorn and Henry David Thoreau. Additionally, the mountain’s commanding height allows for views of the Green Mountains, the Catskill and even the White Mountains. It has even been said that Greylock has some of the best views in the eastern United States. Greylock also has huge number of trails that ascend its slopes; each with a distinct alpine flavor.
We picked the Gould Trail because it has a steep approach which climbs 2,100 feet in 3.2 miles. It is also on a side of the mountain with few hikers. We arrived at the Gould Trail parking lot on West Mountain road in Adams, MA to find no other cars, blue skies and a terrific view. All those things added up to suggest that this was going to be a good day.
This trailhead is particularly awesome because you can see the Greylock summit right from the parking area.
|which way is the Gould Trail?|
We quickly found the Gould Trail to be an elusive path. Many trails seemed to converge in the wood, all of them were well traveled and none of them said Gould Trail. We took the first well-traveled path which quickly led us into an open field where we were surrounded by ferns and chest high grass. We knew the Gould Trail was lesser traveled but not to this degree! We turned around and amongst the labyrinth of trails we found a sign for the Gould Trail accompanied by a blue marker. If you set your mind to hike the Gould Trail then head straight over the bridge from the parking lot and take you’re first left onto the blue marked trail.
The Gould Trail immediately begins climbing at a steady and sustained pitch. At first the surroundings are a dense forest with no significant views. I can see why this hike is not the most popular on the mountain but the steady climbing sure put a smile on my face.
The forest took on more of an old growth appearance as we neared the junction with the road and the Appalachian Trail. This is the kind of scenery that I imagine when I think of the Berkshires. Once we hit the road the Gould Trail ended.
Thankfully the Appalachian Trail was right across the street to take us to the summit. The AT section of the climb was a beautiful, wide and root strewn trail that oozed Berkshire awesomeness.
A few minutes, and 1 or 2 moderate pitches later, the summit came into view.
The Sun dominated a nearly cloudless sky which meant we had plenty of time to relax, feast on PBJs, and take in the view that we had earned.
At some points we even had the summit all to ourselves which is extremely rare for Greylock.
Eventually we decided to descend via the AT back to the Gould Trail. The descent on most hikes is sad because each step leads you closer to the parking lot and the end of the hike, but the Gould Trail is different. For some reason the trail was substantially more scenic on the way down. We saw hollowed out trees and forest eye candy that we somehow didn’t notice on the way up.
We soon found ourselves back at the parking lot. We only saw 2 other parties of hikers during our entire time on the Gould Trail. I had a great time on this hike. If you are looking for a new flavor of Mount Greylock then I highly recommend the Gould Trail.