The highest park in the state, and the oldest, Mount Greylock has held its own legends long before J.K. Rowling named it the site of the oldest wizarding school in North America.

The summit is an island of taiga-boreal forest — home to striped maple and red spruce, ravens and moose. The park covers some 12,500 acres and more than 70 miles of trails, and at 3,491 feet the summit is the highest point in the state. Looking at the plants and animals who live there, hiking from the base to the top is like walking from Pennsylvania to Northern Maine.

Many trailheads head up from the feet of mountain or begin partway up, including Greylock Glen in Adams, the Hopper up behind Mount Hope Park in Williamstown and the visitors center in Lanesborough, which is also one of the main entrances to the road up to the summit. From May to October you can drive up and hike down or camp halfway in between.

From the valley, you’ll know the peak by the tower on the ridge — a lighthouse dedicated as a World War I Memorial in 1932. And at the peak you can sit by the fire in Bascom Lodge, a 1930s WPA stone and timber hall.

From the meadow there, you can look out on ways traveled for centuries between the Connecticut River and the Moheaconneuk, the tidal river now also called the Hudson. Today through hikers cross it on the Appalachian Trail, and a 150 years ago Herman Melville thought it looked like the back of a sperm whale surfacing to breathe. From his desk at Arrowhead farm, he could see the ridge line as he sat down to write Moby-Dick.

Mount Greylock trails

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