South of Williamstown, Massachusetts’s tallest peak is the centerpiece of 12,500-acre Mount Greylock State Reservation, one of the state’s largest and most popular possessions. More than 70 miles of trails, including some thigh-burning mountain-bike routes, wander along the reforested slopes, most of which were heavily logged for timber and charcoal back in the 19th century. Rock ledges provide great views of the Hoosic River Valley to the east and the Housatonic Valley to the south, when the namesake mists aren’t keeping the 3,491-foot summit wadded up in a damp ball of dingy cotton. The $21.3 million reconstruction project has been a complete success, and during warm months, access is a cinch: Century-old Notch Road snakes its way up through the birch and spruce from Route 2 on the north side, while Rockwell Road ascends more gently from US-7 along the flanks of Greylock’s southern neighbors; you’ll enjoy the most scenic, drivable mountain ascent in New England. Keep in mind that both roads are narrow, enlivened by occasional hairpin turns, and—especially at dusk—prone to wandering wildlife.
If you want to see over the forest, climb the 93-foot Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower on the summit. If the weather is good, you’ll have a panoramic view from New Hampshire to Connecticut. A stone’s throw from the granite tower is the Bascom Lodge (917/680-0079, private rooms around $125, shared bunks $35 and up per person), a beautiful old stone and timber structure that offers private rooms, shared bunk rooms, and good food (and showers!).