Cycling Mt. Greylock South (Lanesborough)
Ride 8.9 miles gaining 2,279’ at 4.5% average grade.
“The south side of Mount Greylock is a bit longer but quite a bit less steep than its north side. A few solid ramps early on are interspersed with long stretches of shallow climbing over its middle core. At mile 8.7 you reach the junction of the north side approach on your left but keep straight. Towards the top you will again find a bit more solid grade and long views on clear days. The climb soon ends as the road ends near the top of the mountain.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 71)
We ride on Rockwell Road from the ride’s start to the turn to the summit at mile 8.1.
What a beautiful ride. We love Mt. Greylock, from either the north of south.
Photo left: PJAMM App; Photo right: Rockwell Road mile 4.8.
There is the perception (misconception?) that the north side is by far the harder approach to Mt. Greylock. In my opinion, this is not altogether true. When visiting the east coast for our fall color tour I invited my friend Sarah who is attending Smith College nearby. She had just started cycling, but is a strong cyclist. I suggested we ride up the north approach but she had been told that Greylock from the north is much harder than from the south. We decided to ride from the south in October, 2020. Sarah had no difficulty with the south side and I don’t think she would have had any trouble riding from the north, either.
Comparative stats for the two climbs:
- 9 miles, 5.7% average grade, gaining 2,772’
- Steepest: ¼ mile = 12.2%; ½ mile = 10.9%; mile = 10.2%
- 8.9 miles, 4.5% average grade, gaining 2,279’
- Steepest: ¼ mile = 11.9%; ½ mile = 11.1%; mile = 9.9%
Note on Greylock South average grade: The Fiets index that we use to rank climbs does not account for descents or flat sections of a climb. There is a 2.5 mile -0.2% segment of Greylock South (mile 3.3 to 5.8) that drives the average grade down. If you remove the flat section, the remaining 6.4 miles average 5.9%.
Visitor Center at mile 0.9.
The southern approach to Mt. Greylock is the more scenic route and also has the Mt. Greylock Visitor Center at mile 0.9 of the ride. On this route we also pass several streams running down from the hillside and some nice scenic observation points.
First third of the climb.
Middle section of the climb.
Final section of the climb to the turn to the summit at mile 8.
Adams Overlook 6/10’s of a mile from the top.
MT. GREYLOCK SUMMIT
The Veterans World War I Memorial Tower was approved by the Massachusetts state legislature in 1930 and built 1931-1932 with an operating beacon that could be seen for 70 miles.
The Appalachian Trail crosses the top of Mt. Greylock.
There is a topographical model of the area at the top with informative inscription and plaques.
The Memorial Tower also has informative plaques displayed on it.
Bascom Lodge at the summit
MT. GREYLOCK FROM THE AIR
Appalachian Trail middle, Rockwell Road right.
Appalachian trail appears in the second half of the clip
MT. GREYLOCK NORTH
At 9 miles, gaining 2,772’, at 5.7% average grade, Mt. Greylock North is the most difficult bike climb in Massachusetts. The steepest quarter mile is 12.2% and one mile averages 10.2%.