Terrain By State: Massachusetts
The Appalachian Trail here leads through the Berkshires. Pleasant stretches through wooded hills and valleys feature such outstanding peaks as Mt. Greylock and Mt. Everett, and the Trail passes through several small New England towns. Water is plentiful.
Several summits and ledges provide views, and there are long, flat sections atop the Berkshire Plateau quite different from the dry ridgewalks of the mid-Atlantic and Virginias. Ascents, though sometimes steep, are seldom sustained.
New England has the most extensive bus service close to the Trail; in Massachusetts, bus service is available in towns adjacent to the Trail along Route 7, which roughly parallels the A.T. between Kent, Connecticut, and Rutland, Vermont.
Difficulty Ratings for A.T. Sections
Because the A.T. spans a great variety of terrain, ranging from relatively flat and easy, to extremely difficult, the following scale was created as a general guide:
1 = Flat and smooth
2 = Flat terrain but uneven treadway, or slight elevation change
3 = Moderate elevation change, but well graded trail, or flat trail with very rough treadway
4 = Strenuous climbs, but of moderate duration, or short but steep climbs
5 = Lengthy graded climbs, alternating with easier sections
6 = Extended climbs that may last hours or shorter climbs with difficult footing
7 = Includes rock scrambling that is relatively easy and of short duration
8 = Includes rock scrambling that is somewhat challenging
9 = Rock scrambling that is difficult and extended
10 = Use of hands required for extended periods of climbing, footing precarious, and leaping may be required — not recommended for those with fear of heights and not in good physical condition. Shorter hikers may be at a disadvantage