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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Negus Mountain(Northern Berkshires)

Some hikes simply don't get the publicity they deserve, and 1778 foot Negus Mountain located in the town of Charlemont in the Northern Berkshires is certainly one of them.  I had seen some open rock on Negus while hiking Todd Mountain last summer and have had it on my radar ever since.  While doing some research on this peak, I discovered that there is a trail that climbs up and over the mountain, but information is very minimal.  So I took it upon myself to explore this rugged peak myself.  Parking is located off of Zoar Road on an unmarked side road just prior to a bridge crossing over the Deerfield River.  There is no trail signage but you continue on foot to the end of the road where you will come to a wooden fence. Just beyond the fence are railroad tracks, which you need to cross.  Once across the tracks you will see trail markers.  Elevation here is about 750 feet.
 The trail is well marked and it begins climbing immediately...and quite steeply.
 This is probably one of, if not the, steepest trails in Western Massachusetts.
 The climbing was actually quite fun and quickly began providing views back down towards Zoar Road behind you.
 Ascending.
 A lot of the ascent is on bare rock, which is marked in blue blazes.
 Just when you begin to catch your breath the climbing gets steep again. 
 From an open rock I found a great view of Todd Mountain's twin summits directly to the south.
 A look down towards the Deerfield River and Zoar Road provides a glimpse of just how steep it is.
 Once the trail arrives at an open shoulder, there is a spectacular view of Negus Mountain's rocky south sub summit.
 From the shoulder towards the sub summit is almost entirely open hiking, with fantastic views alla round. 
 Continuing on towards the sub summit, which felt more like High Peaks hiking than a 1778 foot mountain normally would.
 This was a phenomenal hike and much better than expected.
 Great, fun hiking on open rock.
 A view to the east towards Berkshire East ski slopes beyond Todd Mountain's slopes.
 Hiking along the rocky spine.
 A large gravel pit and Deerfield River highlight he view to the west.
 Wide open hiking with raptors soaring on the thermals all around me.
 The Bear Swamp Reservoir can be seen to the northwest.
 Continued along the ridge through open hardwoods towards the true summit bump with a clearing and fire pit.
 A zoom view west into the valley from the clearing near the summit.  Looking closely you can spot the steeple in Florida as well as the Eastern Summit clearing a bit further beyond.
 The true 1778 foot summit of Negus Mountain.  Coincidentally it is fully wooded and is located a short bushwhack off the trail.  I turned back here, retracing my steps back off the mountain.
 From the true summit bump is a nice view back towards the ridge line that I had just hiked to the south.
 The Deerfield River, snaking along to the east.
 Emerging from the wooded sub summit to the open section of hiking again.
 I stopped and grabbed a drink on an open slope, overlooking the valley.  The Deerfield River can be seen directly below, about 900 feet down.
 Incredible open ledges.
 The descent was extremely steep, but quick.  Good footing is essential in many spots.
This hike packed a lot of punch.  I can't say enough good things about it.  About 3.5 miles RT, with a touch over 1100 feet elevation gain.

2 comments:

  1. cool. I had read trip reports on this mountain, but never ventured over there. mainly because of the two hour drive.

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    1. Agreed. Unfortunately thee is no quick way over to that area, but the hike itself is a gem. I would recommend it, combined with another hike in the area.

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