Hiking the Appalachian Trail from Jones Nose to Saddleball Mountain (MA)
Sunday my mom and I wanted to go for a hike somewhere different than we normally do! She found this hike online hiking the Appalachian Trail up to Saddleball (the 2nd highest peak in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) - so off we went!
We had a later start then normal, but we reached the trailhead right around 11:30 am. We parking in a gravel parking lot which was the start of the trail to Jones Nose to the AT and then up to Saddleball. You can do the hike as an out and back or as a loop trail which adds some mileage because you go down the other side of the mountain. We decided to do an out and back ~5 miles climbing approx 1900 ft of elevation.
This trail is SO different than anything I have ever hiked and I LOVED it! It starts out as a narrow trail meandering through these fields of vegetation where you can see the mountain in front of you. The meandering continues for just under a mile and then you enter the woods.
Once you get into the woods, the hike starts to climb. This part of the climb is a total calf-burner on dirt and isn't very well marked - so be sure to keep an eye on the map and the paint markings on the trees. After about .6 miles the hike starts to become technical. The climb is over rock scrambles and some boulder climbs which makes for a really fun hike.
After about a mile you reach a trail junction where you can go left to Mt Greylock, straight to Saddleball or right to another path (I can't remember off the top of my head). We continued straight on the AT towards Saddleball.
This section of the AT is just breathtaking. It's a little muddy, but it weaves through pine trees, and beautiful sections of trails where just over the tree line you can see the mountains behind you.
There is one section where you have a lookout on a boulder, which we detoured to check out - definitely recommend and you can't miss it!
After some more boulder climbing and rock scrambles on the AT you'll reach a carin on your left hand side and that marks the summit of Saddleball. No views or anything, as this is a wooded summit, but still a nice spot to stop and have some lunch. We sat on some rocks, enjoyed a sandwich and turned around to head back down the mountain.
Next time, we're definitely going to veer off and do the climb to Mt Greylock or continue down the backside of the mountain so we can see some views, but all in all a beautiful day in the mountains.
I really loved experiencing the AT and its wooded trail and cannot wait to hike this sort of trail again soon!