At 3491 feet above mean sea level Mt. Greylock is the highest peak in southern New England. The peak has long attracted the attention of outdoor enthusiasts such as Timothy Dwight, who in 1800 described the summit as filled with “dwarf-like” trees with “universally thick, short, and clumsy” branches that obscured the view and caused him to climb to their tops. Clearly the summit in the 18th and 19th Centuries was not as open as it is today.
The red spruce—heart-leaved birch -- balsam fir clad summit of Mt. Greylock (the area above 3000’) has been subjected to natural disturbances such as hurricanes, landslides, and blizzards as well as human interventions ranging from agriculture, to logging, road building, and tower construction. The first roads near the summit were 18th C. farm roads to summer pastures. Later on (1830) Williams College students cut a trail to the summit in order to build an observatory. The present war memorial tower was constructed in 1931, and Bascom Lodge dates to 1937.