|Mt.Tom from Christopher Clark Road.|
The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail/New England Trail follows the spine of Mt.Tom, and that's what we took. This trail runs from Guilford, Connecticut to Mt.Monadnock in New Hampshire, but we only followed about 3 miles of it. We parked in the reservation, and began up the trail. It gets steep very quickly. Luckily, this steepness only lasts for a few minutes. We reached the ridge and our first viewpoint, overlooking Easthampton.
|Overlooking Easthampton from the first ledge.|
A few minor views later, we reached a steep climb, and arrived at Whiting Peak. The views from here are good, but they're only the beginning. Easthampton and Westhampton are visible from here.
|The view from Whiting Peak.|
After Whiting Peak, the trail goes into the trees with a few open cliffs. The hard and puzzle-like stone that makes up these mountains is called traprock, it's basically hardened magma from the Triassic Period. The mountains formed when the tectonic plates uplifted and the magma hardened. Many fossils and dinosaur prints can be seen in different places along the mountains.
|A pleasant view from a flat ledge.|
After a walk in the woods, we began to approach Deadtop. Deadtop is the middle peak along the ridge, and it's the home of the most cliffs. We came to a long ledge with a view stretching down the ridge. The cliffs are flat, but they drop down extremely steeply.
|Looking down the ridgeline towards Deadtop.|
All of the peaks on Mt.Tom don't really have a defined high point. The summits of Whiting Peak and Deadtop are usually associated with a viewpoint, but even that's hard to figure out due to the several ledges and cliffs. The cliffs are steep and spotted with pines and talus. They're also constant, but the biggest cliff is after Deadtop.
|Looking at Deadtop, with Christopher Clark Road at the bottom.|
We came out to a flat clifftop with a view looking up to the big cliff. The trail follows the very edge of this cliff, and the drop is insane. While I couldn't find any stories about deaths taking place on the mountain, I wouldn't be surprised if there was one, because one wrong step and you're falling hundreds of feet to the forest floor.
|The big cliff of Deadtop.|
The cliff is the last major view until the true summit of Mt.Tom. We did come to a few grassy landings atop the cliffs with great views looking over the valley.
|Looking back from a grassy spot.|
The trail swerved into the woods and followed a ledge to the summit. Mt.Tom itself is 1,202 feet, and the tallest peak along the whole Metacomet Ridge. The unique thing about the summit is that the trail follows the old balcony from a historic summit building.
|A portion of the old balcony.|
The Mt.Tom Hotel was constructed atop the mountain in 1897, but it later burnt down. They rebuilt it only to have it burn down again in 1929. There used to be a minor amusement park on the east side of the mountain, but it was torn down in 1988.
|A view from the balcony.|
The only remnants of the hotel today is a small portion of the foundation, the balcony and a big light up star hanging from the railing, which used to glow high above the valley every night. The summit was crowded, so we headed back down.
|The giant light up star.|
Mt.Tom is named after Rowland Thomas, the first man to survey the land. His friend was Elizur Holyoke, who named Mt.Holyoke after himself. If you want to learn how more mountains got there names, visit my mountain name map here.
|Atop the cliffs on Deadtop.|
|Looking down from a field.|
|The cliffs on Deadtop.|
|Mt.Tom from Deadtop.|
|Another view of the trail as it follows the cliff.|
|Looking back at Deadtop.|
|A portion of trail between the peaks.|
|A view from an old staircase.|
|A big tree on a ledge near the summit.|
|Looking up to the antennas and the balcony.|
|A huge open ledge.|
|The widest shot that I could take with no people in it.|
|One last photo of a ledge.|
On the way back, there were a lot less people. I would recommend coming on a week day, due to all the crowds. While this isn't the prettiest mountain, it offers some of the prettiest views. Mt.Tom is a great example of not always having to drive so far for great views!