By The Book: AMC Authors’ Favorite Spots

March 20, 2015
By the Book: AMC Author’s Favorite Spots
Jerry and Marcy MonkmanA lighthouse and coastal trail system are two features of West Quoddy Head State Park.

AMC’s book authors spend months—even years—exploring our region by foot and boat to compile the trips that make up their books. Few people know these areas so well. Here, the authors and editors of seven new AMC Books titles share their favorite locales.

1. West Quoddy Head State Park (Lubec, Maine)
“The park is as far to the east as you can get, not only in Down East Maine but in the United State. A red and white-striped lighthouse, maritime spruce forests, craggy headlands, a long sandy beach, and nonstop ocean views along the Grand Manan Channel make this dramatic place a must-see.”

2. Stonington Archipelago (Stonington, Maine)
“I’m biased: I learned to paddle here, and I couldn’t have picked a better classroom. There are enough spruce-topped granite islands (60 or 70) separated by short,easy-to-navigate passages, to offer nearly infinite route possibilities, plus amplepublic access and idyllic campsites. Looking for that happy place to imagine when you’re having a rough day at work? This one’s mine.”

  • Trip: 6 to 14 nautical miles, round-trip, from the Colwell boat ramp on Sea breeze Ave. Pick your route through the dozens of islands—a chart and compass are essential here.
  • Author: Michael Daugherty is author of AMC’s Best Sea Kayaking in New England.

3. Pack Monadnock Mountains (Peterborough, N.H.)
“My favorite place in the Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide is the Pack Monadnocks: Pack Monadnock and North Pack Monadnock. This mini-range has an interesting and varied trail network, and the two summits offer a wide range of views. The South Cliff of North Pack is one of the most impressive spots in the region, and between the peaks the Wapack Trail passes through a beautiful spruce forest.”

  • Hike: Pack Monadnock traverse: 8.0 miles from Miller State Park via the Wapack Trail and Cliff Trail going out, and Cliff Trail, Wapack Trail, and Marion Davis Trail on the return.
  • Author: Steve Smith is the author of Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide, 4th ed., and White Mountain Guide, 29th ed. (with Mike Dickerman).

4. Mount Greylock State Reservation (Williamstown, Adams, and North Adams, Mass.)
“Mount Greylock State Reservation, the Commonwealth’s oldest ‘wilderness’ park, boasts the state’s highest summit (3,491 feet) and features stunning 70-mile vistas(the view from Stony Ledge is sublime!), 70-plus miles of trails—including 11.5miles of the AT—upper elevation spruce-fir forest, and charming and rustic, CCC-built Bascom Lodge. I really like the Hopper Trail route to the summit, butit doesn’t include Stony Ledge, which in my opinion has the best view.”

  • Hike: Greylock Range traverse: 12.7-mile loop starting at the Hopper Road parking area. Follow the Money Brook Trail, Mount Prospect Trail,Appalachian Trail, Hopper Trail, Rockwell Road, and Haley Farm Trail. (Several shorter routes to the Mount Greylock summit are also detailed in Laubach’s book.)
  • Author: René Laubach is author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Berkshires, 2nd ed., and AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Connecticut (with Charles W. G. Smith).

5. Borderland State Park (Sharon, Mass.)
“This has always been one of my favorite close-to-home parks because you can find easy pond-side walks or beautiful, quiet trails with just a bit of exploring.The Bay Circuit Trail cuts through what might be the most interesting corner,showing off granite formations and boulders you might not expect to see south of the Blue Hills.”

  • Hike: 4.1-mile loop: from the Borderland State Park visitor center, follow the Bay Circuit Trail, West Side Trail, French Trail, Ridge Trail, Friends Trail,Granite Hills Loop Trail, Mountain Street, Pond Walk, and the Bay Circuit Trail (again).
  • Editor: Victoria Sandbrook Flynn edited the Bay Circuit Trail Map & Guide (guide text by John Burk).

6. Ragged Mountain Preserve (Berlin, Conn.)
“This challenging loop shows off a more rugged side to Connecticut’s terrain. Outstanding views abound on the ridge and on the summit itself. This is also a popular destination for climbers. If you’re looking for a shorter trip, plenty of side trails offer options for cutting back on mileage.”

  • Hike: 5.8-mile loop, via the Preserve Trail, New England Trail/Metacomet Trail, and Preserve Trail (again).
  • Editor: Victoria Sandbrook Flynn edited the New England Trail Map & Guide, with guide text by John Burk.

7. Duncan Knob (George Washington National Forest, Va.)
“Relatively out of the way, Duncan Knob features jaw-dropping views of the Shenandoah and the Virginia Blue Ridge,as well as a fun boulder scramble to reach its summit. And, unlike Old Rag(also great fun, but crowded!), you’ll have a good chance of enjoying solitude on the mountain’s top.”


Read more AMC Outdoors stories from these knowledgeable authors.

• Carey Kish, Exploring the 100-Mile Wilderness
• Michael Daugherty, Sea Kayaking Down East: Exploring the Maine Island Trail
• René Laubach, Ascending Greylock
• Michael Martin, Hills, Hollows, and Beyond: Backpacking the Susquehannock Trail System


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Marc Chalufour

Marc Chalufour, a former senior editor of AMC Outdoors, contributes to the trail-running blog Running Wild.