Mount Frissell (Southwest Shoulder)

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Connecticut, United States, North America
Elevation:
2380 ft / 725 m
61396 Hits
88.55% Score
Log in
to vote
Page By:
Mount Frissell (Southwest Shoulder)
Created On: Mar 26, 2004
Last Edited On: Dec 4, 2011

Overview

Mt. Frissell’s southwest shoulder is the highest point in Connecticut at 2,380 feet above sea level. It is one of only three US state highpoints that are the highest point in a state but not technically the summit of the hill or mountain. The easiest route to the summit, generally done from the AMC Parking next to the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line on Mt. Washington Road, is a very enjoyable hike with good views to be had on Round Mt., as well as the steeper sections of Mt. Frissell, including the state highpoint itself.

Getting There

Frissell Trail map 2
From the north: From South Egremont, Massachusetts, follow SR 23 to the west until SR 41 junctions to the left(south). In less than mile, Mount Washington Road turns to the right off of SR 41. Follow Mt. Washington Road past Bash Bish Falls State Park. Eventually, Mount Washington Road becomes a gravel/dirt road. Continue onward until you pass a Massachusetts/Connecticut state line marker. Immediately after this is a small parking lot on the left with an “AMC” sign. Park here.

From the south: In Salisbury, Connecticut, go west on US 44 and then turn right on to Factory St. Shortly thereafter, you should bear to the right onto Mt. Riga Road. Mt. Riga road eventually turns into a gravel/dirt road and continues a couple of miles to Mt. Washington Road. Turn right onto Mt. Washington Road, and go 3.3 miles to the AMC parking lot on the right.

From the AMC parking lot, walk north along the road past the state line marker and turn left onto an old gravel and stone road. In a very short distance, you will see a trail that turns left from this old road. The trail is well-marked with frequent red blazes the whole way. The trail ascends steeply up round mountain where there are views to be had in every direction. From here you can see Mt. Frissell, which is a bit taller. You descend slightly to a col and then climb steeply up Mt. Frissell. At the top, the trail divides with the right spur going a hundred feet to the true summit of Mt. Frissell with a canister on a tree. The left spur goes to the southwest descending a bit and then leveling out. Keep your eyes open for the cairn with a State Line marker. This is the highest point in Connecticut.

Red Tape

Sections of Mt. Washington Road may be closed in the winter depending on how much snow there is.

Author: dgreaser
Date: Mar 20, 2005 5:08 PM
The Mt. Riga road access from the south was closed and gated just north of Salisbury on March 4th, 2004. Access to the trailhead from the north was open.

When To Climb

This mountain is usually climbed in spring, summer, or autumn. Nothing special is required except snowshoes and/or crampons which could be handy in the snow season.

Camping

Bash Bish Falls State Park has campsites and would be a nice place to camp. Bash Bish Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls in New England. The waters are split by a rock and then come back together in a diamond shape.

Mountain Conditions

Check the weather conditions for Pittsfield, Massachusetts or Salisbury, Connecticut to get an idea of what the weather is like, keeping in mind that it will likely be colder and windier than the cities in the valleys.

Miscellaneous Info

Bear Mountain is sometimes claimed by Connecticut to be the highest mountain in Connecticut. There is even a sign on Bear Mountain claiming this.

It is the highest mountain SUMMIT in Connecticut, but Mt. Frissell's SW shoulder is higher. According to Highpointer standards, the highest point, not highest summit, represents the highest point in a state.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-9 of 9

moneal

moneal - Aug 14, 2005 8:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Here are the instructions to the trailheads from I-90 (modified by me to work better):

1. Take MA exit 2 towards US-20, keep left towards US-20 / RT-102

2. Turn left onto US-20 and then right to RT-102

3. Keep straight onto US-7 South and stay on US-7 South

5. Turn right onto SR-41 South (not North)

6. Turn left to stay on SR-41 South and then immediately to the right onto Mt Washington Rd.

7. Continue straight (road name changes to East Street at some point). You pass the Forest Headquarters (on your right), then the road becomes unpaved. Keep going until you see a large parking area and the AMC sign on your left. The first trail (red blazed over Round Mountain and Mt Frissel) starts from the right. A stone state line marker is reported to be here as well although we never saw it

8. Go 1.2 mile past the AMC parking area until you see a small parking area on your right. There is a 2nd small parking area immediately after it that has a metal gate back and to the right (which you cannot see until you stop and look backwards). This is the jeep road that you want to follow. If you hit a lake on the right you went to far. Turn around and go back 2 miles to the parking area.

iowahawk43 - Oct 25, 2013 10:16 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Untitled Comment

The road south of the park headquarters (and YMCA) can get a bit confusing. Some say follow East St, others note it changes to West St. The best advice from just returning from there is to "stay on the main road" - it seems quite obvious which choice that is.

Also, the road barricade is not up year-round - it was down when we were there and so we went 3 miles too far to the lake mentioned by Moneal. A sign tells you the state line is 3.3 miles back, so go back.

We spotted the state line monument. The red blaze trail is opposite the "large" (think six cars) parking lot with a gate. The start of the trail offers parking for two cars.

Finally, the actual highpoint (the three-inch pipe) is down from the summit of Mount Frissell. It is in a rocky open area where the view is wonderful. We found it very easy to spot, although some think it is hidden? The trick was to "keep going" down the slope. It is about 500 yards down and around. There were maybe three or four "rocky open overlooks" before you reach the one you want. Go down the steep decline, then round the mountain side.

grfiv

grfiv - Sep 25, 2005 4:22 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Please note that you do NOT want to turn right to go to Bish Bash Falls. Keep straight when you come to the intersection with the diminutive church!

climber46

climber46 - Mar 4, 2007 2:41 am - Hasn't voted

Re: three states

Thanks for the information. I have edited the main page accordingly. So Nevada, Connecticut, AND Oklahoma's highpoints are shoulders of higher terrain in other states. I guess a person learns something new everyday.

bnungester - Sep 5, 2011 3:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: three states

Actually, Connecticut is the only one. Boundary Peak in Nevada is about 1/4 mile from the California border with a prominence of only 253 feet, but it is a separate sub-peak of Montgomery Peak. Black Mesa, Oklahoma is about 400 yards from the New Mexico border with a prominence of a couple of feet. The whole area appears flat, but it's been surveyed and that spot is higher than the surrounding area. The mesa slowly gets higher in New Mexico, but this "bump" in Oklahoma is the highpoint of the state (marked by a 9-foot monument). Connecticut is the only one where the highpoint is just the slope of a hill.

dumdistig - Sep 10, 2018 11:22 am - Hasn't voted

Re: three states

There are at least two. The high point of SC is not at the peak. I was just there less than a week ago, and the high point marker is clearly several feet below the peak, maybe 30 yards away from the peak, which is in NC. It is on the slope of the hill, even if very close to the top. I don't know if there is a third, though.

payellowdog - Sep 15, 2014 10:07 am - Voted 9/10

Tougher than you think...

Mt. Frissell is one of the more remote east coast highpoints. Mt. Riga Rd. and Mt. Washington Rd. are dirt/ gravel roads. When you get to the parking lot, plan on a 50 minute hike from the trailhead to the highpoint. You actually climb to the summit of Mt. Frissell then you hike down from there in a SW direction to actually reach CT's highpoint. The best advice- as offered on this site- "FOLLOW THE RED BLAZES" They will take you to the highpoint.
Mt. Greylock in MA is only about 60 miles way- make it a double!

Bajumbug

Bajumbug - Nov 6, 2017 1:30 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Tougher than you think...

You're right--a little more than I was expecting. I went in November of 2013 (my 21st high point). It was a cold, rainy day and the "trail" was slick & very ill-defined in some places. The red blazes, however, do get you there. On my way back, however, the fog dropped in and that caused a problem--I couldn't find the exit from that little plateau. To paraphrase (I believe it was) Mark Twain: I wasn't lost, but I was confused for a little while" Nowhere near the highest HP, but one of my most memorable.

Colin

Colin - Oct 27, 2018 1:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Finding the Trailhead

When I visited in Oct. 2018, there was a new yellow sign on the CT side of the border warning about "Steep, narrow Riga Road." This sign is on the west side of the dirt road, almost directly across from the stone marker for the MA-CT border. The trailhead is about 10 yards north of this sign on the MA side. I've posted a photo of the yellow sign in the image gallery. Keep an eye out for it and you can't miss the trailhead.

Viewing: 1-9 of 9








Mount Frissell (Southwest Shoulder)

Mountain/Rock
51 Images 115 Climber's Log Entries 10 Comments 9 Additions & Corrections

Children

2 Routes 2 Trip Reports

Geography

MyTopo Map Nearby Mountains & Rocks Interactive Map Mountains & Rocks in Connecticut

Parents

Southern Taconic RangeMountains & Rocks
 
Mid-Atlantic HighlandsMountains & Rocks
 
U.S. State HighpointsMountains & Rocks