Will Open: October 2nd, 2021
Hanging Mountain lays in the small, southwestern Massachusetts hamlet of Sandisfield, just three miles from the Connecticut border. The WMCC owns 14 acres of mountainside and jointly manages the area with Connecticut’s Ragged Mountain Foundation through a Joint Stewardship Committee. The RMF split the purchase of this parcel with the WMCC, creating the only climber owned area in Southern New England.
This approximately 1000-foot-long series of southeast facing cliffs, ranging from approximately 60 to 240 feet in height, contains granite, granitic gneiss, and large pockets of friable schist. As the name may suggest, portions of Hanging Mountain can be unstable, at times shedding significant amounts of stone: once open, wear a helmet, especially when belaying, and expect to encounter at least some loose rock.
Most of the 14-acre property at Hanging Mountain has been designated as Priority Habitat by MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP). As a result, Hanging Mountain and any work performed there is heavily regulated to ensure that the WMCC is in compliance with the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and Wetlands Protection Act.
More information about NHESP can be found here.
The parking is located at 43 South Main Street, Sandisfield, MA. Google Map to Hanging Mountain Parking Lot.
The primary parking area and the trail head can be found at the edge of the talus; the shoulder of the access road offers additional spots. Please park considerately and make the $5.00 suggested donation to the “iron ranger.” There is a designated Accessible parking space for visitors with disabilities.
A smaller, spill-over lot can be found on Army Corps of Engineers (federal, public property) land just across both Route 8 and the Farmington River. Exit our property, turn left (north) on route 8, cross the river and take a quick right, cross a steel bridge and take another quick right into a small, circular parking area. Again, please park considerately.
Click here for a link to the interactive map above of all the Western Mass crags discussed on this site.
The main access trail is located beyond the kiosk at the end of the parking lot. A map of the area is posted on the kiosk and signs clearly indicate each crag. It is of utmost importance that visitors stay on established trails to protect endangered and protected species.
The WMCC provides an ADA accessible Porta-Potty located in the main parking lot for most months of the year (not available in the off season). Please, always be prepared and bring a ‘wag bag.’
The WMCC, in accordance to the wishes of Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife, maintains a voluntary, seasonal closure of selected routes to enable nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons to hatch and raise their offspring in peace.
The closure is in effect from February 15th – June15th every year.
Hanging Mountain would not be possible without an astounding $93,500 in grants from partner organizations.
Access Fund: The Access Fund not only backed the purchase of Hanging Mountain with a Climbing Conservation loan, but has also funded the project with two grants in 2020: a $2,000 and a $5,000 grant for a total of $7,000. Thank you to Dolci Mascolo for writing these grants!
Appalachian Mountain Club: The AMC has been supportive of the Hanging Mountain project, generously awarding the WMCC with a total of $23,500 towards Hanging Mountain in 2021. The AMC is also providing an additional $7,500 in technical trail work from the AMC trail crew, which will be completed in 2022. Thank you to Dolci Mascolo and Bill Fogel for working on these grants!
Conservation Alliance: The Conservation Alliance awarded the WMCC and RMF a $30,000 grant in 2020. Thank you to Rob Sullivan for writing this grant!
MassTrails: The WMCC is a 2020 award recipient of a $25,500 MassTrails grant. The MassTrails grant is a reimbursement grant. The WMCC will also match 20% of the total project cost. Thank you to Jeff Squire and Dolci Mascolo for working on this grant!
We are so grateful to all of these generous organizations and to the volunteer grant writers. Many of these volunteers are still working hard to manage these grant funds.
Donate to Hanging Mountain
In Nov. of 2019, the WMCC and Ragged Mountain Foundation accepted a $79,500.00 Climbing Conservation Loan from the Access Fund to purchase the Hanging Mountain property. Since then, the WMCC has invested $31,750 into the driveway and parking lot and more on materials for trail work and biological surveys. We need your help to pay off the Access Fund loan and fund future projects. There are still trails and other infrastructure to develop in 2022. Thank you for your support!