Many climbers traverse Route 2 in Farley, Massachusetts numerous times, looking for – but never quite catching sight of – Farley Ledges tucked behind the trees. While this search might prove to be an apt metaphor for one’s entire trip, the high concentration of tall, hard routes and excellent bouldering make the effort worth it.
These southeast facing chain of ledges, like much of the rock in the region, is granitic gneiss. This stone is characterized by big, sloping horizontals, small edges and sweeping features. At least four waves of route developers have put up a variety of lines spanning the gamut of highball bouldering to committing traditional lines to pumpy sport routes. The climbing is best when friction is the highest. Generally, ideal conditions can be found in spring and fall, although the heavily forested areas provide ample shade on hot summer days.
Farley sees more visitors each year, especially on the weekends and holidays. Plan on seeing other parties. If the the lots are close to full, consider a visit to Rose Ledges or Mormon Hollow: both are within two miles of Farley and offer more solitude.
In fact, the willingness to climb at a different crag on heavy use days is one big thing individual climbers could do to preserve access to Farley. Farley has been closed numerous times by landowners disgruntled by our numbers, our behavior or both. The WMCC was born to deal with the last closure and we have kept it open. Our purchase of the seven acre plot allowed us to build permanent parking and trail access, but we do not own any of the stone. In other words, we have stabilized – but not guaranteed – our access to the climbing. Please, tread lightly so we can all come back.
Main Lot: The primary parking area and the trail head directly off of Route 2 is owned by the WMCC. Please park considerately and pay the $5.00 suggested donation at the kiosk. This lot is usually full by 9:00 am on weekends with nice weather, so have a plan B in mind if you will be arriving after 9:00 am. There is a designated accessible parking space in this lot.
Erving Municipal Lot: A few minutes East of Farley, in the center of Erving (near the bright pink Erving Station and the Freight house), is a paved lot owned by the town of Erving. There are several EV chargers. We HIGHLY suggest meeting climbing partners here and carpooling to a closer lot. You can also park here and book a ride on the FRTA, which will take you right up to the Farley lot. Find more info on the FRTA service.
The 8-car lot: Look for Holmes Street (heading west, it’s on the right, heading east, on the left). Drive up Holmes street to Wells Street, take Wells to the end of the pavement, and turn right onto Cross St. Please respect the 8 car limit and don’t park elsewhere in this neighborhood.
Bridge Street: Parking is acceptable across the bridge on the North (left) side of the street only. Parking on the North side should be done carefully to avoid blocking traffic and especially emergency vehicles. Please respect the residents and other vehicles. Cars have been towed in this area.
10 Maple Ave: Local climbers offer a small lot in front of their house at 10 Maple Ave. There is a box for a suggested $5 donation.
Where not to park: Anywhere on either side of Route 2 or anywhere that is not designated for parking. If all of these options are full, the crag probably is too!
There is a Porta Potty in the main lot for most of the year. It may not be there in the late winter or early spring. Please plan accordingly and bring wag bags for emergencies!
Click here for a link to the interactive map above of all the Western Mass crags discussed on this site.
The WMCC, in accordance to the wishes of Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife and abutting landowners, maintains a voluntary, seasonal closure of selected routes to enable nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons to hatch and raise their offspring in peace.
During this closure, please stay off all routes on the right side of Pot Ledge Buttress (starting from “All Your Base”) to the K2 Buttress. If you are uncertain about where these formations lay, obey any posted signs as these areas are clearly marked.
The closure is in effect from February 15th – June15th every year.
The main access trail is located beyond the kiosk at the end of the parking lot. From the parking lot, walk north up the hillside to the intersection with the Red Dot trail. Turn right and the trail will wind through the boulder field before it meets the multi-state New England Trail (Metacomet-Monadnock Section) at Briggs Brook. Continue straight ahead and the trail will take you to the Wall of Early Mornign Light, the most popular sport climbing wall at Farley. To the left the Red Dot trail continues around the back and ridge of Rattlesnake Mountain which is spectacular 1-1/2 mile hike in it’s own right. Many portions of trail are located on private property so please show your respect. Keep your dogs leashed when visiting Farley Ledge since many of the abutting landowners also have dogs.
Currently, the WMCC, at the request of property owners, has a NO GUIDEBOOK policy for Farley Ledges. This means that no comprehensive route information for Farley ledges should be posted on-line or otherwise distributed.
Why no Guidebook:
- All the crags and boulder problems are on private or Power Company managed land (see map).
- Not having a guidebook was part of the original agreement with landowners to gain climbing access.
- Very limited parking is currently available and street or highway parking is a source of friction with residents of the area.
- The Power Company (FirstLight Power Resources) is currently renegotiating the operating license with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). Part of this license covers recreational activity on the leased State property and the implications for climbing are yet to be determined.
Since a portion of Farley Ledge is owned by FirstLight & Power, climbers and other visitors to that land are obligated to follow the rules and regulations established by the Northfield Mountain Environmental & Recreation Center. Part of these regulations include restrictions on the licensed use of their property for professional guiding services. At this time, FirstLight and Northfield Mountain are not interested in allowing licensed use of the cliffs for commerical climbing classes or trips. This is limited to the portion of Farley Ledge owned by FirstLight. Property owner information can be found on the kiosk at the main trail head.