A couple of weeks ago, I planned to summit Wachusett via the West Side Trail. It was a Sunday in July, with lots of heat and humidity in the forecast. I tried to start a little bit early, and got to the trail head around 9:30 am.
This trail is a little bit less crowded than some of the other trails on this mountain. It was relatively cooler but still buggy when I started. Ninety five percent of the hike was shaded, which was a life saver.
West Side trail switches from flat to steep rock scramble, then flat again and then a steep rock scramble, about five times. The rock scrambles weren’t very technical or difficult, although descending them on my way back was a bit tiring. The fact that my body was rebelling because of the heat by that time didn’t help (should have started even sooner).
There are a few intersections on the trail. At the first one, you can choose between taking Semuhenna, or continue on West Side. I took the latter both up and down, since I wanted to make my hike shorter.
West Side is about a mile long, after which it joins Old Indian Trail to the summit. Much more crowded from here on.
The summit of Wachusett was crowded too, although its a huge open space, so social distancing was not a problem. It has some decent views.
The day was getting hotter, so I didn’t wait for too long there. When hiking in summer, make sure to carry enough water, electrolytes and snacks. Also hiking poles were a life saver for me. I saw a striped snake scuttle by on my way back, but was too surprised (and slightly in terror) to take a picture.
Side note : I had also attempted this trail this January, but turned back after the first intersection due to lack of time.
The rock scrambles were not bad even in winter, and I had gotten some nice golden hour views just before the trail head
My recording on AllTrails was 3.7 miles, 770 feet.