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Massachusetts has some of the best hang gliding sites in the country, but few people know about them. Learn about where to glide in MA in this expert guide.
For anyone planning a hang gliding trip to the northeastern United States, Massachusetts may or may not be on your list. But the truth is, it should be near the top of your list! No matter if you’re just visiting or if you live around Massachusetts, you’re actually in for a treat when it comes to hang gliding. The trick is to know where you should go for it.
The best hang gliding companies in Massachusetts are Hang Glide New England and Eco-Flight Hang Gliding. The best launch sites for hang gliding in Massachusetts are Mount Greylock, Mohawk Trail State Forest, Race Mountain, Skinner State Park, Wellfleet, and Mount Everett.
If you're looking for a new and exciting hang gliding experience, Massachusetts is the place to be! With beautiful views of the mountains and coastline, as well as plenty of other things to do in the area, you're sure to have a great time. In this post, we'll discuss some of the best hang gliding locations in Massachusetts.
This is another entry in our series of posts about the best places to hang glide in every state in the US. To give you the best list that we can from each state (including Massachusetts!), we research the area, get input from pilots who frequent the state, and vet all information to get a complete list of where to go. So get ready to hang glide Massachusetts!
Is Massachusetts a Good State to go Hang Gliding?
I know, I know. You're here to learn about where you should go hang gliding in Massachusetts. We'll get there soon, I swear! But I think it's worth discussing whether or not it's a good state for it in the first place. If you live in Massachusetts then you might not have much of a choice, but if you're just visiting, then you might be wondering if it's worth the time.
As an experienced hang glider pilot myself, the two most important things to me when I'm scoping out a new place to glide are weather and views. I want the weather to be comfortable, mild, and at least somewhat predictable. At the same time, I also want to make sure that the views from above will be worth it. So what about Massachusetts?
As for the weather, Massachusetts is pretty great for hang gliding for at least 8 to 9 months of the year. Since it's in the northeastern part of the country, this state can have some pretty cold and snowy winters, which obviously wouldn't be ideal for hang gliding. However, the spring/summer months are usually pretty mild and comfortable. In fact, the average temperatures in May and June are actually perfect for flying!
As for the views, Massachusetts is absolutely stunning from above. With its rolling hills, beautiful forests, and coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, there's really no shortage of amazing things to see. And since it's such a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of other things to do in the area as well. So whether you're looking for a new place to fly or just want to explore a beautiful state, Massachusetts is definitely worth considering.
Where to Hang Glide in Massachusetts
Now that we've answered the question of whether or not Massachusetts is a good state for hang gliding, let's get into the good stuff: where to actually go! Here are some of the best companies and launch sites in this state for hang gliding.
Hang Glide New England
We'll start off by looking at two Masachusetts-based hang gliding companies, with Hang Glide New England taking the top spot in our guide. This company is located in central Massachusetts so it's located relatively close to Providence, Hartford, and even Boston.
This company offers tandem flights as well as some very basic introductory lessons and information for those who want to learn how to fly on their own. Tandem flights are great for first-timers, and the company's prices start at just $185, which is a solid price for a tandem flight with an experienced hang gliding pilot who is certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA).
Hang Glide New England uses aerotowing to get you off the ground and into the sky. This is one of the best ways to take off while hang gliding and involves being towed aloft by a small airplane. Once you're at a comfortable altitude, the towline is released and you're free to glide! This method is great because it allows you to take off from almost anywhere, as long as there's a place for the plane to take off and land.
During the tandem flights, the instructor will give you the opportunity to take the controls and fly the hang glider yourself. This is an easy way to start getting some experience at the helm of the hang glider and you'll be able to see the best views imaginable since your instructor/pilot will know exactly where to fly for the best experience!
Eco-Flight Hang Gliding
If you want to actually spend time learning how to hang glide and taking lessons to learn how to fly, then you should consider checking out Eco-Flight Hang Gliding. Located in Pelham, Eco-Flight offers a wide variety of services for those who want to learn. It has been in business for more than four decades and is the only company teaching those in the western side of Massachusetts how to hang glide.
This company offers everything from tandem flights to full-fledged courses that will have you flying solo in no time. The course prices will vary depending on what type of training you decide to try out, but it typically ranges from about $250 to $500 and includes 1 to 3 days of instruction. This is a great deal considering how much you'll learn. You'll be able to take off and land on your own, fly in different types of weather, and even fly cross-country if you're feeling adventurous!
Eco-Flight also offers a variety of other services, such as equipment rentals and storage, so it's definitely worth checking out if you're interested in hang gliding.
Now that we've looked at a couple of companies that you should consider for hang gliding in Massachusetts, let's get into some of the actual best spots to launch. Up first is Mount Greylock. Located in the Berkshires, this is the tallest mountain in all of Massachusetts and offers some of the most beautiful views in the state.
There are a few different launch sites on Mount Greylock, but we recommend checking out Hopper Site. This site is located near the summit of the mountain and offers stunning 360-degree views. On a clear day, you'll be able to see all the way to Vermont, New Hampshire, and even Connecticut!
The weather on Mount Greylock is pretty great for hang gliding year-round. In the spring and summer, the temperatures are usually mild and there's often a nice breeze blowing up the mountain. In the fall, the leaves change color and the views are absolutely incredible. And in the winter, you might even be able to fly in some snow!
Just be sure to check the weather conditions before you head up to Mount Greylock, as it can sometimes be windy and gusty at the top. Nearby, there are all kinds of fun things to do besides gliding. You can go hiking, camping, fishing, and more in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains.
Mohawk Trail State Forest
For those who want to stay a little closer to the city, consider checking out Mohawk Trail State Forest. This state forest is located in central Massachusetts and has many different launch sites that are great for hang gliding.
One of our favorite spots is Crittenden Hill. This site offers some incredible views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The weather is usually pretty good here too, making it a great spot to fly much of the year, except during the winter when temperatures in the northeast can get pretty cold and winter storms aren't exactly ideal conditions for gliding!
There are also lots of other great things to do in the area, like hiking and camping in the state forest. So if you're looking for a weekend getaway that combines some of the best views in Massachusetts with other great outdoor activities, Mohawk Trail State Forest should definitely be on your list!
Next to the Berkshire Hills, Race Mountain is one of the best places to go hang gliding in Massachusetts. The views are incredible, with a 360-degree panorama of the Berkshires. If there aren't any clouds in the way, you can see all the way to Vermont and New Hampshire.
The typical weather during the warmer months of the year is just about ideal for hang gliding, as the temperatures hang out in the 70s and 80s. The fall can be a bit colder, but as long as there's no snow or ice on the mountain, you should be fine. Like just about anywhere in Massachusetts, winter isn't the best time to take to the skies due to the cold temps.
Race Mountain is located about two hours from both Boston and Albany, making it a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. There are nearly endless things to do in the area, from hiking and biking in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
Skinner State Park
We talked about Mohawk Trail State Forest earlier, but now let's take a look at another state park: Skinner State Park. Located in Hadley, MA, Skinner State Park is home to the highest point in the Pioneer Valley: Mt. Holyoke. The views from the top of Mt. Holyoke are some of the best in Massachusetts. You can see all across the Pioneer Valley, with mountaintops visible on clear days.
The typical weather during hang gliding season in Skinner State Park is very similar to that of Mohawk Trail State Forest. Spring and summer are the best times to go, with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Fall and winter can be a bit colder, with temperatures dipping down to well below freezing during the coolest months.
Skinner State Park is located about an hour's drive from both Boston and Hartford. It is also relatively close to some other popular hang gliding locations in Massachusetts, such as the Berkshires and the Mohawk Trail. In addition to hang gliding, there are numerous hiking trails in Skinner State Park, as well as opportunities for camping, fishing, and picnicking.
As we're approaching the end of the list, the second last location on our list takes us to the town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod. While it may not be as high up as some of the other locations on this list, Wellfleet still offers some stunning views. You can see for miles out over the Atlantic Ocean from most vantage points in the town.
The weather in Wellfleet is a bit milder than some of the other locations on this list. The average temperature during hang gliding season is in the mid to high 60s. This makes it a great place to go if you're looking to avoid the heat of the summer months.
Wellfleet is located about an hour and a half south of Boston. This makes it a great place to go for a weekend getaway. After your hang gliding adventure, you can check out one of the many beaches in the area or go for a hike in the Wellfleet Audubon Sanctuary.
Rounding off our list is Mount Everett in the Berkshires. This spot is a bit further inland than some of the other locations on this list, but it offers some incredible views of the surrounding countryside. When you're up in the skies, you'll have unencumbered views of the mountains, hills, and various landscapes all around you.
The weather in Mount Everett is a bit more unpredictable than some of the other locations on this list, but if you time it right, you can enjoy some beautiful days during summer and spring. The fall and winter months can be a bit colder and more difficult to fly in, but if you're up for the challenge, it can be well worth it.
If you're looking for things to do in the area, there are plenty of hiking trails, camping spots, and other outdoor activities to keep you busy. Or if you're really just here for hang gliding, you'll be able to spend all day up in the air and never get tired of the views and the experience.
So there you have it — our list of the best hang gliding locations in Massachusetts. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just getting started, there's a spot on this list that's perfect for you. So get out there and start exploring!