Rising roughly 1,000 feet in elevation, Mt. Holyoke Range State Park straddles the seven-mile ridge that runs from Hadley to Belchertown. The ridge is a patchwork of state, town and private lands. Parcels acquired by the state since the 1970's bring the park to over 3,000 acres. The Notch Visitor Center, located on Route 116 in Amherst, is open daily. Displays and interpretive programs are available in season. The park's Friends group offers hikes and programs throughout the year. The Mt. Holyoke Range formed some 200 million years ago when lava flowed from the valley floor, cooled and was upended. More recently, glaciers left their signature, scouring the ridge's jagged edges smooth in some places, exposing bedrock, or depositing till, sand, clay or muck in others. Since early days, settlers used all but the sheerest inclines for woodlots and pastures. Now mostly wooded, the ridge's steep slopes and east-west orientation create a number of forest types, including birch-beech-hemlock on the north side and oak-hickory on the south. Thickets, streams, ponds, and wetlands add to the diversity. Over 30 miles of marked trails provide a variety of outdoor experiences including hiking, walking, viewing vistas, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding and hunting.
Nice little hike along a woods road leading to the reservoir. Easy trailhead access. Could use more blazes. We pulled the kids up in sleds and had a blast coming back down the last stretch. Ran into hunters, so make sure to wear orange if it's hunting season.
Jim H. on Lithia Springs
Easy trail. Can't wait to go back to fish! Water looks really clean.
Love this trail. I am not an incredibly experienced hiker but not a total newbie either. I've followed the M-M trail through Mt Norwottuck and Long Mountain previously. It's a fairly rigorous hike but not too crazy, and there are lots of different side trails you can follow.
Today I followed to white blazes to the top of Mt Norwottuck, took about 40 minutes at an easy pace. Had a nice lunch there then continued to the horse caves. Detoured to the Rattlesnake Knob (low elevation vista with a nice view of surroundings) before heading back on the Robert Frost trail (orange blazes). All in all the trip took 2 hours and 40 minutes, with several breaks and stops to take in the view and surrounding area. Definitely recommend this route, the way back is fairly easy and a welcome respite from the ups and downs of the way up. Be sure to grab a map from the visitors center - there is much to explore and can get easy to get lost without one. There is some loose rock and steep inclines in places so would refrain from taking small children.