Metacomet-Monadnock Trail is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Hadley, MA that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from February until October.
Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, Holyoke area consists of multiple section of the M&M trail going over the Holyoke range, which is the most strenuous, and other mountains. Sections range from 4-7 miles point to point. Go to the AMC website for all section info.
Rugged 90% up hill hard but rewarding view peak
This a small adventure!!! Great leg workout! Beautiful & easy trail to follow!
Ran this as part of Seven Sisters trail race. Very technical in parts, with some hand-over-hand climbing to get up and down the steepest pitches. Couldn't see anything due to the fog and rain, but was told the views really are great from the peaks.
Incredible views !Lots of challenging terrain!Planf for half a day hiking
This was always one of my favorite hikes as a kid, which I've completed several times with my family, my scout troop, and once or twice with friends. It's a tough hike, with lots of steep climbs and descents, but you always feel a sense of satisfaction when you reach the visitor center. No longer living in Massachusetts, I miss this trail.
My favorite memory of this trail was when my troop hiked it in early March, 1992 as a trailing hike for a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch that several of us were going on that summer. The goal was to carry as much weight as we'd be carrying on the trip, but I hadn't bought a good pack at this point, so I loaded my cheap Academy Broadway frame pack that I got at Caldor when I first became a scout with sandbox sand and started out. The trail was still quite icy, which made it more difficult, especially when going down hill. At one point, I started to slip and, as my balance shifted, both shoulder straps of my pack came undone. The pack, now only attached to me by the hipbelt, flopped down and knocked me over, and I proceeded to slide down the hill, basically using the pack as a sled.
This section, though referred to on this site by many names and markers, and improperly identified as other segments, is defined by the AMC as the white-blazed section of the M-M trail which starts at the bottom of Mt. Holyoke in the Skinner State Park, and finishes at the bottom of Bare Mtn. at the Granby Notch Visitor Center, about 7 miles in length. I would rate it mostly Class 1, with a few sections of Class 2 or 3. I have uploaded a track of a recent traverse.
There is a unique satisfaction in completing a mountain range (well, technically we left out Norwottuck and Long Mtn...). We started at Bare (Rt. 116) at around 6 AM. We chose that route to save our knees, as the trail requires scrambling and can be treacherous on the way down. Reached the summit 20 minutes later. Next was Hitchcock, another 40 minutes, mostly flat. Breathtaking views at both summits, though Hitchcock is limited. Then came the seven sisters-- a seemingly neverending up-and-down. None of the elevation gains or losses were particularly great, but the constant shift in gears is exhausting. The toughest part was the Taylor Notch, a deep rivet in the ridgeline that descends and ascends very sharply, right before the arrival at the top. Finally, we reach the summit of Mt. Holyoke, which is truly a sight to beheld. No view comes close.
We walked down the summit road to save our legs and had parked a car at both ends-- a very good idea. The whole trip took the five of us just under 4 hours with many breaks and extended gazing at summits.
This hike was my goal for the summer and I felt very accomplished having done it all! Now I just have to go back and do it in the fall.
Amazing and kinda hard.
Beautiful and moderate to hard
This review is for Section 7 of the Metacomet Monadnock Trail. This is a 6.6 mile trail from Rt 47 to the Notch. The views are beautiful, especially at Mt Holyoke and Bare Mountain.
If you want to hike the whole thing (takes 2.5-3 hours and can be strenuous at times), it makes sense to either park a car at both ends or arrange a pickup at the far end. Hiking back and forth across section 7 would be 13 miles and very tiring.
You can park at either the Notch (if you are hiking East to West) or at the parking area on Mountain Rd off Hockanum Rd, by the Skinner Park sign (if you are hiking West to East).
There are restrooms at the Notch and at Mt Holyoke Summit House (which is presently closed, although the bathrooms are clean and functional).
My Track from June 5, 2015, displays the whole Section 7 of the M-M trail.
Note that many of the reviews on this trail apply to hikes other than Section 7 of the M-M trail, either in Skinner Park or elsewhere.
Full details are available from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
This review is for the Bare Mountain section of the M&M trail.
We parked at the Notch visitor center, then crossed the road to the trailhead on the other side. It was a quick jaunt up, though pretty challenging. There was a portion of the trail that was almost entirely rock scrambles-- be sure to have thick soled shoes. We reached the top in about thirty minutes, taking a leisurely pace.
The view at the top is nice, and be sure to bring a colored ribbon to attach to the pole! My favorite part was not the summit, though (nice views of the 7 sisters, but also a rock quarry on one side). I love the trail itself. Very woodsy and wild, though well maintained with easy-to-follow markers. I'd definitely do again!
This review is for the Skinner Park section.
My wife's & mine favorite strenuous go-to trail in the Amherst area. I have to take away 1 star because there is so much up & down as well as some rock scrambling. A great way to spend the day - hike one way to Mt. Holyoke, have a picnic, then hike back to the Holyoke Range lot. The trail is about 4.7 miles across the ridgeline, my last RT traverse took 4 hours 20 minutes, so plan for that if you're doing a RT. It's possible to park a second car at the base of Mt. Holyoke and do a one-way trip.
My husband and I finally hit section 7 of the M&M which takes you across the most strenuous part of the Holyoke Range. We began our hike on the dirt/gravel road at Skinner State Park and followed it to the start of the white blazed M&M trail. The climb was steep in spots, and as per usual on this trail, there were many rock obstacles. The views to be had were beautiful of the valley below and the Connecticut River. We made Mt. Holyoke in short time (roughly 1.6mi), had lunch and then continued down the other side. The descent was quite steep and I was glad we didn't ascend that way! Reached the roadway, crossed it and went up the other side. (hint: Taylor's notch is the road). Another steep ascent lead to a spectacular view. We hadn't planned to continue on but did. The "seven sisters" are a series of inclines and declines. They felt much less demanding and strenuous than I had expected but you do feel it nonetheless. Some rock obstacles so be careful. We completed the seven sisters and turned around to go back. Once we reached the auto road, we got off the trail and descended to the car via the roadway.
The following day, we returned but entered from the Notch Visitor's Center side. This side was more strenous and littered with rock obstacles. The view from the top of Bare Mountain was beautiful. The forest land was very nice and again, lots of ascending and descending before making it Mt. Hitchcock. The view here was just as beautiful as Bare, but limited view space and there were quite a few hikers. We continued further to complete the other side of what we didn't finish the previous day and returned back to the car. I have to warn you! This is a strenuous hike and can be exhausting. Be cautious on descent at Bare. There are many rocks that can become quite slippery. I fell and injured my knee on the way back down.
Overall, I would recommend if you do this hike to park a car at each end. While the mileage is not bad, the amount of ascents/descents will exhaust you. It's not an easy hike but it is rewarding. If you don't plan to park a car at each end and are going both ways in one day, allow yourself plenty of time because you'll probably want to rest frequently.
Mistake on last review on section 9, after the guardrail turn left not right.
Completed section 9 which starts on Harris Mpuntain Rd. I only rated this section as 2 stars because there are no views and nothing interesting. The terrain varies in elevation but there aren't any obstacles like rocks or roots. You're walking the whole time through forests. You can faintly make out some distant mountains. One spot offers some mountain views as you cross someone's backyard. The most difficult part is right before Amherst Rd descending a very steep "hill". Someone secured ropes to trees to help which does help a great deal. The trail starts up again across the road and up right past the storage place. This section isn't difficult either. You then have to cross one residential road, into a short wooded section then you reach federal street. It looks like they are trying to re-route the trail down this road. For now, cross onto Cheryl Circle and go down until the guardrail. Turn right onto the trail right past the guardrail. There is a picnic table at the top of the hill in this section. Past this over the tracks there is a stream then Rt. 9 and end of the section. It's worth it to cross the road onto section 10 into Holland Glen. There is a beautiful section of stream, waterfalls and loss covered rocks.
Overall of all the sections we have done this is my least favorite.
This Review is for Secton 11: Enfield Road, Mt. Lincoln, Cadwell Memorial Forest to North Valley Road, Pelham via Buffam Falls Conservation Area. The trailhead is difficult to find. It is on Enfield Road. You'll need to get off Exit 19 of I-91 and its about 15 minutes from the Holyoke Range (appox.)
The majority of Section 11 is an easy trail to hike. At points you feel more like you're taking a walk through the woods than actually hiking. At 0.7 miles you come to Mt. Lincoln, which you won't even feel like you are on a mountain. There is a multipurpose tower there but it is no trespassing. No views. Continue to the left down the road and look for white trail blazes. The trail picks up again on your right a little way down the road. This section is full of forest views with some plank bridges to walk across. The planks have been rotted out and broken, so watch your step.
During this hike, you will cross a few roadways. Be cautious and careful to watch for the trail blazes. There are some sections where the trail blazes are unclear.
The best part of the trail is the last section when you get into the Buffam Falls Conservation Area. The streams here are beautiful with varying types of waterfalls. The trail gets a bit confusing as it appears to continue down some steps to a fan waterfall. If you plan to complete the section, you will need to go back up the steps and to the left near the brook. It will follow a path that way toward a bridge over the stream, sign indicating it's Buffam Falls Conservation Area on your right. Cross the bridge and up a little hill and you're at North Valley Road, the end of Section 11.
Overall, easy hike with beautiful scenery. Sign indicates 3.9 miles for Section 11 but it is more like 3 1/3 miles.
There is an album of photos of the Metacomet-Monadnock sections, that I've hiked so far, on my Facebook and it is set to public if you'd like to check out the photos of those sections I've reviewed so far.
I keep forgetting to pinpoint the trailhead at the start or end of the trail, hopefully I'll remember next time so my reviews move to different trails with each section being separately marked.
When I finish up the sections in and around the Holyoke Range, I'll figure out how to add a trail.
Hike Section 5 today. Began on Old EastHampton Rd, which is right off Rt. 141 in Holyoke, a little ways before the Mt. Tom State Reservation 141 (Christopher Clark Rd.) entrance (if you're heading on 141W). The trailhead was a bit difficult to find. The first approx. 1.08mi weren't bad and at that mileage point you will come to a lookout point. Keep careful track of the trail blazes from this point forward because the markings can get very confusing. There is one section that requires a brief ledge walk and a bit of rock scrambling. Some of the trail blazes appear old and worn off the trees. At some points, especially when coming to clearings, we had to look around and search for the trail blazes because they weren't easily visible. The trail alternates from moderate to strenuous, the strenuous parts coming from sections that were all rock and having to very carefully balance over the rocks up an incline. The elevation gain was minimal but definitely felt! There is one section with many downed trees, right past what looks like an old bridge made from branches that is not usable and is thrown off to the side. This area is very dense and the trail goes over and around the downed trees like an obstacle course. Ascending out of this section you will eventually pass by an old fire tower in very poor shape and I'd highly recommend you avoid climbing this. My husband tried the ladder and the whole tower shook. Past this it is about 2 miles, maybe a little more to Rt. 202. If you are section hiking this trail, i recommend crossing over to the Reservoir to have lunch, otherwise there's nowhere to sit down. Upon your return, I have to caution, be careful, or you will end up veering off course. Be extremely careful to watch the blazes. Note that sometimes the trail requires a turn but it isn't marked that way and you have to look ahead or even venture ahead a ways to see if you're going the right or wrong way.
It's a beautiful route but confusing. I'd recommend if you're going to pay alot of attention to where you're going and you're good at a sense of direction in the woods. And don't go alone. The trail doesn't appear to get much usage and we saw no one while we were out. Also, the mileage I provide is from one side to the other so double it if you're going out and back.
So this time we started at Notch Visitor Center and did what is considered section 8-granby notch to Harris mountain road via mt Norwottuck and long Mtn. Have to say that there were sections that were very strenuous like by the Revolutionary war horse caves (ledges not truly caves). It was worth it! The scrambles in the section between Norwottuck and the "caves" we're a bit tough but fun. It goes along with the orange Robert Frost trail. There were some easy sections, some moderate and some strenuous. Varying terrains and elevation changes. Round trip for us was about 7 hours including stops including lunch. Next will be either section 6 or 9!