Mt Holyoke Range Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Amherst, Massachusetts that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Round trip 11 mile seven sisters skinner to the notch and back -beautiful and challenging to go round trip -lots of water needed !
Agreed that it is is beautiful and grueling. One word of caution, the trail blazes are not very frequent and there is a big chance that you can stray from the trail from time to time. There are lots of little trail offshoots that, while short and you realize fairly quickly that you made a wrong turn, it can add some distance & time to your planned hike. It probably added 1/2 mile or so to my hike. However, some of the "side trips" resulted in seeing very nice views and so you can't get to upset.
Started hike at the Notch Visitors Center (1500 West St., Amherst, MA). Took the Metacomet-Monadnock trail ("M-M"; white blazes) across the road. Trail begins heading straight up immediately (500' of elevation in about 0.6 miles) to the top of Bare Mt. The views from the peaks were beautiful - the day was clear and warm and it felt that I could see all the way to the Vermont border. You don't get too much respite from the ups & downs until you get to the top of Mt. Hitchcock, which for me was 1.55 miles from the start because of the "side trips". Again, appreciate the views at the top of the ridge, since there really is not much to see as you head down the mountains. Made a left onto Mt. Hitchcock trail ("MH; red blazes) and proceeded down hill for about 0.7 miles. The trail is very hard to follow, both because of the infrequency of red blazes, and because the trail generally follows a dried up stream bed which has lots of loose rocks, covered by leaves and tree branches. If you just aim downhill, you will eventually hit the intersecting trail, the Lithia Springs trail ("LS"; yellow blazes). I made a right on the LS trail, which is a generally flat trail - kind of a nice "walk in the park" trail - which is a nice way to relax about the uphills of the M-M trail and the downhill, ankle busting MH trail. Continued about 0.7 miles on the LS until its intersection with the Low Place trail ("LP"; blue blazes) coming in from the right. Proceeded up the LP for about 0.8 miles as it generally rose at a fairly moderate and gradual incline. Very nice forest trail with not a lot of scrambling or difficult terrain. At the top, the LP intersects with the M-M. Be alert at this point as the white M-M blazes are not clear or nearby - you need to look around a bit away from the intersection to find the blazes. I made a right onto the M-M and continued back about 1.4 miles (you will note that the mileage doesn't add up since I made a number of unintended "side trips" on the way out), down & up and down & up and sometimes, down & up & up & up - got to the point that I dreaded the down as I knew that there would be a worse up as payment for the down. The are a number of spots on the M-M where you have to stow your trekking poles and scramble up or down some outcroppings of rock. That was the fun part. At the end of this you get to enjoy a nice downhill walk, albeit it on fairly loose rock and some small boulder outcroppings.
On a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (strenuous) with 3 being "moderate", I would rate this hike about a 3.75/4.0 - there was a lot of ups which were pretty steep, but easily doable. Also, the younger you are the more that this would probably move closer to the 3.5, but now you know that I am not that young. It was a lot of fun, and if I had more time I would have continued further towards Taylor's Notch and Mt. Holyoke - next time.
Beautiful and grueling at the same time. We hiked from Skinner park to the Summit house in about 5 hours. The views were well worth it though.
First hike of the season! Yay
Mt. Holyoke kicked my ass. If you like a good challenge this is for you. My thighs and legs have never hated me so much before. For the far I got, I have a new appreciation for my body. Didn't get to finish the white trail, which is super steep, but I sure do plan to go back and complete it one of these fine days. I’d recommend starting as early as you can if you plan a long hike, bring lots of fluids and a few snacks for energy, invest in a good pair of hiking shoes-learned that the hard way and bring a set of hiking/workout gloves or hiking stick.... it gets very steep and if climbing isn’t your forte’ you might need some support from the rocks/ground or rocks.
Mt.Holyoke kicked my ass...I have never felt so defeated by my legs and thighs. For the far I got, I have a new appreciation for my body. I didn't get to finish but I plan to. If you like a good challenge...I recommend this hike. Bring lots of fluids and a snack or two with you as well as climbing gloves/stick. It gets quite steep so you might need some sort of support from the rocks, trees or ground. And get a good pair of hiking shoes...learned that the hard way.