Mount Holyoke Range Trail

HARD 129 reviews

Mount Holyoke Range Trail is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Amherst, Massachusetts that features a river 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.

DISTANCE
11.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,156 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

bugs

muddy

rocky

snow

hiking
snow
7 days ago

Hoping to go further west but it was a bit icy, slowed me down. Great day for a hike, this place is wonderful. The geology is so cool. You're mostly walking on extruded volcanic basalt, along the ridge. There are other layers underneath. The rock is about 200 million years old, formed during the early jurassic period. Yup, before us hikers, dinosaurs roamed these woods. I'll be back!

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely love this place! I got in a great workout, went on and off the trails and it was gorgeous! I’ll definitely be back. New hikers prob should have a map, we went pretty far off and the cell service was not accessible with Verizon lol. This is a great for mountain bikers and plan to hit up those trail, caution to new mountain bikers it’s moderately to hard in some areas. Overall my favorite place so far locally. I loved that the trails were wet ,it had just rained yesterday but geared up rite I loved it. Great for a good workout I was out for about 3 hours non stop exploring there are some hidden gem areas.

3 months ago

If your looking for a workout look no further. Started at Holyoke range state park and trekked to mt. Holyoke in Skinner state park across Seven sisters ect. Did hike early Nov. found the trail to be quiet and challenging with leaves and wet terrain. I loved it. I’m a hiker who likes to make good time. My poles were a true asset. Took me 5 hrs for the 11.5. Trails are marked well. Views are mediocre to be honest. But the challenge is worth it.

4 months ago

Difficult to follow after the peak going white to orange. Started down to the right after the viewpoint but was able to correct with the app. I met a couple who didn’t have the app and they didn’t make it to the horse cave. Great view at the top. Lots of downed beech trees along the trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Fun hike that can be out and back (if you spot cars) or a loop. I’ve done both and the change in elevation gain gets old around the 7th or 8th mile. I prefer to start from the Summit House and hike east. I think it’s a little easier on the knees that way. No legal place to camp, but it’s great to finish the hike under the stars. Just be careful heading down Bare mountain. For the ambitious you can add on Norwottuck to make it a longer hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Started at the NET entrance on Old Mountain Rd. There are several south facing trails you can use to break up the hike and these will lead to the east to west trails such as Lithia Springs trail (part of this meanders onto a private drive from Amherst Rd. so I used the main drag to head south to the power line trail which connects to a yellow blazed Lithia Springs.) If you "shortcut" through the Lithia, eventually you connect with the red blazed Dry Brook Trail which will head due west with some confusing intersections so use a compass and do not rush. There are red location ID signs with numbers if you really end up lost. This hike is very strenuous and goes up and down multiple rocky peaks with 1000ft gains and some of the no name shortcuts at the east end of the range are unkept, unmarked and full of loose rocks. The vistas are beautiful but it if you plan on taking the lower trails on the way back be prepared to get eaten alive by biting flies and mosquitos. It's definitely a hike!

hiking
8 months ago

Bring Bug Spray!! I was attacked my mosquitos and biting flies the whole time. It got so bad I had to turn back half way and run so they couldn't get me. As a plus, I saw a porcupine eating leaves in a tree, and the views were very nice.

9 months ago

Okay hike overall. More challenging than it seems like it would be. Some good views but mostly pretty wooded. I got dive-bombed in the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears the entire time by aggressive bugs which was pretty awful and really put a damper on my day. They didn't bother my husband as much though.

hiking
9 months ago

The route I took was a little different but the hike was great and the mountain house was very cool. Check out my full write up along with pictures and things to look out for.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/holyoke/

hiking
10 months ago

April 14, 2018 - The trail was not closed and didn't need any repair. No snow, well marked, good trail condition, this was overall a nice trail. However, this trail isn't really "hard", more like a moderate. The gain is spread throughout the whole hike so there is no particularly hard segment. As for the view, maybe it was too early in the season but nothing spectacular. I'm sure it's much nicer when the trees have more foliage. With that being said, it's probably one of the nicest trail around.

hiking
10 months ago

April 13, 2018 we hiked the trail probably a quarter way there was a sign saying the trail is closed past a certain point didn’t want to continue since they closed it for repair. Not very difficult for beginners

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked this in October 2017 with my dad who is in good physical shape in his 60s. It was a 60-degree day but felt a bit colder as much as of this trail is shaded. We parked one car on Old Mountain Road off Route 40, then drove to the Notch Visitors Center on Route 116 to park the other car. We crossed 116 and headed east. My dad had no problems doing a 6.2-mile point-to-point of the Seven Sisters with me. He wore jeans and brought poles but didn't really need them. For the first mile or so, we passed lots of people without water or bags, in yoga pants, with their dogs. Eventually, we stopped seeing "those kind" of people and actually would only pass other people every quarter- to half-mile or so. There were lots of steep climbs and descents, a few rock scrambles, several fallen trees, a cool wooden staircase, and about a zillion ladybugs. Once we got to Taylor Notch and the auto road up to the summit, we started seeing more casual walkers again, but this part of the hike wasn't terribly easy. The summit was crowded and covered in bugs, and we still had a long way to go (over 1.5 miles) to our second car so we didn't linger long but the views were amazing. I remember coming here as a kid by car, and this view was much more rewarding having already hiked 4+ miles of somewhat challenging terrain. The last 1.5ish miles - the portion east of the summit house back to where we parked on Old Mountain Road - were much easier but still not something I would do with small kids or anyone not in good shape. Once we left the "woods" and found ourselves on the dirt road, it was almost exactly 0.4 miles back to where we parked. All in all, a great 4.5 hours for two people who only hike 1-2 times a year but are in otherwise good to excellent shape.

hiking
Saturday, December 16, 2017

Good strenuous hike! The Seven Sisters part of the trail (approx 12 miles) was a calf/thigh buster...step inclines/declines with lots of rock hopping. Starts off will a steep slope which is pretty much what your in for for the rest of the hike. Approx. 2 - 4” of packed snow and ice throughout the trail (12/15/2017). Take good traction. I did the M&M trail part and then had problems finding the loop at the end...before you approach the stairs headed up to Skinner State Park lookout bare to the right. I also did a few easy trails by the parking area at Holyoke Range State Park parking area...total 17 miles. Overall great workout and awesome hike!

hiking
Friday, November 24, 2017

We checked out this trail as this is where the Seven sisters trail race is held. It's tough with lots of ups and downs. Impressive for anyone who runs it. We had a late start and only went out a little over 3.5 miles and back. Very busy the first half mile which is all uphill with lots of people going up to the only view point of the trail. But it gets quieter further out. Other limited views later are only possible from leave-less trees. Fallen leaves made some downhill quite slippery. Overall a nice decent wooded trail that provides lots of hill work out. But very limited view. I also didn't like hearing constant gunshots in the early part of the trail from a nearby shooting range.

hiking
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Beautiful and tough.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

This is a great place to get a good, vigorous hike. It is a moderate to strenuous trail in a mixed deciduous forest in central Massachusetts. There are many side trails and they are true to the map you can get at the park headquarters near the entrance from Rte. 116. There are some beautiful, expansive views from the summit.

hiking
Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saw a bear!

hiking
Monday, September 11, 2017

Beautiful hike. Did just under 10 mile loop. Lots of elevation change and gorgeous views.

trail running
Monday, July 31, 2017

The trail itself was easy to follow and the sites were great along the way. If you are looking for a good workout I'd recommend this, but not for actual running. Most of this trail is spent in steep climbs or descents on rocky terrain making it difficult to really find a good running groove. Don't let that discourage you, it's still a fun adventure and will get those legs a workout.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trail was too rocky and for the amount of effort we put into it, there really was no amazing views. Trail is best for an intense workout. I would not bring a dog on this hike either.

hiking
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fun and varied day hike. Lots of bugs this time of year.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

it was alright...good views but not that intense.

hiking
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Difficult trail but a great workout!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Amazing trail with plenty of zigzags and different terrain. The white trail is the one to take on the loop. To start the trail walk across the street from the parking lot for the notch visitor center and go straight.

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

very beautiful trails. much variety, flat paths, up down and zig zag paths and paths where you actually work a little. bathrooms. parking. good food within 10 minutes.

hiking
Monday, January 30, 2017

awesome trail very tough if not in shape. I did it once in the summer and once in the winter for a little more of a challenge

hiking
Monday, July 04, 2016

Round trip 11 mile seven sisters skinner to the notch and back -beautiful and challenging to go round trip -lots of water needed !

hiking
Monday, June 27, 2016

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.

hiking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

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.

hiking
Monday, April 25, 2016

First hike of the season! Yay

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