The Notch and the Holyoke Range - it's why most of us go to Amherst.

[ Notch Visitors Center | Long Mountain and Mt. Norwottuck from the East ]
[ Summit House | Notch - Summit House traverse ]

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Notch Visitors Center


The Notch visitors center is the classic nearby hiking area. From here, there are three standard hikes. A The first heads east, beginning behind and just south of the visitors center. This hike heads up Mt. Norwottuck, and can be done up and down on the same trail or in a loop. (see map) ~1.75 hours round trip.
B The second hike heads west from the visitors center. The trail begins just south of the parking lot, and across Rt. 116. Follow the white Blazes to the top of Bare Mtn. (see map) ~1.25 hours round trip.
The third hike is the reverse of the Summit House - Notch Traverse (see below)
  • Head South on Rt. 116 (past LeFrak Gymnasium)
  • Stay on 116, past Hampshire College, past Atkins Farms, until you find yourself heading up a hill (about 5 miles)
  • At the top of the hill, there is a sign for the Notch Visitors Center and the State Park. note: the pvta (route 38) has a stop at the visitors center, between MHC and HC

  • The parking area is on the left, 100 yards after the sign

Long Mtn. and Mt. Norwottuck from the east


To avoid the crowds at the Visitors Center, head to the east side of Mt. Norwottuck for a great hike up the less traveled Long Mtn. This hike heads along the Metacomet-Monadnock trail (as do all the Holyoke Range hikes). This route takes you past the Horse Caves and Rattlesnake knob. (see map)~2 hour round trip.
  • Start out going south on Rt. 116 (past LeFrak Gymnasium)
  • Head 2.8 miles south to Bay Rd (just before Atkin's Farms)and turn left.
  • Head 2.9 miles along Bay Rd to Harris Mtn. Rd. and turn right.

  • There is parking on both sides of the road in about .5 miles. The trail begins to the right (west) of the road.

Summit House


This is a short hike to the top of Mt. Holyoke from Rt. 47. At the top of the mountain is the Summit House. A visitors center in the summer, the Summit House used to be a hotel, and is now owned by the state. The hike begins at the small parking lot, and continues up and to the right, following pale yellow markers. Head up until you reach Mountain Rd. At this point, you should find the trail to the Summit about 200 yards downhill from the Halfway house (the former end of the road, where a cable car ran to the Summit). The hike from here is steep, but short, and brings you straight to the top.~30 min. hike.
  • Head south on Rt. 116 to the intersection with Bay Rd. (just before Atkin's Farms).
  • Turn right on Bay road, and take it until it ends at Rt. 47.
  • Turn left onto Rt. 47, and travel approx. 2 miles.

  • There are several small dirt parking areas on the left (south) side of the road. There is a gate across an old dirt road on a few of them, and some signs for Holoyke Range State Park, or something along those lines. Look at the map to see where these are in relation to each other.

Summit House to the Notch Traverse


The Summit House to Notch traverse is a great medium - long hike to do if you have a small group of people, and two cars, or if you have a long day to spend hiking, but no car. The hike is along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Follow the White blazes along the ridgeline, and be rewarded with several great views of the valley for your efforts. If you're carless, I reccommend taking the PVTA from Amherst to the Notch (route 38). Hike from the Notch to the Summit House and then down to Rt. 47 at the bottom of the Summit House driveway. From here, you can catch Route 39 to Hadley or to Holyoke, and then catch the PVTA back to Amherst. Be careful, though, because Route 39 has a very limited schedule.~2.5 hour hike.
  • Head to the Notch (see directions above.
  • Head south on Rt. 116 to the intersection with Bay Rd. (just before Atkin's Farms).
  • Turn right on Bay road, and take it until it ends at Rt. 47.
  • Turn left onto Rt. 47, and travel approx. 2.5 miles to a left hand turn that says "Skinner State Park" (Mountain Rd.).

  • Turn L on Mountain Rd. which continues to the Summit House.