Description - 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.
- The varying landscape of Mount Holyoke State Park provides many different recreational and educational opportunities. The North Visitors Center offers interpretive programs in season and the park's Friends group offers hike and programs year-round.
Recreation - 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.
Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.
The park is located in the central Connecticut River valley. FROM THE WEST: Head east on I-90 E 2. Take exit 4 for /I-91 toward Holyoke/Springfield - 0.6 mi 3. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-91 and merge onto I-91 N -3.1 mi
4. Take exit 16 to merge onto Cherry St- Continue -1.9 mi
5. At Beech St, take the 2nd exit and stay on US-202N - 0.8 mi
6. At Purple Heart Drive Rotary, take the 2nd exit onto Purple Heart Dr/US-202N - 0.7 mi
7. Exit onto Lamb St/MA-116N - Continue to follow MA-116N.
8. Park will be on the right - 7.4 mi