Holyoke Range State Park, Amherst
How do you define a great day Mountain Biking? Is it miles of buff singletrack snaking up and down a forested loamy ridge or numerous rocky technical trails working their way up and down along a rocky spine. Which ever suits your fancy find it at Mount Holyoke Range State Park.
The northern side of the Notch features 'Earles' Trails' - and Skinner State Park. Miles of smooth flowing single track - abounding in challenging climbs and swoopy descents. All envisioned and uncovered in the forest by the talented folks from Hampshire College. These trails are mostly not on State Forest land but are incredibly fun.
South of the ridge find the famous 'Batchelor Street' trails consisting of such memorable challenges as 'Serpant God' the aptly named 'Technical Trail' and similar rock piles lovingly coaxed into trails by the legendary Pete Vangel and his loyal band of volunteers.
Either side is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon or, for the fearless and strong of leg, a combination of the two might be the ultimate experience. Though with 3000 acres and over 30 miles of marked trails to explore you'll probably need to spend more than one day here.
There are some nice trails on the Skinner State Park side, accross from Rte. 116. The Skinner State Park side allows you to work your way along the southern side of the range then climb Mt. Holyoke proper -- though the final ascent is paved it's worth it for the view (see Skinner map).
From the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) take exit 5. Then take route 33 north to route 116 north to the Amherst town line. You can park at the Notch Visitor's Center which is on route 116. Alternatively about a mile and a hlaf south of the center turn turn onto Amherst Street and then left on Batchelor Street. The Bachellor Street parking area will be on your left.
Maps Having four maps at the top of this page might seem excessive. But all have good information.
The Trailforks map in particular has everything, and if you download the free App into your phone or GPS device you'll be able to see exactely where you are out on the trails.
Be careful when riding near the Notch Visitor's Center. Kids and dogs abound. Also, yield to equestrians when you see them.
By Harold Green