The rolling, teardrop shaped mountains of the Holyoke Range are a key feature throughout the Amherst and Northampton area, so it’s likely that hikers and trail runners will be itching to get up onto this prominent traprock ridge. Several state parks, including Mount Tom Reservation on the west side of the Connecticut River and Joseph Allen Skinner/Mount Holyoke Range State Park on the east side of the river, have numerous trails. The most popular is the Metacomet-Monadnock section of the 215-mile New England Trail, which runs about 4 miles over the ridgeline of Mount Tom and 11 miles over the Holyoke Range. Some sections are quite tough (think loose traprock and steep climbs) but it’s a good option for experienced trail runners or those who don’t mind slowing down to a hiking pace at times.
Easier Trail Run: Also rewarding with lovely scenery is the section of the Robert Frost Trail around Mount Norwottuck to Rattlesnake Knob. Starting from The Notch Visitors Center, this wide dirt trail bends around the base of Mount Norwottuck then climbs gently to meet the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. From here, it continues on the flat ridgeline to the beautiful vistas of Rattlesnake Knob. As an out and back, this trail run is about 3.8 miles with an ascent of 384 feet.