7 Sisters – Holyoke Range

Hiking the 7 Sisters of the Holyoke Range

Hike Date: March 27, 2021

We felt so rejuvenated after a cold winter during this sun-filled early spring hike of the seven sisters of the Holyoke Range in Massachusetts.


0 ft
Elevation Gain


Segment Distance

Total Distance

Route Description

0 mi0 miStart at Notch Visitor Center at Holyoke Range State Park
4.6 mi4.6 miMetacomet-Monadnock (M-M) Trail to Mt. Holyoke
0.7 mi5.3 miM-M Trail back to Black Rock Trail
0.4 mi5.7 miBlack Rock Trail to Lithia Outlook Trail
0.5 mi6.2 miLithia Outlook Trail to Lithia Springs Trail
2.6 mi8.8 miLithia Springs Trail to unnamed trail up Bare Mountain
0.5 mi9.3 miUnnamed trail up Bare Mountain
0.5 mi9.8 miM-M Trail back to parking lot


Note: Map mileage does not match stats because Gaia GPS tends to undercount it. Mileage stats were calculated using Gaia tracking and the Holyoke Range State Park trail map.

It is late March in Massachusetts and we are soaking up every minute of sun and warmth when we can. On Saturday, we hiked an out and back of half of the Holyoke Range, part of Skinner and Holyoke Range State Parks in central Massachusetts and it was absolutely glorious. 

At around 11:30am, we parked on a side road across the street from the Notch Visitor Center parking lot that was already completely full of other visitors itching to spend some time outside. We began on Metacomet-Monadnock trail and immediately climbed up to the first peak on this ridgeline hike, Bare Mountain. This first section of trail was the rockiest from a large slide of loose stones. Feeling so filled up by the warmth of the sun and the gentle cool breeze, we bolted up to the first peak. With leaves still on the ground and barren trees surrounding us, we could see miles of farmland and small towns in the valley below us.

Rocky trail at the beginning
Rocky trail continues
View from Bare Mountain

For the next hour, we followed the white blazes that took us up and over small peaks and past small overlooks. Usually, I would be upset by the pointless ups and downs (PUDs), but today I just felt so grateful for being able to be outside in the beautiful weather. We were surprised by how steep some sections were and enjoyed getting our heart rates up on some of the ascents. 

M-M Trail between peaks
Super steep spot
View from a small outlook

When we crossed the paved road that goes up Mt. Holyoke, we only had about a half of a mile to get to the last peak of the day. We climbed to the top and found a beautiful summit with multiple picnic areas with grills, scenic overviews, and a large summit house with a wraparound balcony. This would be a perfect place to spend the day! 

Mt. Holyoke Summit House
View from Mt. Holyoke
Mt. Holyoke summit area
Picnic spots on Mt. Holyoke

This could have been an out and back hike where we retraced our steps along the ridgeline, but we decided to make it a loop by dropping down to lower elevation. At Black Rock Trail, we turned right to start descending. Off the ridgeline, we could stretch our legs over easier terrain and gain more solitude in an area that was clearly less traveled. We connected with Lithia Outlook Trail and then Lithia Springs Trail, which took us by a beautiful reservoir and along some wider paths. 

Lithia Springs Trail
Lithia Springs Reservoir

Then, in mile 9 when we were almost finished, we had to climb back onto the ridge to meet up with the trail we began on atop Bare Mountain. This was brutal! It was hot and sunny and this section of dusty and rocky trail just went straight up. With our hearts pumping, we made it back to that first peak with just a short descent back to the car. 

Trail up Bare Mountain
Last view from Bare Mountain

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