Climb a Mountain

5 accessible mountain summits with striking views.

Twilight over Mount Norwottuck, view from Mount Pollux. Photo by Ben Kimball.

Photo by Ben Kimball

Twilight over Mount Norwottuck, view from Mount Pollux.

The 100-mile-long Metacomet Ridge, which encompasses the nearby Holyoke Range, is well known for its spectacular cliffs and breathtaking hiking trails.  Its Amherst sector includes a handful of summits with arresting views that can be attained after an easy to moderate hike.

View Mountains of Amherst in a larger map

Mountains of Amherst

Mountains of Amherst

  1. Bare Mountain – At 1014 foot (309m), Bare Mountain is prominent on the Holyoke Range skyline west of Route 116 and “the Notch.” Park at the Notch Visitor Center on Route 116 and hike up a fairly steep half-mile stretch of the Metacomet-Monadnock (M&M) Trail. Part way up is an overlook where there is an interesting view down into the Lane & Sons Quarry.
  2. Mount Norwottuck – The highest peak in the Holyoke Range at 1106 feet (337m), it was known as Hilliard Knob until 1846 when eminent geologist and president of Amherst College Edward Hitchcock renamed it Mount Norwottuck after the native American name for the nearby village of Hadley. It straddles the Amherst-Granby line. The summit is reached after a 1-mile hike from the Notch Visitor Center along the M&M Trail.
  3. Rattlesnake Knob – Here you will find a peaceful and secluded lookout over forest lowlands and Long Mountain. The Knob lies about 0.8 miles beyond Mount Norwottuck on the M&M Trail.
  4. Mount Pollux – Only 350 feet in elevation, Mount Pollux barely qualifies as a mountain, but it offers a spectacular panoramic view of South Amherst and Mount Norwottuck. Park in the parking area just south of #1403 South East St., and walk 200 yards to the summit.
  5. Mount Orient – 955-foot (291m) Mount Orient is technically in Pelham, but can be reached from Amherst’s Amethyst Brook Conservation Area by walking 2.5 miles along the Robert Frost Trail. The peak affords a pleasant view to the south.

Further Reading

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