Monday, October 21, 2013

Mt Holyoke, Skinner State Park

October 20, 2013
Distance: 2.1 miles
Time: 1 hour 18 minutes

Map: Massachusetts Trail Guide (The book comes with a map which includes this area. Unfortunately the map is on thin fragile paper, but I haven't found better quality MA maps). I also picked up a DCR map at the trailhead - also available online Skinner State Park - the one printed by the park is on thicker paper than the AMC map.

Parking: See Skinner State Park. I drove up Route 47 northbound. I drove past the first sign for Mountain Road (on right). Turn right at the second sign (there is also a sign for the park there) for Mountain Road on the right. Before the road ends at a T intersection (to the left is the park road to the summit, which gets gated shut in the evening, to the right is Mountain Road which is one way going the wrong direction), there is a small parking area. However, since the parking area maybe allows 10 cars or so, everyone just parks on the road before the parking area, and walks up to the intersection of Mountain Road & the park road.

Restrooms: Portapotties at summit parking area 
Post hike dinner: n/a

Directions: There is a trail kiosk in the parking area. Pick up a map there if one is available. A trail starts near the parking area, to the left of the park road. It is called the Two Forest trail (marked on the map as TF), and is yellow blazed. There is a sign with the trail name near the beginning of the trail. Follow the trail which parallels the park road (which is to your right). Keep track of the blazes, as sometimes there are woods roads which aren't blazed and aren't your trail. I got confused a bit at first.The yellow trail joins the blue blazed Devil's Football trail at a large rock. Can't miss the rock. At this point, follow the blue blazed trail, which is more steep than the yellow blazed trail. The blue blazed trail crosses the park road, and continues up some steps on the opposite side of the road. It continues up more steeply. It joins the white blazed M-M trail close to the summit. At the summit is a building (closed off), and a view. Return the way you came.

Notes: This is a very popular hike. Many people just walk up the park road. But, there were still plenty of people on the trail as well. There were a LOT of dogs on this hike. I suggest only bringing very well mannered dogs. Many dogs were off leash, with no owner control, so we had a lot of dogs running up to my dog (who really, really hates this). There were a lot of non-hikers hiking. E.g. men hiking in loafers, people out to walk their dogs, etc.

Devil's Football

Intersection of Two Forest and Devil's Football trails.

The park road closes at 4pm (gates to upper parking lot locked).
However, there is parking as described above, outside the gates.

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