Embrace the Wilderness: Places to Hike Around the Valley

Exploring not only the UMass campus, but also the surrounding towns, is such an incredible experience.  The area surrounding Amherst provide lots of endless opportunities for many different activities and entertainment.  Looking around the UMass campus always provides the most beautiful view of the mountains and this year consider hiking one of them.

Hiking is not only good for overall health, but it is beneficial for your mind! Hiking is a huge stress reliever between the incredible workout it provides and the scenery of it all. It doesn’t get any more relaxing or rewarding than to be at the top of the mountain on the summit and seeing the amazing view below.


It doesn’t take too much preparation to go on a hike.  Grab a friend, grab sneakers (or hiking boots if you have them), make sure to bring water and some snacks, and hit the trails. There are different levels of difficulty on the trails too since some are steeper and others may require physical climbing. Check out a few of the places to go hiking around the Pioneer Valley below.

Mount Sugarloaf

Located in Sunderland, this hike provides a gorgeous view of the Connecticut River.  It is a shorter hike, generally taking about half an hour to reach the top.

Mount Toby

Mount Toby, also located in Sunderland, is not as steep as other hikes and even has a fire-tower on the top for a great 360 view (if you’re not too afraid of heights).

Mount Tom

Mount Tom located in Holyoke is well known for being a popular recreational area.  This hike is also a great workout as the trails are steep but is very rewarding since the views are incredible.

Mount Holyoke Range

This range of mountains is very close to campus since it is in Amherst and is generally less than a 15 minute drive. The Notch Visitor Center is along Route 116 and provides a great starting place for several different trails. These trails can be steep at times and level at other times but overall provides rewarding experience reaching the top.

Bare Mountain

Located across the street from the Notch Visitor Center for the Holyoke Range Mountains, this hike is perfect for a quick view.  It is generally 20-25 minutes to reach the top and has an incredible view of UMass too! It is also a great workout because it is pretty steep.

Additionally, for many hiking opportunities with people of the same interest, check out the Outing Club at UMass. For a 20 dollar fee, you can join all of UMOC’s many hikes throughout the year.

Happy hiking, Collegiettes!