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Mt. Holyoke Summit House, Talks & Walks

August 10, 2023 - August 29, 2023

Summer Events at Skinner State Park 

MONDAYS OUR OWN JURASSIC PARK, 10:00—10:30 a.m.
For all ages. Explore the geologic story of the Mt. Holyoke Range, formed and shaped by fire and ice! Experience a dinosaur footprint, or two. Meet at the kiosk in the summit picnic area.

THURSDAYS & FRIDAYS TREE TREK, 1:00—2:00 p.m.
For ages 6 and up. Join a Park Interpreter for an eye-opening walk about the life-supporting value of trees here on the Mt. Holyoke Range. This is a moderate, 0.75-mile walk. Meet at the Halfway Area.

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS WHERE’S THE WARBLER?, 10:00—10:30 a.m.
Ages 5 and up. Learn the best place in the park to spot a vibrant Cerulean Warbler or Indigo Bunting. A Park Interpreter points you in the right direction; and, if you spot one, come back and tell us! Ideal for families and casual bird watchers. Meet at the kiosk in the summit picnic area.

SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS THE STORY OF THE SUMMIT, 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Ages 12 and up. The Summit House and deck are closed for repair, but you can still hear about this historic summit and its former hotel. Discover more about Mount Holyoke and its incredible history. Meet at the kiosk in the summit picnic area.

SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS TREE TREK, 3:00—4:00 p.m.
For ages 6 and up. Join a Park Interpreter for an eye-opening walk about the life-supporting value of trees here on the Mt. Holyoke Range. This is a moderate, 0.75-mile walk. Meet at the Halfway Area.

SUNDAYS THE MAKING OF A MASTERPIECE, 10:00 —10:30 a.m.
Ages 15 and up. Discover the story of Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole and his famous painting, The Oxbow. Compare the same iconic view then and now. Meet at the kiosk in the summit picnic area.

All programs are free and open to the public. Meet at the indicated location on the summit of Mount Holyoke, or along Skinner State Park Road. A parking fee applies. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Reasonable accommodations available upon advanced request. Note: Storms cancel all outdoor programs.
For more information call (413) 586-0350.

Self-guided Geology Walking Tour

We see evidence of glacial action throughout the valley and on the Mt. Holyoke Range. Lawrence Swamp is a vestige of Lake Hitchcock. Mount Castor and Pollux in South Amherst are drumlins. Sand dunes lie near the ancient lake’s eastern shoreline. We occasionally find shallow, glacial grooves on the basalt rock on the Mt. Holyoke Range. About as wide as a thumb, they run in long, parallel rows. As the glacier melted, Lake Hitchcock formed terraces, and some are visible along trails on Mount Holyoke’s northwest flank. The glacier also left quartzite boulders scattered throughout the range as it retreated north.

Skinner State Park’s Conglomerate Rock is filled with large fragments embedded into a sandy matrix.

The Horse Caves, overhanging ledges on Mt. Norwottuck, are mostly conglomerate. Within are remains of fine-grained, thinly layered sedimentary rock.

Devil’s Football, a basalt boulder near the Halfway Area at Skinner State Park, has all these features including a few spots where a compass needle pulls away from north and points to the rock.

Enormous basalt columns, much thicker than large tree trunks and much taller, are scattered throughout the park. Columnar basalt occurs when lava cools more slowly, allowing its fracturing pattern to gradually develop. Titan’s Piazza at Skinner State Park is a stunning example.

The park offers many hiking trails and breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley. Reach the summit of Mt. Holyoke by road or hiking trail.

Self-guided Geology Walking Tour Download 

There are several places to park for the geology walking tour at Skinner State Park:

• At the Skinner State Park Main Gate parking area.

• Along the unpaved section of Skinner Park Road (note that the road is one-way).

• At the Halfway Area parking lot.

• At the Summit parking lot.

For the Mt. Holyoke Range State Park, park at the Visitors Center on Rte. 116.

OPEN WEEKENDS & HOLIDAYS
HISTORIC SUMMIT HOUSE, 9:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.
The Summit House was an 1800s hotel. Travelers once came here to relax and enjoy the view. You can do the same today!
Features: Exhibits, park information, restrooms and drinking water. Picnicking available on the grounds outside. Open late May through mid-October.

Details

Start:
August 10, 2023
End:
August 29, 2023
Website:
https://www.mass.gov/locations/skinner-state-park

Venue

Summit House & Joseph Allen Skinner State Park
Route 47 on 10 Skinner State Park Road
Hadley, MA 01035
+ Google Map
Phone
(413) 586-0350
View Venue Website