Mountain Day provides a break from the hustle and bustle of the academic pace of the College. In keeping with the tradition of our founder, many faculty, staff, and students enjoy a robust hike up the mountain to enjoy the day at the summit of J.A. Skinner State Park.

Special considerations for 2021

  • Make sure to bring your mask! Facial coverings are required when on the shuttles and for entering the Summit House.
  • We encourage you to wear your wristband to visually cue others as to your comfort level with interactions.
  • Living in Merrill House? Learn more about shuttles from Hampshire College to the mountain in the FAQ.
  • Mountain Day does not alleviate your responsibility and commitment to the community compact. All students must honor the current twice-weekly testing requirement. If Mountain Day falls on your typical testing day, we encourage you to still go on that day! All are reminded to not wait until the last minute to get their required tests in — the testing center hours are strictly 8 am - 6 pm.

Important notes

  • The hike is in a heavily wooded area.
  • Be mindful of your shoe choice, particularly if there are some raindrops.
  • Remember the importance of using sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during and after your hike.
  • Do not litter or leave trash on the mountain. It is your responsibility to locate an appropriate trash/recycling container or to carry items in and out, should you choose to dine along any of the trails.
  • Remember that Mt. Holyoke is a public space! As such, there may be hikers or others outside enjoying the mountain. Please be mindful.
  • At Mt.Holyoke’s summit the Summit House will be open and bathrooms and water filling will be accessible. Masks are required to enter the Summit house.
  • Dining Commons hours are unaffected by Mountain Day.
  • Ice cream is served on the mountain from 9 am – 1 pm.
  • Staff Council serves treats in front of Blanchard from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm for staff members who can't get away to climb


When is Mountain Day?

The exact date of Mountain Day is kept secret. Mountain Day is determined by the President of the College and announced to the community at 7 am on the actual day with approximately 100 chimes of the bells, signaling that classes are canceled.

How are students notified?

Students are notified of Mountain Day several different ways:

  • Bells ring from Mary Lyon clock tower at 7 am to announce the day.
  • President Stephens will send an all-campus email announcement.
  • There will be an announcement on the Mount Holyoke College website.
  • There is a recorded voice announcement on MHC Weather line (413-538-2330).

We encourage students to check multiple sources to confirm it is Mountain Day before missing any classes.

Is Mountain Day a 5-College event?

No, Mountain Day is a Mount Holyoke-specific holiday. 5 College classes, the PVTA buses, and off campus events will continue as scheduled.

When does Mountain Day end?

Regularly scheduled Mount Holyoke College events resume at 4 pm (lectures, meetings, rehearsals, etc.).

Is there transportation to the mountain?

Yes. Auxiliary Services provides shuttle vans and bus transportation to the mountain. 

The ARC van will be available to those registered already for it who need an accessible vehicle that will provide transport to the top of the mountain, please follow the typical process for requesting the ARC van.  

The shuttle vans and buses will pick students up at the Community Center bus stop. For students at Hampshire College, transportation will pick up from the Merrill/Dakin bus stop.

The first buses/shuttles leave Mount Holyoke’s campus at about 9 am. There will also be a shuttle starting at Hampshire College around 9 a.m. The shuttles will then run on a loop. The last bus/shuttle to the mountain leaves at 1:30 pm, and the last return bus/shuttle is at 3 pm.

Note: The PVTA bus to Smith will NOT drop students off at the mountain. Please take the vans/buses provided by Auxiliary Services.

Can I drive my car to the top?

No, students, faculty, and staff are not allowed to drive personal vehicles to the top of the mountain. You may park your vehicle at the bottom and walk or take a shuttle to the top. Please note that parking at the bottom of the mountain is extremely limited. We strongly encourage all visitors to carpool.

Is there food at the top of the mountain?

No meals are served at the top of the Mountain. Campus meals are served on our regular schedule. The President’s Office sponsors ice cream at the Summit. Ice cream is available from 9 am – 1 pm.

What if I have an accessibility need?

The ARC van will be available for those students who need an accessible ride and are registered for using the ARC van, you should call Public Safety and Services who will connect you with the ARC van. 

If you choose to carpool to the mountain, please note that you will still be required to park at the bottom and walk or take a shuttle to the top. There is no parking available at the top of the mountain.

Service animals are welcome to ride the shuttles and vans with their handlers. Non-service animals are not permitted in the vans or shuttles, but are welcome on the mountain.

If you have any other questions or accessibility concerns, please contact the Division of Student Life at dean-students@mtholyoke.edu.