A group of students sitting by the Joseph Allen Skinner State Park sign on Mountain Day

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.

Important notes:

  • Shuttles are available to and from the mountain, including a shuttle (van) with a wheelchair ramp, and the ARC van will be available for those currently registered. Scroll down for the full details.
  • 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.
  • Dining Commons hours are unaffected by Mountain Day.
  • Ice cream and frozen treats (non-diary and other options provided!) are served on the mountain from 10 am–1 pm.
  • Staff Council serves treats in front of Blanchard from 11:30 am–1:30 pm for staff and faculty members who can't get away to climb.
  • If you have questions about accessibility, contact the Division of Student Life at dean-students@mtholyoke.edu.

Scheduling and notifications

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. If you're looking for a quieter time to join this tradition, we recommend arriving in the morning before 10:30 am or after 1:30 pm (make sure you get on the last shuttle which leaves campus at 1:30 pm).

Students and employees are notified of Mountain Day several different ways:

  • Bells ring from Mary Lyon clock tower at 7 am to announce the day.
  • The President 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 the MHC weather line (413-538-2330).

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

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

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


Transportation to the mountain

Fleet 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. The first buses/shuttles leave Mount Holyoke’s campus at about 9 am. 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 Fleet Services.

Shuttles start at 9 am. The last shuttle to the mountain leaves Mount Holyoke at 1:30 pm. The last shuttle returning to campus runs at 3 pm. Plan accordingly! There is an anticipated 30–45 minute wait between shuttle runs. (Note: The buses/van stop transporting people to the mountain at 1:30 pm. This is to allow enough time for you to make the last shuttle back at 3 pm. Shuttles at the Blanchard bus stop after 1:30 pm are for drop off only.)

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.

The shuttles to and from the mountain include a shuttle (van) with a wheelchair ramp. 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.

For inquiries about the accessibility of this event or to request any accommodations, please contact dean-students@mtholyoke.edu. Please make accommodation requests the first few days of classes in the fall to give implementation time, however, in all situations, a good faith effort will be made to provide accommodations up until the time of the event.