Bare Mountain (Massachusetts)
- Alternate spelling: should not be confused with Bear Mountain.
View from the summit of Bare Mountain
|Elevation||1,014 ft (309 m)|
|Location||Amherst and South Hadley, Massachusetts.|
|Parent range||Holyoke Range / Metacomet Ridge|
|Age of rock||200 Ma|
|Mountain type||Fault-block; igneous|
|Easiest route||Metacomet-Monadnock Trail|
Bare Mountain, 1,014 feet (309 m) above sea level, is a prominent peak of the Holyoke Range of traprock mountains located in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts, and part of the greater Metacomet Ridge that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. The peak rises steeply from the river valley 1,000 feet (300 m) below; its bald summit offers sweeping views. Bare Mountain is located within the towns of Amherst and South Hadley, Massachusetts. Part of its northeastern flanks are in Hadley and part of its southern flanks are in Granby. It is traversed by the 110-mile (180 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.
Description and history
A hiking destination popular among local college students, Bare Mountain offers a 270° vista over the surrounding valleys to the north and south, and a bird's eye view across Mount Norwottuck and the eastern peaks of the Holyoke Range. Also visible from the top are the Round Mountain quarry and the campuses of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Hampshire College to the north and Westover Joint Air Reserve Base to the south. A prime example of a basalt talus slope is located on the east side of the mountain, along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.
The next peak to its west is called Mount Hitchcock. The peak to its east, Round Mountain, has been removed by quarrying activity. The next to its east is thus now Mount Norwottuck in Granby. Both these nearby peaks once had towers on them, but those have since been taken down. Thus Bare Mountain offer the best views until Long Mountain to the east or Mount Holyoke to the west are reached. Bare Mountain is the highest point within South Hadley. For many decades, Mount Hitchcock was thought to be the highest. However, carefully topographical and boundary analysis shows both that the peak of Bare Mountain is within the borders of the town and that it is 8 feet higher.
Geology and ecology
Bare Mountain, like much of the Metacomet Ridge, is composed of basalt, also called traprock, a volcanic rock. The lava from which the mountain is formed was erupted in the early Jurassic Period when North America was rifting apart from Africa and Eurasia. The lava welled up from the rift and solidified into sheets of strata hundreds of feet thick. Subsequent faulting and earthquake activity tilted the strata, creating the dramatic cliffs and ridges of Bare Mountain. Hot, dry upper slopes, cool, moist ravines, and mineral-rich ledges of basalt talus produce a combination of microclimate ecosystems on the mountain that support plant and animal species uncommon in greater Massachusetts. (See Metacomet Ridge for more information on the geology and ecosystem of Bare Mountain.)
- Bare Mountain (disambiguation) is also the name of several other mountains in the United States.
- Should not be confused with Bear Mountain, the name of more than 70 peaks in the United States alone, including two in Massachusetts.
- Metacomet Ridge
- Robert Frost Trail (Massachusetts)
- Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
- Adjacent summits:
|< West||East >|
(no longer existent, no image)
- Farnsworth, Elizabeth J. "Metacomet-Mattabesett Trail Natural Resource Assessment." 2004. PDF file. Cited Nov. 20, 2007.
- "Amherst College Library Chronology". Cited from web Dec. 2, 2007.
- The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail Guide. 9th Edition. The Appalachian Mountain Club. Amherst, Massachusetts, 1999.
- Mt. Holyoke Range Historical Timeline. Cited from web Dec. 2, 2007.
- Raymo, Chet and Raymo, Maureen E. Written in Stone: A Geologic History of the Northeastern United States. Globe Pequot, Chester, Connecticut, 1989.
- J.A. Skinner State Park Map
- Mount Holyoke Range State Park map
- Hampshire College mountain biking map of the Holyoke Range
- Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club
- The Kestrel Trust
- The Valley Land Fund
- Friends of the Mount Holyoke Range
- Natural resource assessment of the Metacomet Ridge
- Geology of the northern Metacomet Ridge region
- State website for Skinner State Park