Joseph Allen Skinner State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area located in the towns of Hadley and South Hadley in the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts. The state park surrounds Mount Holyoke, the westernmost peak of the Mount Holyoke Range. At the summit is the historic Prospect House, an old hotel first opened in 1851. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.Before you head to Hadley, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Hadley trip itinerary builder app, to make sure you see all that Hadley has to offer, including Skinner State Park.
In its heyday, a steamer would pick up guests at the Smiths Ferry railroad station across the Connecticut River in what was then Northampton, ferrying them to a tramway leading to the Half Way House. From there guests could take a steep inclined tram to the summit. The Prospect House, under the proprietorship of John and Fanny French, was expanded twice, first in 1861 and nearly doubled in size with the construction of an annex in 1894.
In 1908 the property was sold to the Mt. Holyoke Hotel Company. This corporation was formed by Joseph Skinner, a local industrialist, L. Treadway of Treadway Inn fame, and Christopher Clarke to hold the land in trust for an eventual state reservation. The hotel continued operation until the Great Hurricane of 1938 badly damaged the 1894 annex, which was subsequently demolished. Soon after this, Joseph Allan Skinner offered to donate the hotel and the surrounding land to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the condition it would become a state park bearing his name. The formal dedication was held in June 1940.
Skinner State Park reviews
We visited during a recent trip to the area and enjoyed the incredible views at the summit. We started at the Halfway Hike and it was too steep and incline for me so my finance hiked and I drove to.... more »
I'm not an experienced hiker by any means. I definitely had to take a few more sit-down breaks than the average hiker. On a clear, warm day, this place is awe-inspiring. There were lots of other... more »
We went up today (08/03/19) and took the tour led buy a woman who’s name escapes me. She was so knowledgeable and had interesting information for adults and my six year old son. Views are amazing and the trails are great. Also has bathrooms and water in summer.
Went hiking with my family in the park, there were plenty of nice hiking trails you could choose from, or you can walk up the road to the top. You can either park outside the park, or pay $5 to drive up to the top and park. The look out is open again which was nice as I had never been in there before. Amazing views of the area.
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