The Mineral Hills Loop Trail at the Mineral Hills Conservation Area in Northampton, Massachusetts is a moderate 1.8 mile hike that spans the Big Meadow Trail, Kohl Trail, The Chute, Ravine Trail, Creek Bed Trial, and the Quarry Loop Trail.
Fifteen minutes from downtown Northampton exists a special place that seems a world apart from the nearby bustling cultural center. The Mineral Hills is a hilly forest with dramatic ridge-top views, wetlands, beaver ponds, and an abandoned rock quarry.
Route: There is an extensive trail system here marked by signs and numbered intersection thanks to the Friends of the Mineral Hills. To begin, go a short distance on the entrance path to the first intersection (#111), and turn right onto Big Meadow Trail. At the next intersection (#114), keep right and pass by a meadow on the right. At the next intersection (#107) take a sharp right onto Kohl Trail. Note the large old maple tree on the right with bark growing around rusty barbed wire, a sign of historic pasturing. Pass by rock outcroppings on the right, and cross a series of boardwalks. At the next intersection (#108), go left at The Chute. At the top of the hill, take a breather at a large round rock with a view a bit beyond the trail junction (#104). Returning to intersection #104, proceed on Ravine Trail. At intersection (#105) go left on Creek Bed Trail. Look for a large black birch on the left as you make your way downhill (before the trail bends left with the creek on your right). Follow the blue- blazed trail over the narrow creek as you continue gently descending. At intersection (#106), go right “To Old Quarry” and then right again at intersection (#113) onto Quarry Loop Trail. Soon a side trail on your left leads to an opening overlooking the rock quarry. From here, on a clear day, you can see the Mount Holyoke summit house. Return to the trail and follow it left along the quarry rim It soon opens up and you can stand on the quarry edge looking down where water now pools. Bear right away from the quarry, go through the intersection, continue following the blue blazes, and bear right until you come to intersection #111 (where you began).Parking: Parking is available at the end of Turkey Hill Road marked by a Mineral Hills Conservation Area sign.