In central Massachusetts, the Norwottuck Rail-Trail (formerly the Northampton Bikeway) runs between New South Street in Northampton and the neighborhood north of Look Memorial Park in Florence. Whether you start your trip from either trailhead or from one of the many informal access points along the route, this well-maintained rail-trail is perfect for a fresh-air outing in a relaxed setting. It also serves as a vital commuter route, offering a convenient connection between the residential areas of Florence and downtown Northampton.
From the end of State Street in vibrant downtown Northampton, the trail leads west through residential and light commercial areas, passing several B&Bs. If time permits, check out Main Street's architectural jewels, such as the Academy of Music and the county courthouse, as well as its many boutiques, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops. En route to Florence, forested stretches add to the trail's attractive, tranquil nature.
You'll emerge at 150-acre Look Memorial Park, which provides ample paid parking. You'll also find picnic tables, a swimming pool, a playground, restrooms, tennis courts and paddleboat rentals. To use one of the picnic tables, you'll need to purchase a permit from the visitor center.
Across King Street on the east end, you can continue on the Norwottuck Rail Trail Mass Central Section
To reach the Northampton trailhead, take Interstate 91 to Exit 19 and head west on Damon Road. After about a block, turn left on US 5/King Street. The trail intersects with King, just off the end of State Street.
To reach the Look Memorial Park trailhead from I-91 north, take Exit 19/Damon Road and follow signs to attractions. Cross State Route 9 on Damon Road and continue to the next light. Continue straight on Bridge Road for about 2 miles to the park.
From I-91 south, take Exit 20, turn right at the light and continue about 2 miles to the park.