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Visitors to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will find the full splendor of the scenic Berkshires along this nearly 12-mile-long paved trail. The Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-will-ti-cook) follows MA 8 through the Hoosic River valley between Lanesborough and Adams while providing views of mountains, lakes, and rivers, as well as turning leaves in autumn.
The trail owes its existence to the Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad, which sought to extend the Housatonic Railroad from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Rutland, Vermont, in the 1840s. The Western Railroad acquired the line before its completion, and it was later operated by the Boston & Albany Railroad, the New York Central, and finally the Boston and Maine Railroad. The corridor became disused in 1990, and local residents gained support for a multiuse trail. It opened in three phases in 2001, 2004, and 2017.
The route starts at a trailhead in Lanesborough on the outskirts of Pittsfield, a manufacturing center of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consider packing a picnic lunch, so you can relax and see the sights along the trail. Although there are food stops, most are on the wrong side of a busy state highway.
The trail rolls into the woods between the tranquil Hoosic River and MA 8, which is screened from the path by trees. You’ll pass Berkshire Pond in the first mile before arriving at the 418-acre Cheshire Reservoir, created in the 1860s to provide power for area textile mills. Along its 2.4-mile trailside shoreline, you might see anglers casting for bass, northern pike, and yellow perch. Keep your eyes open for ospreys and herons, as well as turtles sunning themselves on logs. You’ll have an unobstructed view of Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state, across the lake.
You can find snacks and refreshments in Cheshire at the north end of the reservoir; an old Boston & Albany Railroad station houses a business next to the trail. The remaining 4 miles to the edge of Adams passes wood lots and farms.
The area’s manufacturing history unfolds as you arrive in Adams and see old mill buildings on the far shore of the Hoosic River. The route parallels the town’s restored main street that boasts quaint stores and eateries. Archways and banners throughout Adams sport a black bear riding a bicycle, a nod to both the trail and the resident black bear population. The old passenger station still stands at 10 Pleasant Street, and parking is available at the visitor center (3 Hoosac Street).
A trail segment that opened in 2017 rolls north 1.1 miles to Lime Street in the vicinity of a lime mining and production facility that dates to the 1840s. Future extensions north to North Adams and south into Pittsfield are in the planning stage.
To reach the Lanesborough trailhead from I-90, take Exit 2 to the toll plaza and bear right onto US 20/Housatonic St. toward Pittsfield. In 0.7 mile turn right onto Main St. Go 0.4 mile, and turn slightly left to remain on US 20 W. Go 10.2 miles and turn right in Pittsfield onto MA 9/East St. toward Dalton/Northampton. Go 1.4 miles and continue straight onto Merrill Road, and then go 1.8 miles and bear left onto MA 8/Cheshire Road. Go 1.5 miles and turn left onto US 7/MA 8 Connector Road. Parking is on the left and the right after the turn.
To reach the Adams trailhead, follow the directions above to MA 8/Cheshire Road. Go 12.1 miles north on MA 8/Cheshire Road, and turn left onto Center St./Park St. In 0.3 mile, turn right onto Hoosac St., and then take an immediate right onto Depot St.
To reach the Adams trailhead from the intersection of MA 2 and MA 8 in North Adams, head south on MA 8/State St. Go 5.5 miles and turn left onto Hoosac St. Take an immediate right onto Depot St. Parking is on the left. Cross Hoosac St. and continue 1.2 miles north to reach the endpoint on Lime St.
My wife and I rode this trail from one end to the other. The scenery was beautiful, the ride was easy and the people were nice. Lots of lake views. Some hills but not difficult. Parking was a small challenge but not impossible. I would do it again in a minute.
Yup. August 2017, hot summer day.
Riding along the lakes or reservoirs, it is nice and flat, paved well. A good trip.
This trail is the most scenic bike trail I've been on. Lots of great mountain views. It is fairly level and in great shape. Very easy to bike from end to end. Lots of places to stop along the way.
Love this trail, we have been on it many times going from Lanesboro to Adams and back. The trail is well kept, the air is fresh and clean plus it always seems a bit cooler, which is important on those hot summer days, plus the views are spectacular.
Recently about 1 mile in I got a flat, I turned around loaded my bike back on the rack and drove to the bike shop in Adams. The store was closed but the owner was outside in his car, just about to leave. He spotted me going to his front door, so he got out asked what was wrong and proceeded to reopen his store to fix my flat. It was not an easy repair, rear tire that had been on the bike for a while. He persisted, completed the repair and charged me a very reasonable rate for tube and labor.
I could not be more thankful...I got back on the trail right out his front door, rode down to Lanesboro and back to Adams where I had a very nice dinner at a trailside restaurant. Perfect ending!
Beautiful and well maintained trail. Quite flat and pretty environment.
A well maintained, serene, lakeside, forested and gentle day on asphalt . This scenic ride through small towns was full of reminders of past manufacturing and local efforts to attract more riders of all ages. The Adams town visitor center was brand new.
Lots of benches and fewer picnic tables allowed for stops and lunch breaks.
A polite mix of strolling, riding families, couples, friends and single participants added to a soothing day of healthy exercise!
My husband and I did this Trail on July 28th...was beautiful! We did it end to end, started at the Lanesborough parking lot then rode to Adams and back. It was perfect - with a lake to ride by, plenty of pull off benches, pond landscapes. My advice is to start in Adams and ride to/towards Lanesborough, there's a slight incline when you're entering Adams so if you want an easier finish ride towards Lanesborough. Trail is clean & well kept also.
Well maintained with beautiful scenery along almost the entire length. Lots of places to sit and rest or view the surroundings. A lot of this trail is dead level so its and easy ride. I parked at one of the two lots at the south end of the trail. Good starting point as there are toilet facilities there.
This has become one of my kids' and my favorite trails. There are some great views, it's well maintained, and although it is busy we've found that everyone displays good trail etiquette.
This is a very well maintained, nicely paved trail. Only one road crossing that is questionable. We started at the north end at Adams. There is a slight incline for about 2 miles coming out of Adams, but it is easy enough. You ride through a nice wetlands area, then through open views of a lake/reservoir and the surrounding hills/ranges.
Currently 10.8 miles each way. It looks like they are working on adding more (not opened yet) north of Adams.
This paved trail runs 11 miles south from Adams, Massachusetts and is a comfortable ride, with some rough roots part way to the south. They are marked with paint to warn riders. I suggest riding south from Adams as there is about a 5 mile upgrade from there (the first 3 miles are the steepest part). When returning to Adams, riders can have a long coasting ride back into Adams as a reward for their work heading out of town earlier. There are parking areas part way along the trail for those who don't want to ride the whole thing.
The visitor center in Adams sports a large parking lot for riders, with the trail next to the building. If the visitor center is open, drinking water and toilets are available. There didn't appear to be any water on the rest of the trail, although there were toilets at the southern end. The Berkshire Mall road marks the southern end of the trail.
This was a good ride on my recombent trike.
Wonderful trail for beginning riders. We started in Adams, rode to Lanesborough and back. Path was smoothly paved, and any bumps were clearly marked, as were road crossings. Nice changes between tree covered & open, so temperature remained comfortable. Lots of beautiful views and wildlife along the trail.
All in all, a perfect ride that I'm looking forward to doing again soon. Great way to start the day!
Nice easy ride. Offering a wide trail to ride side by side. Stop at CJ's for a beer and fries before heading back!
We rode this trail over Columbus Day weekend. The fall colors are emerging and the scenery is beautiful. The trail is paved, flat, and very easy to ride with any type of bike. There are services at either end of the trail; however, there is no bike shop at the Berkshire Mall end. Yelp showed one located near there but it is not open anymore. There is a visitors center at the Adams end of the trail where the friendly volunteers can give you information about the area.
8/1/2015 - Took the trail north from Lanesborough (near the mall) to Adams. The paved trail was well marked where there were bumps. The trail was busy, and most people were considerate of others using the trail. We watched a rain shower come over the mountains, and a few minutes later got quite wet in a 10 minute downpour, but still a great day to ride. We met some friendly cyclers at both ends of the trail, and experienced the Adams Ale House a few blocks from the end of the railtrail in Adams, worth the few blocks extra to get good food and a pint.
Cool, Private feel, lot of wild life, Lakes, rivers Streams, ponds, villages, towns, etc.
The start on the southern end is at the county's only and largest mall, that is full of amenities. The Northern end, ends in the town of Historical Adams, MA home of Mount Greylock, the tallest Mountain in Massachusetts, towering at 3491 feet above sea level. If you are very athletic you can go from end to end in a day and get a great workout in. If you are a normal person, you can pick one of several parts of the trail to park at and chop out a chunk of the beautiful views. I recommend as starting/Parking places from south to north:
1) The Berkshire Mall (Lanesboro, MA - The Start) (0.0miles)
- distance between 2.5 miles -
2) Historic Whitney's Farm (2.5 miles)
- distance between 1.0 miles -
3) Farnam Road Middle of Hoosac Reservoir Cheshire Lake (3.75 miles)
- distance between 1.25 miles -
3) The top of Hoosac Reservoir(Cheshire Lake) (5 miles)
- distance between 1.0 miles -
4) Down town Cheshire, MA @ Cheshire Post office (6 miles)
- distance between 4.5 miles (downhill) -
5) Lastly The town of Adams, MA @Adams, Post office (The End)(10.5 miles)
These all have ample parking and accommodations. Some even have restrooms. I am a county resident and I highly recommend this trail. The way back is a total different experience than the way out. We've been going every year several times a summer since my kids were babies and we never get sick of it... we look forward to it every year.
Someone commented that the trail had a 10% grade. A grade of 10% would be a change of 10' elevation for every 100' horizontal distance. While it is uphill from Adams, it is nowhere near that kind of grade. It is a bit of a chore heading south from Adams but the flip side is if you're heading north, it's pretty easy. Pedal to start and you're pretty much set.
Just watch out for the Canada geese at Farnam's (by Cheshire Lake). Goose droppings are everywhere and if the babies are around, the parents could get overprotective. That section is the worst part of the trail.
Nice ride, but the trail is marked at 10.4 miles long not the 11.2 miles as reported here.
Clean, paved and marked. Beautiful scenery and friendly people. Do yourself a favor and park at the Adams end of the trail. Those first few miles are uphill, on the way back you'll be on the down slope. Restrooms at both ends.
My husband and I like to bicycle for exercise, but we are by no means athletes. This is the perfect trail for us--a nice level pedal, few roads to cross, gorgeous scenery. We bring our two little dogs in a doggy wagon, and it's still a comfortable ride. It is sometimes busy but never crowded, and the views change up from woods to lake to wetlands and back to woods. Yesterday, we had a doe and her fawn cross the path right in front of us! There are a couple nice places to stop for lunch: The Bass Water Grill about halfway, or CJ's in Adams. We park at the Visitor's Center in Adams (there's ample parking, and it's a comfortable place to set up the bikes and hook up the wagon.) Restrooms at both ends, and the Visitors Center in Adams often has a Farmers Market or live music when we visit. Really, I have no complaints, but I'm surprised no entrepreneurial soul has put up a lemonade or creamie stand somewhere along the path--I'm sure they'd make a killing!
Well maintained. Amenities were great and the sites were enjoyable.
The trail is well maintained plenty of services. They were updating the mileage markers today. Great surface. We ride mostly in WVa, Pa, Ohio.The people are a lot friendlier on the trails in these states. 9 out 10 say hello or wave on this trail it was the other way around. Very little acknowledgment on this trail Maybe the SOX lost a late night game and everyone was grouchy.
We started in Adams at the Visitor Center and rode to Lanesborough. The trail going to Lanesborough had a 10% grade for about two miles then flattened out the rest of the ride. The trail had lots to offer, lakes, marshes, ponds, river, birds and other wildlife. The trail had picnic tables and benches about every mile. I felt safe enough on the trail that I would ride it alone. There are shops along the trail so bring money. We stopped for a bite to eat in Lanesborough at Arizona Pizza, the pizza was great. They are located 500 feet on route 8 heading north.
Really nice trail. Goes by some lakes for the first half then goes into Adams. There is lots of wildlife to see. The last 2 miles is down hill to Adams. Off the trail in Adams there are some restaurants and lots to to in Adams. Definitely worth it.
Went biking on April 14, 2014 - a warm and windy day. The trail was great - nicely paved and scenic. Starting at Adams (a great tip from another reviewer....start at Adams due to the gradual incline at the beginning - then cruise down at the end of the ride), we were surprised to see the little waterfall, lots of wetlands, and loved the reservoir at the end. We saw lots of benches along the way, and some informational posts along the trail. It was definitely worth the hour-long drive to get there.
My wife and I did this trail the day after Columbus day 2013, thinking we would leave most of the crowd at home or at work. But, after traveling this beautiful trail round trip, we realized there is no way to keep them away. This trail has it all. Well maintained path, streams, river & ponds, mountain views, and even a few barns and cows mixed in here and there for good measure. The beautiful foliage even on a cloudy day was frosting on the cake. All in all, a great way to spend a vacation day.
I was told that this trail was awesome. Well I drove almost an hour to check it out. Boy, I'm glad I did. What a beautiful trail with awesome views of mountains and water. I ride the trail in southwick / Westfield which is nice but I wish it had the views. Will def be back
This is a very well-maintained trail which passes through a very scenic portion of Western Massachusetts. The sections along Cheshire Reservoir and along the Hoosic River are particularly beautiful. If you are cycling, I'd recommend you start in Adams, since there is a 2.5 mile uphill grade leaving Adams. Better to do that uphill while you are fresh, and enjoy the long downhill into Adams at the end of your ride. The staff at the visitors' center in Adams can give you directions to the ice cream stand so you can reward yourself for the 20+ mile round trip.
This trail has the most gorgeous breath taking views. Very impressed with the upkeep. Actually saw a man mowing the sides of the trail while we were there. Plenty of parking available, Very well groomed, clean restrooms, handicap accessibility , three thumbs up for a snack bar! (It was a refreshing treat after the ride). Thanks for making the cross gates wide enough that we were able to get our side by side trike through and enjoy the whole trail. Many different sites to see to make it a great getaway weekend or even a day trip as we did. You must stop in the Visitors Center when you reach Adams, very hospitable.
We will be back again and again.
We rate this a 10+
Mel & Sandy Ashford Ct
Flat with gentle grades. Great for all ages. Many places to stop and have a packed in lunch. Can't wait till the fall to do it again and enjoy the color show.
Great ride, minimal roots, asphalt in great shape. Saw rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, ducks and turtles. Great views of the lake. Friendly bikers/walkers. Visitor center at the end of trail in Adams and closes at 3 pm. I highly recommend this trail, great maintenance of the bike trail. keep up the great work.
This trail has it all:lakes, ponds, wetlands, river, and forest. Started in Adams with slighty uphill all the way to the end and returned. Ate a great lunch at the RR station in Adams. Trail is in great shape and well maintained. To add mileage I traveled one hour and did the Norwottuck in Northampton (good, but not great trail). My 5th time on this trail and I am from Indiana.
I had the pleasure of riding this trail from the Mall to Adams with the plan to eat lunch and tour the quaint shops said to be found in Adams. Luckily I brought sandwiches and water along which we ate outside the closed visitor center. Our quest for a coffee shop on Sunday afternoon in late June was fruitless and the quaint shops were not to be found. We did admire the beautiful Polish Catholic church inside and out. It is worth a look.
Scenery was just beautiful. Alot of walkers at the start near Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough - looked like they were enjoying themselves. I biked with my daughter to Adams - just wonderful! No debris on the trail other than leaves(fall) - well maintained. Alot of places to sit and enjoy the scenery or even eat at one of the picnic tables - which I thought was just great. Not alot of busy streets to cross. Would come back to enjoy it again!!
we loved this - rolling hills in the distance - lake along much of the trail -we want to go back and rent a place on the lake! We started on the southern point -nice they had a bathroom! The northern point is a lovely town with an information center and another bathroom. my Greylock is nearby. well worth the trip.
This one is another gem of a trail in a scenic part of the state. Partly shaded. Partly open. Alongside the Hoosic river part way. And part way alongside Cheshire Lake. You wont find a trail in better condition. Well marked. Easy to find. Good parking along the way. Beautiful. Even the drive up through the Berkshires was nice. Places for chow in Adams and Pittsfield. Good places for water stops and breaks. Highly worth the drive to get there. Few road crossings and safe.
The only problem with this trail is how to pronounce its name. I agree with all the reviews after a one way ride 8/26/2010. Other trails should study this trail on how to put up access signs and mark the miles on the trail surface with paint and print a brochure and map. Most importantly it shows how much of an economic development role a well implemented rail trail can be for a community. On a Thursday afternoon the trail was very busy with bikers, walkers, skate boards and in line skaters. Youker
What a fantastic bike trail! The paved path is wide. We were impressed by the care given to the trail, and the number of the benches and picnic tables, all in excellent shape. Where the water borders the lake, the benches are turned toward the water - an inviting way to take a break. There weren't too many street crossings, and only 2-3 were really busy. The visitor's center in Adams at the end of the trail offered modern restroom facilities and vending machines, as well as information about the area. The friendly woman staffing the information desk mentioned that the town/state is planning to extend the rail trail north of the Visitor's center, maybe next year!
There was plenty of parking at the trailhead as well as at several other locations along the trail. We parked at the Lanesborough end of the trail, near the Berkshire Mall. The restroom facility at the parking lot was clean.
We traveled about 2 hours to Pittsfield to use this rail trail, as we were getting tired of the local rail trails. It's a trip that we'll definitely do again in the future!
My family is getting back into biking and this has quickly become our primary riding destination. It's too bad that we have to pack up the bikes and drive 40 minutes to get there. That kind of defeats the purpose of riding, but with two young children, it's necessary. We have ridden the trail three times so far this season and it is wonderful. The scenery is great and the facilities are ideal. There is even a bike shop near the northern trail head where the guys are knowledgeable and friendly and will make that emergency repair quickly.
Every town should be so lucky to have a trail like this. I am told that plans are being evaluated to extend the trail north to North Adams and then possibly to Williamstown. That would make a great trail even better!
I've ridden the trail up and back twice in the last month, now, and it's a fantastic path. As others have noted, the views are wonderful, whether of the small and large ponds, the trailside streams, the wildlife, or, farther north, of Greylock and lesser hills looming over the Adams area. Folks using the trail are generally courteous, though sometimes they forget that they're sharing the space when they stop--no biggie, but it can be a safety concern, especially at the crossings.
In Adams there's a nice bar in the old train depot that welcomes cyclists and serves cold beer and hot food--standard bar fare, but fun and tasty nonetheless!--about a quarter mile south of the Berkshire Visitors' Center. They even have a bike rack just off the trail. The Visitors' Center houses clean bathrooms and knowledgable staff.
Word is that more restaurants will be opening just off the trail--a Mexican place, in particular--and there's serious talk about extending the trail a short distance in the near future and to North Adams not too long from now. Doing so will make a special trail even better.
If you're in the area, don't miss this trail!
Rode this rail-trail in its entirety with loaded touring bike as part of a longer tour from Connecticut up to Vermont and around Lake Champlain. The 11 miles of trail is beautifully maintain with excellent pavement quality (not root-rutted like many paved trails) and wonderful scenery. Access to water and restrooms was readily available along with benches for resting that I noticed. There were walkers, runners, skaters and bike riders, all friendly and interactive, but not overly crowded. A great way to by-pass Rt 8 if going from Pittsfield to Adams.
I rode this trail on june 14, 2009 - what a terrific day and a terrific trail. I'll try and be more specific. The trail is clean, well kept paving, and wide enough to accomodate all users. If you come to a rode crossing-of course, stop; but the traffic in the area seemed conditioned to stop. There are benches all along the route if you want to stretch out for a moment; and picnic benches by the water. Out in the water there are kayaks, boats, jetskis and paddle boats, it was fun to ride along and wave to people out in the kayaks.
The views! Oh, the views! just made for a magical day along with all the variety of wildlife, birds and bunnies. Just a clean, beautiful path - perfect.
I even had a Berkshire sun shower to ride through: it rained, it stopped raining - the sun came out and dried everything! I'll be back soon and often.
Talk about a great trail.... this one pretty much has it all. The lake, mountain, and bird views are beautiful, so bring your camera. Condition of the trail was excellent, and the Adams Visitors Center is a perfect start/finish as the Rest Rooms and picnic area are clean & new. The Lanesborogh Trailhead is fine also, & there are numerous stopping areas along the Trail....all appearing clean & fairly new.
Thought The Nasua River Rail Trail couldn't be beat, but my wife & I agree this one is just as good!
Pete & Sue
Was well worth the hour plus drive to reach it. Very smooth pavement and not overly crowded.
8/20/07. I have ridden most of the Rail Trails in Mass. This trail is the most scenic and well kept trail that I have been on.
"What a treat ! This is a very safe, beautiful and doable ride for all ages. The trail is in mint condition and the scenery is wonderful. There is only one (very) gradual hill just out from Adams, but this some what out of shape bike enthusiast had no problem navegating it. I highly recommend this trail for all ages. "
"I've done this trail multiple times with my girlfriend's 13 yr old son. We've started in Adams and ridden the entire length to Lanesboro (actually, if you cross the street at the end of the trail and enter the parking lot, you're in Pittsfield) and back to Adams with no difficulties involved. The trail is slightly uphill from Adams, so the ride back from Lanesboro is slightly downhill, making the return trip that much easier. There are parking lots and access points throughout the trail, so if you get tired and want to wait somewhere for a ride, there's plenty of options. One point has a small store with ice cream and beverages that is worth a stop. Very nice trail worth doing over and over again. Courteous riders. Beautiful views. Country riding."
This summer we were able to go to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail and were happy to see one of our young Marines Memorial on the trail. Thanks
"Terrific trail/great condition. Clean bathrooms at Lanesboro trailhead. We continued to North Adams (8a North, which has one tough hill at the beginning) and 8 South (heavier traffic but wide shoulders) for an extra 10 miles. Ice cream at Chesire. "
"Road from Adams to Lanesboro and back today. Trail is in good shape and clean. They have not opened the wings on the crossings yet or removed the snowmobile rubber on the bridge. It was a nice ride, but a little windy."
" I walk my dog along this trail daily. It is just beautiful, quiet, very peaceful, but conviently runs paralell with route 8, and I've chatted with some very nice people along the way."
"For those of us who only bike occasionally, start at the north end when anticipating covering the entire path. The first few miles are ""up hill"" so you're return trip will be a breeze."
"We rode this trail in October at the peak of the fall foliage. What a pleasant, gorgeous and enjoyable ride. I highly recommend this trail for all ages to ride."
"This was a gorgeous ride with lots of nature to enjoy along the way. A waterfall, lake, marshy lands and woodland critters make this a great place to bike."
"The toilets along the trail were closed on October 14 and will be closed until the spring of 2004. I found out after driving for an hour to get there yesterday. You can ""go"" at the McDonalds nearby or at the Berkshire Mall. The Visitors Center in Adams should be open by now, but I didn't check it out."
"We rode this trail yesterday and I think it's the nicest trail I've ridden in New England. It's flat & scenic, especially the section around the reservoir.
I highly recommend the trail to families. "
The scenery along this rail trail is breath taking. It's two for one as the trail is also in great shape. The only disappointment was that the north section of the trail will not be completed until this fall (2003).
This trail is perfect in every way in one of most beautiful spots in New England. The trail is perfect for a slow family cruise or a quick run on a road bike.
"This trail runs from a very convenient parking lot right off Route 8 north of Pittsfield through some eutrophying swampy areas (with Canada geese) and along the shoreline of a small lake. The views across the lake are stunning, with the village nestled amid the Berkshires and a bracing breeze to cool you. A restaurant awaits the hungry at the end."
"This trail is five plus miles through woods and beside a lake, with a view of Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. Leaf peeper time can't be beat. Plans are to double the length of the trail this year! Just Do It!"
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