Canalside Trail

Massachusetts

Canalside Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Franklin
Length: 3.3 miles
Trail end points: McClelland Farm Road, Deerfield, MA and Unity Park, Village of Turners Falls, Montague, MA
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6374475
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Canalside Trail Description

Canalside Trail begins at McClelland Farm Road and heads north on the former NYNH&H Railroad, crossing the Connecticut River near its confluence with Deerfield River. Approximately a half mile north of the bridge, the trail leaves the old railroad right-of-way and travels on side streets to cut over to the Connecticut River Power Canal. The northernmost mile of the trail travels on the abandoned rail bed along the Connecticut River Power Canal. It passes the fish ladder and Great Falls Discovery Center and ends at Unity Park in the Village of Turners Falls in Montague.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the north end of the trail adjacent to the Montague Town Hall (1 Avenue A).

Canalside Trail Reviews

This is a really nice paved trail- approx 2/3 is in direct sun and the other 1/3 is nice and shady. Approx one mile starting at the rail yard is nice and shady then it's almost all full sun until the other end by the Great Falls Discovery Ctr. I bring my dog and baby with a jogging stroller, so in the summer heat I'll do the shady part 2x and skip the canal section. It's well marked and easy to navigate with a stroller. There are some benches along the canal if you need a break. The starting point across from the discovery center has picnic tables and is a great place to have lunch by the river. There are a few picnic tables at the other end by the rail yard as well. Overall a great trail for running, walking or biking.

We walked with a stroller and the trail was perfect a week after snow-melt. The area is a good mix of old industrial, wooded farm, and canal-side views. We easily found parking and the signage was well marked. Would recommend to anyone.

I rode from Greenfield to Turners Falls using local roads and this smooth surfaced trail a couple of days ago. There are some very beautiful spots along the trail. One complaint is that while signs marking it as a bike trail are adequate, there are no signs telling you where you are. For someone not from the area, I wasn't sure where I was going and there were no street signs where the trail crossed streets, no directional signs showing "This way to Greenfield/Turners Falls", etc. and no trail maps posted anywhere. I got helpful advice from people along the way, but a few signs would improve the first-time experience.

Accordion

Rode this trail yesterday with the wife and kids. The trail in in great condition and very well marked. My only complaint related to riding it with kids was there are several blind street crossings right in a row (bridges coming over the canal) where there is quite a bit of traffic. Its hard for motorists to see bike, and bikes to see motorists at these intersections.

The short road section is not too bad, though one of the streets looked a little sketchy alongside some old industrial building that is falling down.

This trail was really enjoyable. It has nice views of the canal, surrounding hills, forest, and a cute bridge over the Conn. River. At the start of the trail there is a nice park with a playground and at the end is a railroad transfer that my kids I know will enjoy!

Took the grandkids up to ride this short but nice trail in August. We started at McClelland Farm road just across the street from Guilford RR yard.(old B&M)
It starts on a build trail to pick up the Old NYNH&H R.R. branch and then crosses the Conn. river on what is reported to be the oldest RR bridge over the river. In a short distance is used a short section of small streets to get over to the start of the canal section. The ride along the feeder canal for the power plant has lots of wildlife to see. We saw ducks and geese and the other side where the road and the salmon fish research lab is and can be fished. After we passed where the R.R. spur line crossed over to the mills on the west side you get closer to the other side and can see the southworth mill and some others. At the underpass by the fish ladder(you can visit this in the spring when the salmon and others are heading upstream to spawn) you can make a right to visit the Great Falls Discovery Center which is housed within a complex of old mill buildings and includes open habitat exhibits and fish tanks. Admission is free. At the northern end is the Turners Falls dam and Barton's Cove and small park.

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