Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Francis P. Ryan Section)

Massachusetts

Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Francis P. Ryan Section) Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Hampshire
Length: 4.9 miles
Trail end points: Grove Ave. nr. River Rd. (Florence) and New South St. (Northampton)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016001
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Francis P. Ryan Section) Description

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.

Parking and Trail Access

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.

Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Francis P. Ryan Section) Reviews

Too bad the Look Restaurant closed, nevertheless, this was our first Rail to trails experience & we loved it! Smooth, friendly &beautiful foliage.

The Manhan trail connects directly with this trail which use to be called the Northampton Bikeway. (A much better name) It starts in the shopping center at Stop and Shop Store. It is a smooth 3 mile ride out to Look Park and the trail continues through the park and shortly back on the RR right of way and out to Railroad Ave. Where it does a U Turn when the right of way turns into a small dirt path. We stopped and had a great lunch at the Look Restaurant right on the trail. Bob

My husband and I recently traveled out to Northampton to ride this trail. This trail is very well constructed and we were amazed at how well it navigated the various terrian of the city, it was also very well marked and it would really be impossible to get lost. It's also great that you ride right through town, makes for a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat after the ride. Love Northampton, love this ride!

Accordion

With the completion of the extension to the Manhan trail in Easthampton the data and maps should be updated. The F.J.Ryan extension west to Leeds is now almost 5 miles of tar and you can go about 1/2 mile more on some dirt too about 1/2 mile from Rt. 9 in the town of Hadenville. Headed south along the west side of the B&M active RR for about a mile to the old station now a restaurant and then winding thru muni. parking lots at the bus station the trail now heads south for another 4 miles for a total of 10 miles in Northampton to the Manhan Rail Trail.

NORTHAMPTON - The city has inched closer to creating an inter-community network of trails by purchasing a .2-miles stretch of land along the Mill River in Williamsburg.

The property, which was acquired from Laurie B. Farkas for $5,000, would allow for the extension of the Northampton Rail Trail into Williamsburg. The trail currently ends at Grove Avenue in Leeds. Over the past several years, Northampton has bought additional parcels from National Grid and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Springfield that would enable the city to extend the trail to the Northampton/Williamsburg line.

Landowners in Williamsburg have opposed the trail, taking the town to court over its efforts to create a right-of-way. Northampton has given the recently purchased land to Williamsburg with the condition that the city retain an easement that would allow it to create a rail trail in the future. According to city Planning Director Wayne M. Feiden, the property includes 50 feet with a spectacular view of the Mill River. Williamsburg voted overwhelmingly to accept the property at its most recent Town Meeting.

The money for the purchase was donated by Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways, Feiden said, and did not come out of the city coffers.

With the connector between Easthampton and Northampton almost finished we will soon have a Rail Trail system that will be spectacular.

From the east end of the F.P.Ryan and Rt. 5 the first layer of tar is down and is being ridden now. If you park at the stop and shop you can cross rt. 5 and bike south next to the active RR track to the Northampton station and turn behind gleason winding toward the .7 mile rail trail starting just past the Peter Pan bus station. Work has started clearing the ROW south from here to connect with the Manhan at Ferry st. I dont think they will be able to get the bridges done and this part tared before the plants close for the winter but much can be done and could be finished in the spring.

I forgot to mention that there is still a small gap at Look park between the extension. Cross Rt. 9 and take a right on a very small side walk or just ride the street about 1000 yards. One other problem is the lack of parking here without paying to park in Look Park. You are better off back down on Rt.5 at the stop and shop.

the two mile extention from the entrence to Look Park west Leeds is open and the dedication was today.
I understand that the 8,000 extention south toward the Manhan rail trail is partly finished and you can ride to New south st. or almost to rt. 202 now with one small section between Rt. 5 and the bus station. The 4400 meter extention to Ferry St. in Easthampton and the Manhan has just started and depending on the two bridges construction could be done next year.

I rode this piece last year and saw it being worked on last week on a cycling trip.

As the trail from Amherst ends in Northampton, it does cross under Route 91 and 9 and becomes dirt. I did ride it over to the dirt field near the power plant, neighborhood and railroad tracks. Then it was supposed to cross Route 5. Last week, construction crews were everywhere working on the trail and closed one lane off and their parking was across the street from the rest of the trail.

The current connection is behind Stop and Shop and is paved and continues to the neighborhood and many miles down the rest of the trail. The trail on the other side where the McDonald's is will be a rail-with-trail" and extend over the main road in the center of trail with a brand new pedestrian bridge. That's a feat and they have the funding. Eventually, I hope it will continue the other 3.5 miles to the Manhan.

I think this trail is wonderful and has become a life saver for both my wife and I. Our health has improved dramatically since we started using this trail for walking exercise. I would like to extend a special thanks to Craig Della Penna who has had so much to do with this trail being where it is. Great work Craig and thank you from my heart.

Went over for a short trip and to explore. Nice to have this plowed and salted in the winter. It will be great when it gets connected to the Norwottuck and Manhan.

"The trail extension into Northampton really looks great! Once the Atlas columns are moved there, it will look even better!"

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