Mass Central Rail Trail (Norwottuck Branch)

Massachusetts

Mass Central Rail Trail (Norwottuck Branch) Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Hampshire
Length: 10 miles
Trail end points: Warren Wright Rd. (Belchertown) and Woodmont Rd. (Northampton)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016005
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Mass Central Rail Trail (Norwottuck Branch) Description

Stretching east from Northampton, the 10-mile Norwottuck Branch of the Mass Central Rail Trail connects the towns of Northampton, Hadley, and Amherst. Part of the Connecticut River Greenway State Park, the route takes in a variety of landscapes, from rural farmland to residential neighborhoods and light industrial districts.

You'll set out across New England's longest river, the Connecticut, on a magnificent 1,492-foot iron bridge. (Head west to pick up the Francis P. Ryan Section of the Norwottuck Rail-Trail. Pay attention to the detour signs, which guide you to a safe track crossing until an underpass can be built.) This span parallels Calvin Coolidge Bridge, named for the mayor of Northampton who would become the country's 30th president. Once you're across the river, look for Mount Holyoke rising in the distance. Approaching Hadley, the trail parallels State Route 9 through farmland. In town, you'll pass the former Hadley railroad station and wind through historic Hadley Commons, where farm animals once grazed.

About 3 miles along, you'll reach a bicycle and inline skate rental shop beside an ice cream and smoothie bar. Nearby is the Hampshire Mall; shoppers will delight in direct bicycle access to the stores. After the mall, the trail continues until the Belchertown trailhead, at which point you come to State Route 116. Here you'll have an opportunity to hop off the trail for a short trek north into Amherst, home to the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College.

Just shy of downtown, a connector trail leads to the 2-mile UMass bikeway, a student commuter path. The onward Norwottuck Rail-Trail crosses beneath SR 116 to the Station Road trailhead and Amherst College on the left. Station Road used to mark the end of the trail, but today an extension stretches another mile east along an active rail corridor. Along the way, two trestle bridges carry you over Mill River and East Street, and you will find connecting trails to the Southeast Street access point and parking lot, as well as to hiking trails.

The trail's final stretch skirts wetlands and ponds that promise excellent bird-watching. Along this section you can access the Caroline Arnold Walking Trail, which has a bird-blind.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Northampton trailhead at Elwell State Park, take Interstate 91 to Exit 19 and continue straight from the ramp onto Damon Road. After about a block, turn right into the trailhead parking lot at Elwell State Park.

Amherst offers a choice of parking locations: near the town common and town hall, within easy reach of the Belchertown trailhead at State Route 116. To reach trailhead parking at Southeast Street and Mill Lane, follow State Route 9 to Southeast Street. Turn right and proceed about a mile.

The Station Road trailhead lies 1 mile farther east; follow Southeast Street to Station Road and turn left into the parking lot.

Mass Central Rail Trail (Norwottuck Branch) Reviews

Lovely trail in the early spring. Great variety of scenery--fields, wetlands, Amherst College, pine forest. Well maintained, frequent rest areas. Quite lovely.

This trail, from the bridge over the Connecticut River to the end after 10 miles (At Mile Marker 11.5) is lovely to ride on summer days because of the tree canopy that shields the trail almost completely, keeping things cool. The trail is in first class condition for the first 8.5 miles from the bridge, while the last 1.5 miles is a little bumpy from tree roots. The grades are gradual. There are two porta-potties along the route, but apparently no water is available. I rode the trail on my recumbent trike twice in the past two days.

A couple of notes: if approaching the area from the north, there is no Exit 19 on I-91. Take Exit 20, go south on U.S. 5 to the second traffic light and turn left onto Damon Road by the Chrysler dealership. The large parking area is on the left side as you approach the second light on Damon Road. Also, my GPS did not recognize Elwell State Park, as the name has been changed to Connecticut River Greenway State Park.

Finally, there is a 1.5 mile section of the trail that goes west from the state park parking lot. There is no parking available at that end of the trail, so most people start at the 1.5 mile mark and head east from there.

Start at the parking lot at Damon Road in Northampton (right off I-91) so that you can begin and finish with a magnificent crossing over the railroad bridge. The pavement for most of this path is smooth and well maintained. I stopped at Amherst to ride through the Amherst College campus, and had lunch in town (I really enjoyed Crazy Noodles). I did this ride in March on a Brompton folding bicycle. The route is very flat and woodsy. One of the nicest trails I have ridden on. Worth going out of your way for.

Accordion

The entire trail is well maintained with plenty of places to stop and take a quick break. We especially enjoyed the many stone markings identifying the different wildlife in the area.

The rest stations are the best we have ever seen on any trail which we took advantage of along the way.

We were also pleasantly surprise to see that many of the rest / break stations even had well kept up Porta Potties which is very rare on many other trails.

The trail / paths are nicely paved with useful informative signs during the entire path.

One of the best trails thus far this year with many beautiful vistas and we hope to be back in the fall to do this trail once again during leaf peeping season.

This trail gives the definition of what a bike trail conversion should be in suburban areas. I've been known to be a couch potato but I love to bike on nice days. This trail gives the novice/infrequent bicycling enthusiast a warm welcome back to the sport/leisure activity of bicycling. Fairly flat, paved surface makes this activity fun again.

awsome trail. me an my daughter rode from amherst to northhampton. easy ride!.

This is a great trail. I ride this about 2-3 times a month and it simply beautiful. the pavement is great and there is many places to take breaks and enjoy the view.

We rode from Belchertown to Northhampton and back. It's a wonderful trail, paved, smooth and well marked. There are several bridges and tunnels along the way including the old railroad trestle across the Connecticut river. Spent a few hours hanging in Nhamp before returning, made it a great day.

I rode this trail 28 Aug 2015, and it was an amazingly wonderful ride. I started in Belchertown. The first mile or so of the trail is older surface, but still very smooth. There were a few minor depressions, no root bumps. But after the first mile, at the intersection of Station Rd. the trail surface is brand new, perfectly smooth for the remaining 9 miles or so to Northhampton. Comfortable rest areas with nice views are sprinkled at frequent intervals along the trail. Beautiful scenery, it's a very pleasant ride. I've ridden a number of rail trails this summer: Washington Secondary Bike Path and Blackstone River Greenway in Rhode Island; Nashua River, Bruce Freeman Rail Trails in Massachusetts; and the Shining Sea Bikeway on the cape. This was, by a stretch, the nicest - mostly because of the gorgeous views, and the brand new surface.

The only downside: there were quite a few people on the trail - which is not at all surprising given how nice the trail is.

Rode this 5/23/15 and happy to say the construction is pretty much finished, not sure if the newer paved last mile or so to belchertown is slated for re-surfacing, its it good shape with a few root bumps, but the old recycled glass and asphalt surface that was failing is all gone.

Now they need a nicer, safer way to connect this to Manahan.

Half of the construction is complete. The trail is open and in perfect condition from the trail head on Damon Rd to just east of Hampshire Mall. The remaining half will be complete by June 2015. Updates are available on this page http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/conservation/planning-and-resource-protection/projects/norwottuck-rail-trail-rehabilitation-project.html

For a longer ride start at Hampshire Mall. Ride west to route 5/10 in Northampton. Then pick up the Northampton Bike Path south. It connects to the Manhan Rail Trail where you can go all the way down to Southampton, MA or take at the fork by Eastworks and go up to Mt Tom.

The repair construction along this trail has started and you need to check the closed schedule on their web site. I parked at the bike lot at the river in Northampton and rode across the bridge but the trail was closed 100 yards later. The east end of the trail was still open. The connecting trail to the west from the bridge site is complete and open up to the live RR tracks but ends there. The eastern starting point is a bit hard to find. Study your maps and roads. Bob

I needed a place to do a long run while visiting in Amherst and was so happy to find this trail. It was so beautiful, saw lots of birds, cows, and swamps. Met many people running, walking, biking, and bird-watching, but it was not too crowded. I would never have found it without this website since the entrances are not obvious like at a county park. In fact, I had trouble finding the trail exit and ended up running a little longer than intended, but that was okay. I also never found the bathrooms but stopped at Maple Farm where I used the restroom and bought a drink.

My wife and I rode this trail in June 2012. The trail is very narrow and the surface is extremely bumpy. Tree roots have grown in under the trail causing the bumps. The trail should be resurfaced. We rode on a Sunday and the trail was very crowded. It is unfortunate that parents to not teach their children proper bike trail etiquette. The scenery is very nice and it would have been an enjoyable ride had the surface been smoother. As far as trails go in Massachusetts, this is the worst I have ever ridden. Massachusetts has great bike trail around the state, especially on Cape Cod. If this trail could be widened and the surface redone, it would be a beautiful ride.

This is a very nice trail. I went yesterday with 6 other people with my meetup group. It is paved, has some bumps along the way because of some tree roots coming up but that is to be expected given it's along the woods. It extends a little more than 10 miles if you go all the way to Belchertown, nice views, lovely scenery, and we went for an early dinner at Judie's in Amherst and rode back again. I am planning this trail as a yearly Fall trip because the leaves are in color then and is beautiful.

I rode this today, and I honestly have to share the opinions of others with the condition of the trail. It's not in the best shape, and it is a little narrow. There were signs of construction, there is a detour at one point a couple miles east/north of the CT river. I also noticed paint markings on the path, which I guess serve as a caution. They did have to use a bit of paint. What redeems this trail is the variety of scenery one encounters in the 10 miles. I took the camera and was able to take quite a few pictures in 3-4 areas that were very pretty. There's a place near the Northhampton end that sells perogies and ice cream. I can't speak for the ice cream, but the perogies are real good. O.

Belchertown Bike Trail

If one accesses sundry reviews of this particular bike path, one would leave wondering whether to bother or not, given the dire warnings of deep declivities and rampant roots, not to mention horrific frost heaves that threaten both life and limb.

But that is not the case at all. No such fate will greet you.

Perhaps if one deigns to travel on such a path on a ‘road’ bike, well then, what do you expect? But if you are smart, you’ll be riding on a mountain bike or a hybrid, both most suitable for your journey.

My lovely bride, Julie, accompanied me on this pleasant excursion, and we found no faults whatsoever with this trail! Sure, there are a few frost heaves here and there, and a smattering of bumps from tree roots, but on the whole it was a thoroughly enjoyable 10 mile ride. The offending ‘bumps’ are clearly marked, outlined in bright yellow to help you escape an unexpected jolt or two. The trail is even ok for rollerblades.

Starting in Belchertown, we meandered towards Northampton, passing swamps and wetlands, fields and farms, and lovely woodlands. Mating frog calls and shrill birdsong were frequent auditory experiences, and our day was warm, with rampant ragged clouds casting patches of shadows along dormant meadows.

The path, for the most part, was flat, with only slight grades as you approach Amherst College. Towards the end of your journey, there are a few road crossings, but they prove to be quick, with nary a wait.
Upon reaching Northampton, it is best to cross the old trestle bridge, and pause briefly before making your return. Any further cycling will prove disappointing, as the path takes you through town, with bustling streets and a lack of scenery.

So all in all a most pleasing journey, and one that is easily navigable for all age groups. With spring and all its glory still in its budding stages, now in the coolness of an April or May day is the time to go. Beautiful vistas await your presence. Now what are you waiting for?

I've been riding this trail for nearly 12 years, and it used to be a great trail, and I have high hopes that is will be again some day. As the other reviews accurately describe, the trail is now littered with bumps, frost heaves and cracks caused by tree roots and simple wear from age. Some of the cracks and ridges cut directly across the path with some of the more sever ridges up to 1.5 inches; That makes for one heck of a speed bump for a road bike or inline skates! In order to avoid the harsh trail surface, in about 3 sections, daily commuters have taken to simply riding off the trail for as far as perhaps 50 feet. It works, although in a few of these sections, getting off and back on the asphalt has become a bit treacherous over time.

Having said all this though, the trail is one of the most beautiful and peaceful I've ever ridden. In it's 10 or so mile length, there are only 7 road crossings, and 5 of those occur in the 1st 2 miles of the western end of the trail, starting in Northampton, MA. If you begin your ride on the eastern end of the trail, in Belchertown, the surroundings are beautiful, with streams, marshes, mountain views and wildlife. And as you proceed westward, it becomes a bit more busy, but still not overcrowded. I used to ride the length of this trail up and back nearly daily(in fact I've probably logged over 15,000 miles on this trail!!), but the bumps are becoming a bit rediculous. I do still ride the trail often though, it easy to fall in love with. You get to know where all the bumps are, and in the 3 or 4 really bad sections, i simply slow down; It's still a nice trail!

A number of years ago, many of the really bumpy sections were dug up and repaved, but the speed of degradation has certainly outpaced the attempt to keep the entire surface in good working order. As I understand it, 4 million dollars has been set aside to resurface the path, and in many places, to widen it too. Apparently, what has been holding back the construction (for around 4 years now!!!!), is the many differing views about how to makeover the path. In order to widen the path, some trees might need to come down, and many don't want that. Others would simply like the path to be resurfaced, with attention to taking steps to prevent roots from crossing the trail (I'm in this camp. Common people, lets get this beautiful resource back into good working order!!) And there are many other view too.

The last 4 years I've been going to Florida for the winter, and every year I come back with the hopes that something will have begun on that trail. In fact I write this from the New Jersey turnpike, and I will be in MA today. Who know's, maybe this will be the year we get our great trail back!!

This could be a fantastic trail. It has beautiful views of large fields, forests and woods, mountains, swamps, rivers, brooks, as well as at least one lovely old New England village common. But the trail itself needs lots of work. There are literally hundreds of depressions and ridges, some quite high and potentially dangerous, that make this an unpleasant ride for anyone on a road bike or a bike with high tire pressure - anything above 90-100 lbs. A mountain bike would work, but even that I would have doubts about. So, it gets 2-1/2 stars at best. Resurface it and it will be superb. (The Northhampton side of the Connecticut river has been recently resurfaced and is fine - except it's only 1/2 to 3/4 miles long!)

Kudos to the people who marked many of the bumps and drop-offs with yellow paint. October's not the best time to see the warnings, however, since the leaves cover a lot of them.

I rode this trail on 9/5/11. On the positive side, there are beautiful, pastoral views in spots; it's also nicely wooded and shaded in areas -- probably beautiful in the fall. There is a unique bike bridge at one end, and nearby there's a water fountain and air pump station. On the negative side, the trail is narrower than most, needs to have new lines painted, and has considerable bumps (it wasn't too bad for a hybrid bike with shocks). Also, the trail is made with recycled glass, and you can see the shiny pieces of glass embedded in the asphalt -- not the most comforting picture. I road the entire trail up and bike twice to justify the drive and the gas. Would probably grade this a B-.

I've been to this trail twice with my inline skates, both times in April of 2011. It was pleasant enough, but I don't think I'll go back - at least not with my skates. In the Amherst area (I can't speak for the other end), the trail is cracked in many places which presents a problem for inline skaters. If you want to get out and enjoy a leisurely ride in the fresh air, by all means go; the cracks aren't enough to completely prevent you from skating. But if you're interested in skating quickly enough to get your heart rate up and get a good work out, you may end up falling and getting hurt instead.

This seems like a great trail for walking or biking, and has a few unpaved foot paths that branch off from it. There's plenty of shade and it seems like a safe area for people to enjoy the fresh air. I've seen all sorts of people including elderly couples walking their dogs, young mothers pushing strollers, and families with children riding their bikes. The atmosphere is very pleasant and the people are friendly. It's a shame that there are so many cracks, but I'm more of a fitness skater than a recreational skater.

The Norwottuck Rail Trail is a fairly good trail. I use it both to commute to work and for recreation/training. I use the whole length of the trail frequently, since it is part of my commute to work, but also is located right near where I work, such that I can use it for a lunch time run or bike in the other direction.

The section of trail from Woodmont Ave. in Northampton to Damon Rd (Elwell Park) is fairly new and hence smooth and well marked. Once you get over the bridge (which is a beautiful view of the Connecticut River!), the trail conditions are not so great. I would describe them as quite passable and usable, but full of bumps and ruts. I attribute this to the age of this part of the path and the fact that it is maintained by the state and not by a city or town. Most of the larger bumps (roots!) are marked so you can see them ahead of time. Also the path is much narrower than many of the newer ones. You will not be able to easily pass a pair of bikers side by side. These conditions persist up until the Station Road parking. The last leg of the trail (Station Rd east to Warren Wright Rd) was constructed much more recently and hence is very smooth and wider.

Funds have been allocated to improve the trail and is in the planning stages.

If you are interested in nature, park at the Station Rd, and head west on the trail. There you'll find a swamp with plenty of beautiful things to look at. If you are interested in the commercial shopping side of things, park at the Northampton end and head east over to the malls (the trail goes right behind both the Walmart plaza and the Hampshire Mall).

The trail overall is not very hilly or curvy, and generally easy to bike for all ages. There are many places to stop and rest, but restrooms are not plentiful. There are only porti-potties at the Northampton (Elwell Park) end. The trail is a great off-road outing for everyone- offering diverse options. There are two places to get ice cream on the trail as well as a Panera Bread, and a Whole Foods market.

A word of caution on biking- they made the original trail out of glass. Each year more shards of glass come to the surface and I have seen many folks get flat tires. This is usually more of an issue at the beginning (spring) of the season, before the maintenance crews have a chance to sweep and clean up.

Running the trail can be challenging in places too, due to the same ruts and roots I talked about above. But not so much to make it impossible.

In the winter, the trail provides an excellent path to cross-country ski on, especially from North Maple St. in Hadley, eastward to the Station Road parking, as there are no road crossings.

In summary- a very nice trail, well utilized, but you need to watch out for the bumps and ruts. If you are a road biker, this trail is probably not for you between the pavement conditions and the number of casual users.

This trail is about 80 miles from where I live. I still went to bike as it was a gorgeous and day and I know Amherst is really a good place. The cracks, bumps and the holes on the trail are marked.
Most of the trail is under the shadow with the trees. I biked on a Saturday so the trail was occupied.
There is one road which is busy and no walk sign either. We have to wait for the cars to see us and allow us to cross. As I use traillink.com very often I decided to bike the NorthHampton trail also which is a connecting trail. This is a short trail which runs behind the buildings , but this trail also is good.
Well maintained. When I got to the end of the current NorthHampton trail , I saw a map with the proposed extension of the trail. I could also see the continuation of the trail, but it was not asphalted yet. As I was riding a hybrid thought will bike further to check it out but could not as I had to cross a busy road and it was too much work to get to the other side.

What I noticed is at the traffic light were we start NorthHampton (mear MacDonald's)I saw a board which read " Bike Route". I did not know which bike route it was. Neither did my iphone point out. It was still afternoon and had my endurance still so I continued reading the markers and the sign boards.This path leads to the city roads and further down. I had no clue how far the bike path extended but still was biking.
As always came across a busy street. While waiting to cross, few other bikers joined me.
I happened to ask them which trail it was and how long did the trail extend. I am told that the trail is still under construction, they are building bridges so that it is easy for us to cross. The trail is about 6-7 miles upto East Hampton. Although is not open publicly it is a bikeable. I biked about 3 miles and then returned.

This is a very nice trail. The beginning is quite bumpy, but smooths out after a couple of miles. The bigger bumps are outlined in yellow, so you can prepare for them. We were aware of the potential glass in pavement issues, but we had no problems. We always ride with an extra set of tubes and a patch kit anyway. It does appear they are actively working to repave the worst sections. I would say 90% of the trail is through wooded areas and the shade made for a very comfortable ride on a rather hot July afternoon. It is a very pretty ride. The views when crossing the CT River were beautiful. I assume this is a crowded trail on weekends. We rode on a Monday afternoon and there were sections that were crowded, and sections it was just us. I might give this trail 5 stars if it were closer than two hours away from my home.

Rode this trail on Friday September 4th. Started from the main Ellwell State Park parking lot, and rode its length.

Very nice, shaded, fairly well maintained. There are some areas with roots growing underneath, and some bumps/potholes, most of which are marked with yellow paint. But that said, it really is a nice trail and is well used.

Please note that if you go across Damon street, the trail has been extended to connect with the Northampton trail. Right now this extension dead ends at railroad tracks (Woodmont Road) but we just carried our bikes across and a short path led us to the rear parking lot of a McDonalds. If you then cross King Street to the Stop N Shop Plaza, you connect with the Northampton trail behind the Stop N Shop.

If you don't want to cross the tracks, I believe you can ride to one of the side streets which will take you to an intersection that will also cross King Street to the Stop N Shop Plaza.

"It's a nice trail, lots of scenic view especially the bridge over looking the Connecticut River. Some of the path is really bumpy."

On Sunday September 21st. six of us road the length of the trail and back to the park. Like the Cape Cod trail, this trail needs to be resurfaced. Many of the tree roots are coming up through the surface of the trail, and makes the ride bumpy. Thank goodness for shocks build into the bike fram.
This is the forth time I have ridden this trail and had no problem with flat tires because of the recycled glass in the surface of the trail. I did see two people with a flat tire. Both people did not carry any spare tubes, equipment or know-how to fix a flat. Oh Well.
The Boston Globe West had a great article on commuter and bike trails and how the giant CSX rail company has flustrated local officials in their efforts to acquire tracks for trails. (In Sundays October 21, 2007 news paper). The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail has moneys for expansion but the CSX company is holding up progress.
for that trail. It's worth while to travel a little further by car to the Ashuwillticook Trail.

"I agree with all other riders. Great ride, but should be re-surfaced. Can get crowded, and some people never stay right!"

This trail is made up of recycled glass Stay off this trail unless you enjoy wasting money on tubes you will get a flat

This trail is good if you like to get flat tires. The surface is made of recycled GLASS. Boy why didn't I think of that. Anyway I had to fix two flat tires on the trail and than come home and dug out ten more pieces of glass out of my tires. Stay off this trail if you ride a bike.

"As a whole package, this trail is as good as anything California has to offer (sans sur of course). In the busy season, mount horn, or bell to bike. Saves on trauma to vocal cords. Beware situationally challenged toddlers & animals on trail! The roots are not as bad as sand in your bearings, or going over endless concrete slabs."

"First time on this trail July 2006. The scenery is very nice, picnic tables, available water, all make for a nice trail. The pavement is being torn up by tree roots, though, so it's time for a little TLC?"

"Parked at Mill Lane. Was easy to find. Biked on a hot, hot day. Beautiful trail through tobacco fields, past commercial buildings, through town common ending across railroad bridge. Gotta wonder what they were thinking paving with crushed glass. It crunches under the bike tires. And tiny glass pieces litter the dirt on the edge. Other than that a wonderful trail. Lots of turn outs for resting. Gradual hills are a challenge."

"Between school, work, family, and friends, I've lived and been around this trail for a long time now. My kids and I have walked it, biked it, and bladded it in all four seasons. It seems that there is always something new to see, and always something interesting to do. It's become part of hte backdop of our lives.

Head over and walk there and see for yourselves!"

"A great trail. I had the best ride this warm November day. I see what they mean by the glass shards... I passed a few areas where there were pockets if ""road glass"". The frost heaves are plentiful. Having an off-road bicycle makes the ride so much more enjoyable. It would be nice to have a few rest stop areas available to relieve the affects of hydrating one's self.

Overall opinion : terrific trail. A great place to ride, walk or skate."

"This was a beautiful 10 mile trail with not that many people using it in mid-July 2005. Only complaint was the rises caused by roots made some jolting bumps. One eatry along the way, but delightful Northampton at the beginning! Parking at N'hampton end was plentiful."

"The Good: The trail is nice and long with few street crossings. It's beautiful and rural, especially eastern half, where you can spot some beaver ponds. The surface is generally good.

The Not-So-Good: It's crowded on weekends, espcially the western end. And there are spotty frost heaves and tree roots eager to blow narrow road tires and trip rollerbladers. It would be PERFECT if the trail was repaved. There are no porta potties at the estern end. Goggles or glasses are recommended to keep the bugs out of your eyes."

"I agree with the ""Bring a patch kit"" posting. I blew out a tire. There were at least two other flat tires. I admire the social consciousness of recycling glass, but I believe they're supposed to be crushed a little smaller than 1/2"" by 1/2"" shards! It's a nice trail otherwise!"

"This is a nice trail, but it can get pretty crowded with bikers and roller bladers when the weather is nice, epcially when UMASS is in session. Parking at the I-91/rt. 9 trailhead can also be a problem. The trail starts with a nice trestle over the Connecticut River, then continues past backyards, farms, and the shopping malls and stores. At least there are plenty of places to get liquids and snacks. Once you pass the malls, it's less crowded and gets into mostly farmland."

This is an absolutely wonderful trail. Easy access off of I-91 to parking lot. The farther east you go the nicer and less populated the trail gets. Great scenery from the trail of fields and water. We have taken our 2 young children with us twice and they have greatly enjoyed it. One of the best rail trails we have ever been on.

"The ride is comfortable pleasantly shaded. Definitely an easy
trail with little if any hilly terrain. Weekends -- though crowded -- the trail is still safe and enjoyable. Even when crossing main roads with auto access, motorists are polite and yielding and usually stop for bikers.

I have yet to find another trail like it. The only minus is that certain parts of the trail close to Rt. 9 are in need of re-grading; there are large bumps manifesting themselves."

"Get kevlay tires, the pavement is full of little shards of glass. The glass is embeded in the pavement to recycle glass. "

This is one of the nicest rail trails in Mass. I love the fact that in the heat of summer you are riding through tons of shade; it makes for a nice coooool ride.

"Trail is well used and well patroled. The in line skaters can be a little rude (maybe not on purpose) because they can whip up behind you and pass close and fast. I have walked it in sections with my family, and it is always fun."

"The trail is very nice with nice views, but it is in dire need of repaving. There are many major ruts. After going on trails in Rhode Island, it's very noticeable how much this trail needs to be repaved. "

I have run the trail countless times in training for various marathons. It's the perfect way to avoid car traffic and take in the great views of the Conn. valley.

"I am most fortunate to live one mile from this beautiful rail-trail, I and ride it three seasons of the year. The trail is my meditation with its mixture of shade and sunlight, hardwood trees, wild flowers, fields, ponds (filled with peepers noise in the early spring), the occassional fox, deer and beaver. Crossing the Connecticut river on the old rail bridge is always a treat. The trail is home to many species of birds, (the wood thrushes are magnificent with their high twilling songs in late spring and early summer). Lots of other critters too: one day I even saw a moose! Another time I came upon a number of riders stopped to watch a Hawk use the path as a straight a-way; it flew from tree to tree scouting prey.

The trail is actually 9.5 miles long because of a 1.5 mile extender at the Amherst end into Belchertown. There is additional parking not mentioned in the official description at the beginning of the Belchertown section on Warren-Wright Road, and at the corner of Mill Lane and Southeast Streets in Amherst.

You will love this trail!"

"I have ridden this trail several times and have really enjoyed. It's worth trying to find a parking space the Northhampton side. on the way east you'll pass a bike shop and ice cream palor. don't stop then but wait untill you return, then it will be well worth it.

If riding a bike with kids watch for the in-line skaters they can't skate in a straight line. "

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Massachusetts - 9 miles

The Manhan Rail Trail wends its way between Easthampton and Northampton, with a spur trail leading out The Oxbow near Mt. Tom. Easthampton is a...

Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Francis P. Ryan Section)

Massachusetts - 4.9 miles

In central Massachusetts, the Norwottuck Rail-Trail (formerly the Northampton Bikeway) runs between New South Street in Northampton and the...

Accordion

Chicopee River Canal Rail Trail

Massachusetts - 0.21 miles

The Chicopee Center Canal Walk offers a short pleasant route in Chicopee, a small city on the outskirts of Springfield in southern Massachusetts. The...

Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway

Massachusetts - 5.4 miles

The Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway, which will one day run 21 miles along the river, currently has two open segments. The longest stretches 3.7...

Columbia Greenway Rail Trail

Massachusetts - 2 miles

Columbia Greenway Rail Trail offers 2 miles of paved, tree-lined pathway through Westfield in southwestern Massachusetts, from Main st, across the...

Canalside Trail

Massachusetts - 3.3 miles

Canalside Trail begins at McClelland Farm Road and heads north on the former NYNH&H Railroad, crossing the Connecticut River near its confluence with...

Southwick Rail Trail

Massachusetts - 7.1 miles

The Southwick Rail Trail is now complete from the Massachusetts–Connecticut state line, where it continues south as the Farmington Canal Heritage...

Redstone Rail Trail

Massachusetts - 1.4 miles

The Redstone Rail Trail is built on the former New York, New Haven & Hartford Armory Branch, which in turn is a former branch line of the New York &...

Bridge of Flowers

Massachusetts - 0.08 miles

The Bridge of Flowers is a 400-foot-long former trolley line bridge that has been converted into a garden pathway. Open from April 1 to October 31,...

Farmington Canal Heritage Trail

Connecticut - 40 miles

Running north from the Yale University campus in New Haven through the heart of Connecticut, the multi-use Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, when...

Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail (WIndsor Locks Canal Towpath)

Connecticut - 4.5 miles

Note: Per the State of Connecticut's website, the trail is open from dawn to dusk March 1–November 30."  The 4.5-mile Windsor Locks Canal Trail...

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