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The Southern New England Trunk Line Trail (aka the "SNETT") was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1994. It is built upon a segment of the former right-of-way of the New Haven Railroad's Midland Division, which operated between Boston and Putnam, CT.
Today, it runs nearly uninterrupted for 21 miles between Grove Street near the southeastern edge of Franklin State Forest and the Connecticut state line in the Douglas State Forest. Although the trail is open and very scenic, note that much of it is currently unimproved with heavy overgrowth best suited to hiking and mountain biking.
There is a break in the trail in Blackstone from Route 122 at Castle Hill Way to the west side of Factory Pond, and a shorter break in Millville at the Triad Bridges. There's also a tricky crossing at Worcester-Providence Turnpike/Route 146 and Route 146A. Use caution when attempting to link the broken trail segments and never use active railroad bridges for crossings. Though most of the trail is unpaved, short sections have been paved and there are plans to pave more.
The SNETT is the eastern leg of the larger Titanic Rail Trail network, which is planned to stretch more than 60 miles through south-central Massachusetts. West of the SNETT, another developing piece of the Titanic Rail Trail, known as the Grand Trunk Trail, is available in disconnected sections in Brimfield, Sturbridge, and Southbridge.
Across the border in Connecticut, the trail joins the Airline State Park Trail that travels southwest for 27 miles to the town of Windham on the banks of the Willimantic River.
In Franklin, access the trail by taking I-495 to Exit 16 and head toward Bellingham. After about 3 miles turn right onto Grove Street; the state forest entrance is about 0.25 mile on the left. In Douglas, take Route 16 W off Route 146 and go about 5 miles until you get to Route 96; turn left. The state forest entrance is about 0.25 mile on the right.
You can access the SNETT in other places where the trail crosses roads.
The break after Route 122 in Blackstone now picks up at the parking lot off of Canal Street, near the corner of St. Paul Street. Going west from this point is about 3 miles of wide graded asphalt trail. The old Triad Bridge has been redone and is a safe beautiful crossing. I saw a lot of people--walking, riding bikes, pushing strollers, even skateboarding--when I rode this section a few Sundays ago.
But at the end of this section is Route 146 (a limited access divided highway) and there are no signs telling you how to cross it or to get back on the trail on the other side.
Several have commented on the section of trail between Lake St., Bellingham and Prospect St., Franklin that was upgraded in June, 2017. Great!
You might like to know that west of this section and the improved trail to Center St, the one mile of rough trail between Fox Run Road and the new Route 126 tunnel is now under design. This includes a new parking area just east of Route 126.
It is state policy to add improved sections to existing improved sections.
Also, a DCR manager was quoted in the Boston Globe recently as saying that design work on the trail over the Blackstone Viaduct to the RI border would begin this fall.
It is important to realize that DCR has to jump through many hoops before construction can begin. But, keep pushing for results!
Many are commenting on the fill at Prospect Street in Franklin now that the state has improved the trail west of there. The plan is to replace the fil with a tunnel. The money was provided in the Environmental Bond bill of 2015. But, Governor Baker has not released the funds. So, blame him. Or better yet, write to him.
There should be a bridge or tunnel on connection between trails on Prospect St in Franklin. Connection at the moment is not very good and could be very improved upon, a little dangerous.
Southern side of trail is very nice and overall the trail is so nice, but could be a bit more maintained or even redone.
Beyond incredible at times, but largely tragically poorly maintained. The initial segment in Franklin was a challenge, narrowing with increased vegetation and mud. There was a very difficult crossing at Prospect St in Franklin, with a very challenging descent into the southern continuation of the trail.
The trail was amazing for a few miles, quite stunning all around though for this section the path was clear and maintained. South of Centre St. was near impossible, riding at times in water four inches high (days after the most recent rain). Had to abandon at Edgewater Dr. in Bellingham. Shame, if the DCR were to maintain this it could be an incredible opportunity for these communities as the Franklin trailhead is an easy bike ride from the commuter rail and could be a great excursion for car free city dwellers.
This section was just graded, raised, and surfaced with a relatively fine gravel that seems to have been rolled to lie flat. No more puddles! The next section west to Center Street in Bellingham is amazingly flat and straight and covered in fine sand.
Vegetation has been removed from the side of these two sections, giving them a very different feel from the unimproved sections on each side.
DO NOT take this trail when the weather has been wet. Large swampy areas on the Franklin end there is a short section of paved & gravel trail very nice. Where it wasn't paved lots of moguls where the railroad ties were All that being said? I will come back this summer and try again. The trail is tree covered and should be nice and cool
The 3-1/2 mile section in Blackstone, Millville, and Uxbridge that the state contractors have been working on is now complete and open. There are parking lots at Blackstone Depot (off of Canal St.), Central St., Millville, and Adams St., Uxbridge. The now complete trail section extends from just south of St. Paul St. in Blackstone to Adams St. (just before Rte. 146A) in Uxbridge. Very nice. The project also includes a playground at Old Mendon St. in Blackstone where the Friendly Market is adjacent for refreshments.
Also, the Route 126 tunnel in Bellingham is now complete and very nice. In November, DCR employees and FBRTC volunteers cleared 0.3 miles of the trail west from Fox Run Road to a gas line crossing in Bellingham. The surface is still rough.
As to the Castle Hill Way situation, DCR owns an trail easement on the mile or so of right of way from Main St. to Farm St. in Blackstone. This easement is on file with the Worcester County registry of deeds. The condo association owns the surface of the western 1/2 mile, the town of Blackstone owns the eastern 1/2 mile. But, the issue with dogs is that some owners do not clean up after their animals. This is also a continuing issue on the stone dust section between Center St. and Lake St. in Bellingham. So folks resent this. If you do not like the negative attitudes, you only have other dog owners to blame.
Now that the new trail is open, a description of how to span the remaining gap is in order.
Going east from the Depot parking area in Blackstone: Go down the entrance driveway to Canal St. Turn right and follow to St. Paul St. Turn left and follow St. Paul St. past the town offices and across the river to the traffic light at Main St. Turn right and follow Main St. to Castle Hill Way just after the CVS store. Turn left and follow Castle Hill Way to where the pavement curves right. Continue straight ahead through gate on to trail.
Going west, at the end of Castle Hill Way, turn right on Main St. and follow to the first traffic light. Turn left on St. Paul St. and follow to just short of the overpass. Turn right on to Canal St. and follow to the parking lot entrance just before the river bridge. Turn left and enter the parking lot with the trail on the far side. Turn right on to the trail.
Be advised that the last half-mile from 122 got to the gate is no dogs allowed you will be accosted by many old people if you have your dog with you. I tried to explain that the map shows this as part of the S and E TT trail but they would have no part of it.
It's ok when you first get on at Grove Street but after you cross the next main street it turns in to shale which isn't really great to walk or run on. Might be good for bike riding though. Also, there are some very deep trenches so I think it will take a long time to dry after storms.
From east to west. Last fall, the trail was cleared of vegetation from Grove St. to Spring St. in Franklin. In November, an eagle scout project installed 1/2 mile markers from Grove St., Franklin (0.0) to Woonsocket Jct., Blackstone (5.0). In Bellingham, installation of a stone dust surface is now complete for over 3/4 miles from Lake St. to Center St. Straight as an arrow, a delight and sign for the future.
At Rte. 126, Bellingham, the tunnel is basically complete with removal of the old bridge and rebuilding of the road to follow this spring.
The engineering study of the Blackstone Viaduct found it in good condition. Detailed plans and estimating to follow. The 3-1/2 mile rebuild between the Depot in Blackstone and Rte. 146A in Uxbridge is almost complete with added steel placed on the river span of the Triad Bridge. Final painting, decking, and railings of this bridge in the spring. The Main St. bridge and Church St. tunnel are complete. Ribbon cutting expected in June. In Uxbridge, studies are underway on how to close the Rte. 146A - Rte. 146 gap.
In Douglas, trail clearing and surface reprofiling has now reached eastward to West St., Uxbridge.
Bring a lot of Bug Spray you'll need it. Crushed rocks loved to sneak into my boat shoes, so bring running shoes. Other than that, it has a lot of shade and is very easy to find.
Between the west side of Rte. 146 and the east side of Rte. 146A in Uxbridge, SNETT travelers have a mystery to solve.
Going west, a traveler should descend the end of the fill to Rte. 146A. Then turn right and go north along Rte. 146A for 0.2 miles to the first left. There turn left on Balm of Life Spring Rd. to the next intersection. There turn left again and proceed along Elmwood Ave. for about 0.45 miles passing under Rte 146 and reaching a five street intersection. There turn sharp right on to Colonel Dr. and travel 0.15 miles to the end of the road. At the end of the road, turn left on to a woods road over a low hill next to the highway fence for about 0.2 miles to reach the SNETT west just west of Rte. 146. There, turn left for Douglas and Connecticut. The trail between Colonel Dr. and the SNETT is on state owned land.
Going east, about 0.7 miles east of Aldrich Street and about 0.2 miles east of a power line, but before the highway fence, angle right on to a woods road on state owned land and follow southeast alongside the highway fence for about 0.2 miles to the end of Colonel Dr. Turn right and follow Colonel Dr. to a five way intersection. There, turn left and follow Elmwood Ave for 0.45 miles under Rte. 146 to the second intersection. Turn right on to Balm of Life Springs Rd. and follow to Rte. 146A. Turn right and follow highway south for 0.2 miles. Just before the highway on ramp to right, turn left up the fill to gain the SNETT east.
Work has been continuing since my January update. In Bellingham, work has begun on the replacement of the Route 126 bridge with a tunnel. The contractor is on site, utilities have been moved, trees have been cut on both sides of the highway, and construction signs erected. Between Center St. and Lake St, the water line has been installed and final surfacing of the trail is expected in August.
In Blackstone, a new bridge has been installed over Main Street and the nearly Church St. Tunnel is nearing completion. In Millville, the Triad bridge has been sandblasted and prime painted. Finish painting is underway. Also, the trail has been paved between Rte. 146A, Uxbridge, and Central St., Millville.
Much has been happening on this trail, so let's update from west to east. In 2015, there is a grant to clear and improve the trail between the CT line and Wallum Lake Road. In 2014, the trail was cleared and graded in Douglas between South St. and Monroe St. In 2015, this will be extended east from Monroe St. to West St., Uxbridge. In the fall of 2014, the trail was cleared between Rte. 146A, Uxbridge and Factory Pond, Blackstone. The Triad bridge in this section will be rebuilt in 2015. In August, 2014, a contractor completed work on rehabbing six bridges in Blackstone, but they are not yet open for use. Also, the fill at Church St. Blackstone was removed. In 2015, a tunnel will be installed at Church St. and a new bridge built across Main St. These changes along with surface work will provide a paved trail between Rte. 146A, Uxbridge and St. Paul St., Blackstone by the end of 2016.
Further east, the town of Bellingham has begun work to install a water main in the trail between Center St. and Lake St. The water main project will conclude with rebuilding the trail surface between those streets. Currently, a project is beginning to clear and improve the trail between Lake St. and Prospect St. Also, the highway overpass at Rte. 126 in Bellingham is scheduled to be replaced by a tunnel in 2015. There is also authorization (but not funding) to replace the fill at Prospect St., Franklin with a tunnel. Other improvements are proposed.
rode this today. previous reviews are accurate, lots of moguls, prospect street "climb" etc. the orange netting is no longer there, but apparently there is now a construction site which has cut through the trail somewhere about midway between Rt.146 bridge and the pond (name escapes me), with "no trespassing" signs. You can circumnavigate it, but it takes some determined meandering through some fairly informal and definitely not marked trails through the woods. would be great to see this trail get inproved and become "unbroken" , but if you want an adventure, give it a shot.
I tried doing this trail with my friend starting at 146 and going West. She has road tires on her Trek and was unhappy about the trail We got about 2 miles in and turned around. It wasn't fun.
Then a couple days later I tried it on my own (I have hybrid tires). I started in E. Thompson, CT (parking at a lot near 649 E Thompson RD.) and rode East. This was the roughest ride Ive taken and not made for road bikes or the casual rider. Deep sand, rocks, and "whooptie-doo's" throughout the 7 miles I rode before turning around. There were a few stretches of fairly smooth riding but not enough.
On my way back, I hiked the 0.3 miles to the tri-state intersection - MA, CT, and RI. There's a monument there, where I took a photo and a video. This was a long 0.3 and I had to carry my bike most of the way. But I made it!
I mostly ride for the exercise, and of course the fun. This trail was definitely a work out! I looked at it as a challenge after trying the first time. I'm glad I tried it again but I'm not sure I would go a third time.
I want to try the CT side of the trail soon, at the same starting point.
I've hiked all of the trail from Franklin to Putnam, CT. If you don't like the Franklin end, you really won't like the final part at the Putnam end. But this is all state owned and under development. Any No Trespassing signs are probably a reaction to the dirt bikes. The wash board effect also is from the dirt bikes. When the grade is on a fill, the less compacted earth gets rutted. When it passes through a cut, it won’t. At the east end, the trail groups have worked their way from Franklin through Bellingham. Blackstone is next. If you are confused, go straight ahead. There is a missing bridge where the trail crossed the Blackstone River for the first time and another at the crossing of Rte. 146. But, the state is working now to rehab and redeck four bridges in Blackstone with more to follow, These are included in the section that will coincide with the Blackstone River Greenway (Bikeway). If you like the potential of this route, join the friends group and lend a hand.
I love this trail, but the past couple times my boyfriend and I have taken our dog, there were dirt bikers... lots of them. I wouldn't mind this however we go to that one specifically because they are not permitted. The last thing I want when trying to enjoy nature is loud rude dirt bikers. The rest of the trails in Franklin State Forest are permitted for motorized vehicles. I don't understand why they cant stick to all of those ones. Also, the dirt bikers didn't seem to have any respect for hikers or people walking. they don't move over, they zip around instead of slowing down. It scares my dog, and its pretty obnoxious. I believe people need to be able to enjoy themselves and go dirt biking etc. I have nothing against that. But pay some respect to those walking, and stick to the acres of trails that are for dirt bikes.
The trail itself is nice. Unpaved and fairly wide. A great workout and the trail is almost end-less. Next time I will be on a mountain bike that's for sure!
Several people including myself were walking our dogs when four people on dirt bikes traveling extremely fast came upon us, 4/26 3:55pm (enough to obscure the paths view beyond them with the dirt/ dust they kicked up).
A few had tri-county shirts on so I presume its the local high schoolers.
Since access is restricted to walking and mountain biking I hope that's the first and last time I see them.
On 4/25 I wanted to run 4 miles along the trunkline beginning at Grove street, Franklin. It was a perfect spring day---65 degrees and sunny. As soon as I started running, a man leaving the trail said, "Watch out for the dirt bikers." I didn't hear any bikes so I continued on. I should have heeded his warning. The trail has large rocks, moguls, and lots of muddy sections. It was not easy terrain for running. I pushed on until Lake Street---then I turned around. At this point, I heard the dirt bikers in the distance. When they approached me, they made as much noise as possible and tried to get as close to me as possible. One of them actually tried to kick me.
Yes they need a place to ride and yes, if they slowed down when they approached pedestrians, I'm more than willing to share the trail with them. Now because of these individuals, I want them banned from these trails. So much for a nice springtime run. I'd rather run on the road and deal with cars.
The parking lot/trail head in Franklin is well marked, but I only got a couple miles before running into difficulty. There is a very steep uphill at Prospect Street in Franklin, and on the other side somebody has it blocked off with orange fencing and it's marked as private property. Maybe next time I will start near Fox Run Road in Bellingham and see how far I get.
Moguls WTF?! I rode this from the 146 to the Blackstone river crossing just east of Millville. It's mostly moguls. NOT fun. I don't understand how a former railbed (i.e. as flat as possible) ends up with moguls. Of course, I could only ride about three miles, because the 'trail' arrives at a bridge that is impassable. Imagine if an interstate highway just ended at a river. Would it really cost that much to flatten and maintain this trail? Especially compared to the future medicare costs of an obese society? Aren't we supposed to be the richest country in the world? (Or is it just the fattest?)
I live in Franklin on the Bellingham line. I just discovered this trail after living a mile away from it for 18 years. One day this August I set out on my own to see how far I could go on my bike. I got as far as Blackstone (Farm Rd) then I could not find where the trail picked up again. I was on a path that appeared to go behind the town landfill. I came to Farm rd (st?) and looked across the street. there was a dirt road with a gate that said No Entrance. I looked a little up and dow the road but could not see any other trail. Does anyone know where I might have gone wrong or should I have gone down that road? I would love to try this trail again in the Spring and make it all the way to the end. Any advice would be appreciated.
just wondering what you horse riders, mountain bikers, and hikers, paid to register your horses, bikes and running shoes? your not paying into the state extra to maintain the trails yet you complain if an atv uses it, ya know the state is taking away all legal places to ride but still insists on charging for atvs to register. I've used this trail system for 15+ years and used common courtesy to other users when on an atv, and expect the same when im walking. All im trying to say is theres bad atv riders, and theres respectful atv riders, don't be so closed minded, just like theres bad truck drivers and theres and good should they be banned from the roads?
Ever since I was 9 years old I have been riding these tracks from uxbridge ma to Thompson ct. Riding these trails I mean dirtbike riding! These tracks have been the heart of our trail system to get around. I truly believe if allterrain vehicles did not use this system there would be no abandon tracks today. Thanks to all those dirtbike and 4 wheelers for maintaining one of the longest biking trails in new england. Once this is paved and used on a daily basis as a running and biking trail we will be closing the doors on a awesome trail for all terrain use. These days having a place to be a kid is just hard to find. I know paving this trail will get more kids out and let people see the tri state marker in which I have enjoyed for many years. We just need to allow allterrain vehicles to go somewhere or they will be in our backyards. This is something that will never go away and is considered to be a sport too. I still ride to this day with my son and even though I would love to take him through this trail system and show him what I have enjoyed for 30 years I choose to take him to more appropriate areas. I will miss these trails in one way but hope they don't procrastinate on getting it paved in another. The only people that truly enjoy the area are the ones living right off of it and it would be a shame if they take it away from us and let it all grow in.
I tried a section of this trail today in Douglas near the state forest. while the views of the many beaver Lodges along with great blue heron, swan and geese was a treat this trail was not very enjoyable on a mountain bike. The trail surface is quite sandy making for very slow going. Best for a walk with the dogs etc.
For a second time on November 27th, today, i went on the bike trip with a group of my high school friends, all 16, juniors. We started in Franklin MA and had some slower bikers with us that slowed us down. We left at about 7:45 and made it to the Quaker Highway in Uxbridge at about 10:30. Me and one of the other more experienced bikers kept going but the trail was very muddy and almost unrideable. We were a good 8 miles from CT, which was our goal. We biked a total of about 33 miles, 12 short of the whole thing. The ride back only took 2.5 hours from McDonalds in Uxbridge, but it felt much shorter, and we also dropped the slower riders. This course is not easy but can be tackled with determination and grit. Our goal for the summer is to complete a full round trip, all 45 miles, in one day. The trick is to bring bikers who are the same level as you and know where to stop and how to pace yourself. We think a round trip is do-able but it will really test our strength.
Some side notes:
-The sign for SNETT off of Aldrich street in Uxbridge is in the wrong place. It's a yellow sign with a Horse Crossing sign on it. It leads up to a big electric tower. The sign should be about 20 yards down the road where the trail is.
-All truss bridges are easily avoidable.
-There is a McDonalds on the Quaker Highway
-Best weather to bike this course is on a sunny day with little wind. I am going to try to go when there has been little rain during the week and go on the weekend so that the trail is at its driest.
-McDonalds is about half-way to the turn around
Good luck to all those who give this trail a shot. I wish you the best
I have just completed the entire trail from Douglas State Forest, MA to Franklin, MA on a mountain bike round-trip (42 miles). It took about 8 hours. Im glad I had lights mounted to the bike because it was very dark on the trail during my return to where I started. The trail was actually fun on the bike going over the "whoopdy-doo's"(moguls) and there were only a few short sandy spots. Portions of the trail were wide enough for a two lane road where utilities are buried under trail and then there are single track sections where the branches are lightly brushing your arms and helmet as you go along. There are a couple of short paved road sections and a bit longer detour on paved roads in Bellingham when the trail ends at Route 122. I picked up again on trail behind a church. The trail at this section goes over a bridge that has no surface deck( I did cross the bridge very carefully but would not suggest anyone to do this) If you follow the ATV tracks it will lead you to detours which use a 'real' train track bridge - ah, this brings me to the point where I was almost run over by a speeding train!! There is another bridge on this trail which has no surface deck and it is impossible to cross so I followed the ATV track down a very steep descent to a 'live' train track where I proceded to cross the bridge when a train going about 80mph came around the corner, I had to run off the bridge. The conductor laid on his/her horn. Where the trail meets Route 146 you will again follow ATV tracks(this time no trains) and go under the highway on paved road. The ATV tracks take you right along the side of highway briefly where it then joins the original track line. I am from Rhode Island where all rails-to-trails are paved and greatly appreciated this trail in it's natural setting. I have continued on the trail into Connecticut up to Putnam. There is some beautiful scenery/wildlife and I plan on continuing the trail to Williamantic, CT. Some helpful advice:Google Earth maps were a big help on the paved detour sections, use extreme caution when on 'live' train bridges-the trains travel at high speeds here.
I've hiked the SNTLT from where it is abruptly cut off by route 146 in south Uxbridge at Ironstone Village, through the Douglas Forest, to the Connecticut state line. I've actually gone all the way to Putnam, CT where The Line goes under Interstate 395 for a second time. In Connecticut it is called Airline State Park. Along the way I came across an old abandoned wooden bridge that crossed over The Line. Way cool!!
In Uxbridge near the West Street entrance to The Line there are some wonderful water features with beautiful stone tunnels for water flow. There are also a couple of overgrown roads that angle into The Line from the south, possibly routes used to get to The Line for pick up or delivery of merchandise or for maintenance, etc. In this same area I discovered an old homestead with stone boundaries, an old well and a few other things such as a 16-pound hammer head used to pound in rail spikes and an old horseshoe with the nails still in it. The stone tunnels, the roads and the homestead are a little hard to find. A hiker needs to be willing to look for signs of entry up or down hillsides and be willing to step off the beaten path bit.
There are also some nice water features in the Douglas Forest near Wallum Lake. Near here is where the Mid-State Trail that runs from the northern to the southern border of Massachusetts (and beyond) bisects The Line. I hike The Line as often as possible exploring off-the-beaten-path trails, looking for wildlife and picking up a few rail spikes and other metal pieces along the way. It is one of my favorite local things to do.
From reading these reviews and others. Plus looking at pictures I thought I knew what I was getting into. It was said that this is a gravel/ballast trail. Well I went to the Grove St parking area that another person mentioned and started out there. It was all moguls for like the 1 1/2 miles. It was rocky with lose dirt at points I was riding along the edge but there are drop offs along the edge. Now I love to bike and hike but I HATE moguls. Plus there were fallen trees I had to skirt around. I was so excited to drive the 30 minutes to get the trail but it was not worth it and I just turned back after awhile. No where did I ever see anyone mention moguls. There were signs posted saying no motorized vehicles but I did see several dirt bikes having a blast. Good for them bad for us bikers because there were tearing up the trail. Next time I go I might try to start at another section. From other peoples photos it looks like a beautiful trail. Had I brought my laptop I could have found free wireless and found another place to start but I left it at home.
A new parking area has been constructed by the town of Franklin and is located directly a
across the street from the trail head on Grove St. The parking area is well marked with a professional color sign (also constructed by the town) and can accommodate about 15-20 cars
Me and a group of friends, all juniors in high school ages 16, rode from the start in franklin to the end in douglas mass. it was an extremely difficult trail, lots of moguls with soft sands and tough hills. make sure to print out directions and thoroughly review the satellite images. the truss bridges are scary but very fun to watch, and i will be going back again as soon as i can.
Me and my best friend took a spin on this trail on our mountain bikes. We started at the exit one ramp off 146, its about in the middle of the trail. There is a nice Mcdonalds to park at, and its a short bike to where the trail goes on into the woods. It was a pretty tough trail, in many parts it dipped for two miles, making riding very hard. Patches of sand and deep mud also created great obstacles(half the fun to mountain bikers) and I snapped some great photos. All in all it was my favorite trail I've done yet, I just wish the blackstone end was not so polluted. Old tires and junk floating near the stone dam between the PW railroad and where the trunk line used to run. I would also like to caution everyone to be careful when around those train bridges. Two out of the 3 are able to be cross walking your bike, but the first bridge is a little more difficult because it has two tiers of height. Great trail and I will be taking a bunch of pictures next time.
Hi -- Please read my wife's long post from Sept 2009 -- Many, many horses use the flat section of SNETT within
Douglas SF -- and it remains in perfect condition. They do not use the mogul'ed miles both E and W of Douglas SF. Those miles are ruined with moguls. --------- She is right, for 300 years horse trails all over USA were 24" wide, flat, and dry, and in modern times great for hikers and mountain bikes too. While some interests have tried to ban horses on trails, out West the laws protect horsemen's rights to trail access, under "traditional use" protections. Every legal case was found for horses continuing in places where ?? mtn bikers and ATV users ?? want to ban them? ---------Since 1990 or so, ATV's have widened trails, created ponds where damp spots used to be, exposed rocks & tree roots, vastly accelerated erosion, and created the many miles of moguls on the SNETT and elsewhere which make bike riding and walking unpleasant, and horse pleasure impossible. Just setting the record straight, Rob
I hiked it for the first time on Sept. 9 -- starting at the Franklin, MA, trail head and ending up at Route 126 in Bellingham. I found the "whoop-de-dos" a curiosity." But they did not cut into the enjoyment of the hike. I suppose if you could straighten them all out, they would add several tenths of a mile to the distance walked. I was a bit more curious about how they formed. On average, these "swells" across the rail bed seem to average about five paces peak to peak. And the low spots seemed to have a consistent depth, on the order of about 18 inches. And they seem to be unrelated to any cross-trail drainage.
Along one stretch, I came across what would have been a siding on the line. It had no swells. And it's gravel ballast was virtually intact the entire length of the siding.
Because school has just started (and I was on vacation), I was the only person on the trail for the entire outbound leg. And I came across one motocross rider on the way back. The trail is marked for no motor vehicles at the trail head. But the trail has plenty of other access points along the way that often seem to come in from someone's home or field. So any attempt at nixing anything other than foot or hoof power will be a challenge. And there is no signage on the Route 126 end in Bellingham.
At Route 126, the rail seemed to end. But after consulting Google Earth, it looks like it picks up again at the end of a small residential neighborhood to the left of the light-industrial building you see as you look across the road.
In short, this is a hidden gem!
That's some exploration for another day!
Greetings, we are new posters. We decided to try to find out who maintains the SNETT in the Douglas/Uxbridge area since it is in practically unusable condition so much of the way (outside of Douglas SF). While some mtn bikers think it's fun to ride miles of moguls, the moguls (created, we assume, by the pounding of 'banned' RVT's) make the trail unusable for serious running, hiking, or horse uses. We are experienced extreme trail riders who seek out unusual and little-used trails all over the world, but we are based in central Mass. (One horse&rider team became, in 2006-2007, the first pair ever to complete the entire 92 mi of the Mass Mid-State Trail -- which is legally open to horses, but largely unsuitable for horse travel in any case -- thus the sobriquet 'extreme trail riding.' **We encourage hikers everywhere to try this spectacular, gorgeous, and largely unused trail.**) New England horse trails are naturally hilly, rocky, and swampy; the going is slow. The SNETT is the only environment that is flat, clear, scenic, and a rare resource for our animals, who want to live their nature and RUN once in a while. They have very little chance to do this otherwise. On the SNETT, while we can enjoy the scenery as our horses walk the moguls, the moguls are so close together (vs the length of a horse's body -- longer than a bike), that this is *extremely* fatiguing for them. What a shame for all! We can't imagine jogging/running on these trails. Why bother even to walk them? Biking on them, for most, is a drag, too. NB Responsible horsemen are quite happy to share the trails with other user groups, in particular taking care not to use or cross any land or trail in wet seasons unless in an emergency. We organize and work hard to maintain, re-route and otherwise be smart about trail usage for all. It is NOT true that horses make the trails 'bumpy' (unless you are talking about frozen mud, impacted by horses just before it froze); horses in no way degrade the land, beyond the existence of the trail itself. Long-term horse passage does not downgrade trails. They are no more than 18" wide, and remain as they are for generation after generation, until they are widened and trashed by motorized 4-wheelers. We have observed that trails which were formerly delightful for everyone's use (runners, bikers, hikers and horses), both in New England and widely out West, have been grievously downgraded since the proliferation of 4-wheelers -- stripping trails of loam & dirt, leaving nothing but rocks and tree roots, or vast mud holes wherever they frequently pass. This would hardly appear to be the year in which to inquire, but is there any plan or budget for 're-grading' the long sections of the SNETT which are nothing but endless moguls?? Best, Betsy & Rob 617 306 3259
"We found the SNETT a couple of weeks ago and actually really enjoy the woopiedoos on our mountain bikes. The trail is definately challenging but that is nice. The one thing that is disappointing and rather frustrating is the trail seems to just end in Bellingham coming from Frankin, I believe on South Maple St. It seems as though someone has claimed a portion of the trail private property and posted signage that diverts any riders off of the rail trail and onto the Franklin state forest trails. I plan on notifying MA D.E.M. since they supposedly own the land the trail is on. Rather unfortunate since our tax dollars do go for the conservation and ""revitalization"" of the rail trails. I'm not really sure if this is the case since there are no published maps of the trail and the trail is not marked once you are on it. Has anyone else experienced this?"
"My husband and I love walking on this trail, but it needs some serious help. ATVs have done a number on it and many areas have what I think someone else called ""whoopdedoos""? At any rate, they're long series of mini-hills which make walking less enjoyable. I think it's a gorgeous area and I would love to use it as a commute, but definitely can't in it's current condition. Help this trail!"
"I explored the SNET in Douglas SF and Saw lots of RR history.
A great Key stone bridge next to the Park headquarters you could visit without riding the Trail is worth the trip. Douglas SF has lots of fire roads that are more fun to ride than the SNET and I would recommend them. Most of the ROW was sandy and heavy use by ATVs (illegal) and horses make it no fun to ride. the surface varied from ballast to washed out areas and was quite sandy and bumpy from equestrian traffic. We found the Grand trunk crossing and I am going to go back to explore this someday.(this RR was being built when the owner died in the Titanic) The concrete abutments and the ROW were built but not the trestles. There are some kiosks about this RR. "
"I've been mountain biking this old railbed since about 1992, beginning in Webster, MA and going along into Douglas. Yes there are some spots that are quite sandy/soft, and a lot of ""whoopdy doos"" in some areas. However, there are some scenic areas along ponds and lakes. Also, there are a plethera of smaller single track trails running off of the railbed that provide hours of aggressive, technical riding or even hiking. The tristate marker can be found, and is just a short distance from the midstate trail that crosses the railtrail. Just off the midstate is a 3 sided shelter, perfect for an overnighter. The railtrail needs attention, but aggressive riders find much fun here."
"Come ride it from the Franklin end, if you can. I walked this ""trail"" for about a 1/2 mile, was a feat in itself. The surface is all ruts about 4"" deep by roughly 12"" across and 12"" wide. I had to push tree branches out of my way, and the reason I turned back after only half a mile? I almost got run over by two 4 wheel ATV's that are not even suppose to be using this so called trail."
"I tried running on the beginning of the trail in Franklin. It is mostly a rough, very rutted dirt trail that is barely suitable for hiking. No running or biking. If finished, it looks like it could be a beautiful trail."
This could be a great trail for central Massachusetts but it needs some serious attention. A few weeks ago nine of us set out on mountain bikes from Douglas and after a mile we had to turn back.
The trail is nearly impossible to ride with bikes in its current condition. It's just too soft and sandy. It is a beautiful area so it seems a shame to not be able to ride on it.
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