GRAND TRUNK TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: June 17, 2015
Length: Trolley Line Trail (West section); 2.5 miles
Trolley Line Trail (East section); 0.2 miles
Grand Trunk Trail (Brimfield section); 1.7 miles
Grand Trunk Trolley Line Trail (Fiskdale section); 0.5 miles
Lake Siog Pass Trail/Holland Connector; 1.8 miles
Curtis Island Loop; 1/4 mile
Difficulty: Trolley Line Trail; Easy. Flat rail trail with a stone-dust surface.
Grand Trunk Trail (East & West sections); Flat rail trail with a stone-dust surface. One short section is still hard packed dirt w/some tree roots.
Lake Siog Pass Trail/Holland Connector; Easy. Relatively flat trail along an old paved/dirt road. Other sections consist of stone-dust.
Curtis Island Loop; Moderate. Hard packed dirt & grass trail.
Grand Trunk Trolley Line Trail ; Easy. Flat rail trail with a stone-dust surface. Short hill up to the dam.
From the Mass Pike (I-90) take exit 9 to I-84. Take exit 3 to Route 20 west. Follow Route 20 through Sturbridge.
For the Grand Trunk Trolley Line Trail (Fiskdale section); At the junctions of Route 20 & 148 turn left on Holland Rd. Travel 0.3 miles to a small parking area on your right next to a sign reading "Trolley Trail".
For the Trolley Line Trail (East section); After crossing over East Brimfield Lake, take your first left down E Brimfield Holland Rd. Travel past the E Brimfield Lake along your left (spot the old RR bridge piers in the lake) and after 0.4 miles turn right down a dirt road. You'll pass by a house to your left and come to a yellow gate (this is US Army Corp of Engineers property. Park along your right.
For the Five Bridges Road parking lot; After crossing over East Brimfield Lake, take your second left down Five Bridges Rd. You'll spot a brown sign reading "Grand Trunk Trail-East Brimfield section. Follow the paved road for 1.2 miles until it turns to dirt. Continue for another 0.4 miles and the parking area will be on your left.
For the Route 20 parking lot; Continue along Route 20 for 1.9 miles. The parking lot is on the left.
The Trolley Line Trail and Grand Trunk Trails are sections of the regional Titanic Rail Trail which is planned to run from Palmer to Franklin. The Trolley Line Trail follows an old trolley rail bed once used by the Springfield & Eastern Street Railway, which used to operate between Springfield and Fiskdale (Sturbridge). The Grand Trunk Trail, which runs parallel to the Trolley Line Trail follows the rail bed of the old Grand Trunk Railroad. Some called it the "Titanic Railroad" after its founder, Charles Hayes, went down with the Titanic. The Trails are located on U.S. Army Corp of Engineers land along the Quinebaug River flood control area. Because both trails parallel each other it creates a nice loop. Another short section of the Trolley Line Trail is located across the Quinebaug River at the eastern end of the main trail, but is only accessible from E Brimfield Rd because the old RR bridge is gone. A short section of the Grand Trunk Trolley Line Trail is located in Fiskdale (part of Sturbridge), running from the East Brimfield Dam to Holland Rd. The Lake Siog Pass Trail/Holland Connector is a spur trail that takes you to Holland Pond and the start of the Quinebaug River Canoe Trail in Holland. Sturbridge has another completed section of the Grand Trunk Trail . For more information visit; BRIMFIELD TRAIL .
Trolley Line Trail/Grand Trunk Trail (West section):
Starting from the Route 20 parking lot; The west end of the Trolley Line Trail begins here next to a map board.
Note; Heading west future plans call for extending the trail to New Holland Rd.
The wide, stone-dust trail travels east along the old rail bed, paralleling Route 20 for a bit. It travels through an area that was hit by the 2011 tornado that tore a path of destruction from Springfield to Sturbridge. What was once a shaded forest is now open fields with ripped up trees. Wood posts mark trail spurs or scenic side outs all along the trail. A short section of the Grand Trunk Trail parallels along your right which you can loop back along on your return. After about a mile you enter open forest leaving the destruction behind. At 1.3 miles you come to Five Bridges Rd (dirt road).
Note; The Lake Siog Pass Trail/ Holland Connector heads right along Five Bridges Rd. (See below).
Cross the road and continue straight along a causeway. To your right you'll spot the parallel Grand Trunk Trail which you can loop back along on your return. This section travels through wetlands along a small berm before the two trails combine and come to the Five Bridges Road parking lot after 1.6 miles. Here you'll find a map board, as well as, an informational sign board. The trails separate again, so bear left just past the parking lot to rejoin the Trolley Line Trail. The trail travels through wetlands followed by a rock cut before heading into the woods. The trail currently ends after 2.5 miles at the edge of the Quinebaug River where the old RR bridge used to be.
Note; Funds have been awarded to design the rebuilding the old RR bridge across the river to connect with the east side of the Trolley Line Trail. No construction as of June 2015. See; Trolley Line Trail (East section) below.
Return along the berm to a path on your left. This will bring you down to the Grand Trunk Trail which starts next to the river. This hard packed dirt and sand trail follows the old rail bed west, below the Trolley Line Trail. The trail surface is rougher with some tree root issues as it travels within site of the river. After 2.8 miles you'll pass by a couple of benches alongside the Quinebaug River. This is Rest Stop #3, a pull-in for the Quinebaug River Canoe Trail . You then re-join the Trolley Line Trail for a ways. Take your second left after 3.1 miles just before the rock cut (wood posts mark the spurs) along a stone-dust trail through an open field. Here you'll find benches overlooking a large marsh. Very scenic. You then re-join the Grand Trunk Trail which is also stone-dust and continue west along a causeway with the marsh along your left. You'll return to the Five Bridges Road parking lot after 3.5 miles where the two trails combine again. The trail quickly splits with the Trolley Line Trail bearing right. Continue straight along the Grand Trunk Trail which travels along a causeway. When you reach Five Bridges Rd the trail bears right and re-joins the Trolley Line Trail. Head left up to Five Bridges Road at 3.8 miles.
Note; The Lake Siog Pass Trail/ Holland Connector heads left along Five Bridges Rd. (See below).
Cross the road back along the Trolley Line Trail and take your first left along the Grand Trunk Trail. This section consists of a combination of both stone-dust and hard packed dirt & grass. You bear right off the old rail trail and rejoin the Trolley Line Trail at 4.4 miles. Head left to return to the Route 20 parking lot after a 5.2 mile loop.
Lake Siog Pass Trail/Holland Connector:
Starting from Five Bridges Road; Travel west on-road (low volume) along this dirt road. A large marsh is along your right. Cross over Mill Brook at 0.2 miles, then look for a yellow gate on your left at 0.4 miles. Turn left and follow the paved Old Holland Rd (abandoned) south. After 0.6 miles turn left along abandoned Morse Rd (across from a large field). This section is stone-dust except for a short hard packed dirt & grass surface. After a mile you'll come to an intersection.
Note; Left takes you along the Curtis Island Loop. Follow the hard packed dirt and grass trail around the edge of the island. You'll pass by an informational sign before coming to a path on your left that leads down to Rest Stop #1, a pull-in for the Quinebaug River Canoe Trail . Benches and a fire pit here. A path on your left takes you to a beaver dam where the Mill Brook enter the river. Nice views of the marsh. The trail then follows the river back out to old Morse Rd after a 1/4 mile.
Continue straight over a slight hill, passing by the loop exit for Curtis Island and you'll cross an old bridge over the Quinebaug River. Here the trail reverts to old pavement. Very scenic floodplain. After passing another yellow gate you travel on-road along Morse Rd (residential). After 1.5 miles, just before a gray house on your right, you'll pick up the stone-dust trail again to the right. This wooded lane brings you to Holland Pond after 1.8 miles. A parking lot, map board and Porto-potty are located here, along with, the start of the Quinebaug River Canoe Trail.
Trolley Line Trail/Grand Trunk Trail (East section):
Starting from the E Brimfield Road parking area; Travel past the yellow gate along the stone-dust trail. After 0.2 miles you'll come to the edge of the Quinebaug River where the old RR bridge used to be. Across the river is the west section of the Trolley Line Trail. This section utilizes the old rail bed from both the Grand Trunk Trail and Trolley Line.
Note; Future plans call for rebuilding the old RR bridge across the river to connect with the west side of the Trolley Line Trail. See; Trolley Line Trail/Grand Trunk Trail (West section) above.
Grand Trunk Trolley Line Trail (Fiskdale section):
Starting from the Holland Road parking area; Travel past the yellow gate along the stone-dust rail trail. This is part of the old Trolley Line. You start out along a high berm with the Quinebaug River below to your left. After passing through a cut you come to an old RR bridge abutment at a 1/4 mile with a bench overlooking the river below. The trail leaves the old rail bed and travels right up a slight hill with views of the East Brimfield Dam up to your left. Just past some maintenance buildings a paved road brings you to the top of the dam after 0.5 miles. Here you'll find informational boards (The dam was built in 1960 and is 520' long). You can also travel over the top of the dam to view the spillway.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT