SOUTHWICK RAIL TRAIL:
COLUMBIA GREENWAY RAIL TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: December 12, 2015
Length: Columbia Greenway Rail Trail; 2.4 miles
Southwick Rail Trail; 6.3 miles
Westfield Riverwalk; 1.7 miles
Difficulty: Columbia Greenway/Southwick Rail Trail. Easy. Flat paved rail trail.
Westfield Riverwalk; Easy. Flat, narrow stone-dust trail atop a levee.
To start from Phelps Road near the CT/MA border [Southwick Rail Trail]; From Routes 10 & 202 in Granby, CT, just over the line from MA, take Notch Rd east and immediately turn left onto Quarry Rd. Quarry Rd will travel east, then turn south. Turn left when you come to Phelps Rd. You'll travel underneath the trail and come to a parking lot on your right. Trail map and Porto-Potty located here. Head north along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail for 0.4 miles to the start of the Southwick Rail Trail.
To start from the Shaker Road parking lot [Columbia Greenway/Southwick Rail Trail]; From I-90 take exit 3 to Routes 10 & 202 south for 4 miles. Turn left on Tannery Rd, then left on Ponders Hollow Rd which become Shaker Rd. Just past where the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail crosses the road turn right to reach the trailside parking lot. Heading right (north) takes you along the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail. Heading left (south) takes you along the Southwick Rail Trail.
To start from Whitney Field in Westfield [Westfield Riverwalk]; From I-90 take exit 3 to Routes 10 & 202 south. Cross the river and merge with on coming traffic. Take your next right on Orange St. Follow to Shepherd St and turn right. You'll cross over the Levee (Trailhead on your right) and enter Whitney Field. Parking immediately on your left. Head back out the entrance to the trailhead.
The New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail is a planned 84 mile multi-use trail from New Haven, CT to Northampton, MA. In Connecticut the trail is referred to as the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and in Massachusetts as the New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail, although each town currently has their own name for the trail. Hence the name Columbia Greenway Rail Trail in Westfield and Southwick Rail Trail in Southwick. In Westfield the Westfield Riverwalk will cross a future section of the rail trail. This trail travels atop the Levee alongside the Westfield River.
The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is a paved multi-use trail that extends from New Haven, Connecticut to the Massachusetts border. It follows the path of the former Farmington Canal and the New Haven & Northampton Railroad. Currently two sections are mostly complete in Connecticut. The Southern Section runs from New Haven to Southington and the Northern Section is complete for 22 miles from Farmington to the Massachusetts border. See; Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Southern Section & Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Northern Section . In Massachusetts the paved trail continues following the rail bed of the New Haven & Northampton RR along the Southwick Rail Trail & Columbia Greenway Rail Trail in Southwick and Westfield. A gap exists through the towns of Westfield & Southampton before the paved trail continues north through Easthampton and Northampton along the Manhan/New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail . The trail then intersects with the Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck West which travels northwest towards Williamsburg and the Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck East which travels east towards Amherst. For more information See; SOUTHWICK RAIL TRAIL & COLUMBIA GREENWAY RAIL TRAIL .
In 1828, the Farmington Canal opened for excursion boats to take passengers from New Haven to as far as Northampton, Massachusetts. The canal was 86 miles long, 4 feet deep and 36 feet wide. Twenty-eight locks were built in Connecticut to accommodate a 292 foot total drop in elevation along the canal. The canal was never profitable and so by 1848 railroad tracks were being laid along the old canal route. The New Haven & Northampton RR/Canal Line was born, changing ownership over the years until the Boston & Maine Railroad discontinued service along this line. See; NH & NH RR .
Starting from the end of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in CT; The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail ends in Suffield, CT at the MA state line and then continues north along the Southwick Rail Trail. The green mileage marker reads 22 miles (from Simsbury) and the Southwick Rail Trail continues the mileage into MA. The trail travels through an evolving marsh and alongside a stream that originates from Congamond Lake. After about 0.6 miles you'll leave the marsh and encounter a mix of forest, fields and residential hosing. At 1 mile you come alongside the Miller Road parking lot next to a map board. A Porto-Potty is located near-by. The trail then crosses Congamond Rd (Route 168).
Note; To your left is an old general store from the days of the RR that's been converted to a great place to grab some refreshments. Called Red Riding Hoods Basket, check out; RED BASKET for more information. Also, a quick 1/4 mile detour right along Congamond Rd will bring you to Congamond Lake and the Connecticut state line. Use caution as their is only a narrow shoulder along the road.
Continuing north, you cross a bridge over a brook and travel alongside a marsh. You'll travel over a farmers bridge at 2 miles and pass by tobacco fields and barns. The trail then passes by Edgewood Golf Course and travels through a tunnel underneath Point Grove Rd at 3.2 miles. After traveling over a high berm you'll cross over Depot Rd at 3.6 miles and encounter another map board. Next a cross-light over Feeding Hills Rd (Route 57) at 4.4 miles where you'll find another map board and Porto-potty. The trail now travels out in the open between fields before heading back into the woods. You'll cross a culvert over Slab Brook surrounded by nice wood fencing. A slight detour around Sam West Rd (water fountain located here) brings you to a slight down hill grade with another map board in the middle of the woods at 5.9 miles. More wood fencing as you travel along a berm over Kellog Brook and past the Shaker Farms Country Club on your right. The trail crosses the Westfield town line after 6.3 miles and continues as the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail. You pass by the Shaker Road parking lot at 6.4 miles where you'll find an informational board. A cross-light takes you over Shaker Rd along the wide open trail. You'll pass by a spur trail up to Harvest Moon Lane followed by another steep spur trail up to Colony Circle. The trail then crosses over the Little River at 7.4 miles followed by another bridge over S Meadow Rd. A side trail leads down to the S Meadow Road parking lot next to the Little River. Nice open views to your right of the tobacco fields and the Holyoke Range. A berm brings you into Westfield where the trail crosses E Silver St at 8.1 miles. A side trail leads down to E Silver St. Lamps are located along this section which follows a berm through town.
Note; A side trail leads down to Hedges Ave where a tunnel under the trail connects to Ashley St.
You'll come to the current end of the trail at 8.6 miles where a side trail leads down to Main St at 8.7 miles. Future plans call for installing a bridge over Main St in 2016 and continuing the trail through town to the old RR trestle bridge over the Westfield River.
Note; If you would like to extend your trip into Westfield and loop back along the Westfield Riverwalk head left down to Main St. Turn left to a cross-light over Main St and continue left to Route 202. To your left is Park Square (park in the median) which contains a water fountain and gazebo. The old granite Post Office on the corner is now a restaurant. Turn right along Elm St (Route 202). Turn right and head north along Elm St (on-road with no shoulder/narrow sidewalk). Beautiful old brick buildings. Travel underneath an old RR trestle bridge (future rail trail). The road splits with northbound traffic heading right over the Great River Bridge East and the southbound traffic on your left crossing the Great River Bridge West. In between, in the median, is Wojkiewicz Park. Keep right and you'll come to Meadow St. Here you'll find the Westfield Riverwalk parking lot. Follow the wide sidewalk up to the bridge and you'll come to the Westfield Riverwalk after 1.2 miles. [See Below]. Continue over the green iron Great River Bridge East (walkway) with its promenades overlooking the Westfield River. After crossing over the river a cross-walk will take you over northbound Elm St (Routes 10/202) to Half Miles Falls Park in the median. Nice water features and views of the river. Continue across another cross-walk over southbound Elm St (Routes 10/202).
Note; Straight ahead a paved path brings you to an old RR trestle (future rail trail) at about 1.4 miles.
Note; Heading right will take you underneath the active RR to Old Pochassic St. Head left and check out the old brick RR Depot and rail yards.
Heading left a walkway takes you back over the river via the Great River Bridge West. From here you can either head back to the Columbia Greenway via downtown or along the Westfield Riverwalk which crosses the road here. See Below.
Starting from Shepard Street (Whitney Field); From atop the Levee the narrow, stone-dust trail heads east.
Note; Heading west is a hard packed grass trail atop the Levee. It appears to end at Ellsworth St.
The Westfield Riverwalk follows the Levee past Whitney Field and across Sackett St. Here the trail is paved as takes you past a promenade overlooking the Westfield River. You cross the old rail bed at 0.4 miles. This is where the Columbia Greenway will cross the river via the old RR trestle.
Note; As of December 2015 this section was still under construction.
You pass by a second promenade overlooking the river before coming to southbound Elm St (Routes 10/202) where you'll find a cross-walk over to Wojkiewicz Park (located in the median). Travel across this tiny park, then head right to reach another cross-walk over northbound Elm St (Routes 10/202). Head left along the sidewalk and you'll come to the stone-dust path on your right just before the bridge. Continue east atop the Levee passing by the Westfield Riverwalk parking lot. Here the river view is more scenic and the trail a bit wider. Pass by a spur trail down to Park St at 0.8 miles followed by another spur down to Chapman Playground at 1 mile. The trail then turns inland away from the river. You head off the Levee and along Williams Riding Way coming to Meadow St after 1.7 miles.
Note; To loop back to the Columbia Greenway head left on-road along Meadow St out to Main St. Head right along Main St to a cross-walk, then left back to the side trail leading up to the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail after a 0.5 mile on-road loop.
CLICK HERE FOR COLUMBIA GREENWAY RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR SOUTHWICK RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR WESTFIELD RIVERWALK MAP
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