MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL:
NEW BRAINTREE-HARDWICK, MASSACHUSETTS
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: October 31, 2015
Length: New Braintree-Hardwick section; 2.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, hard packed dirt, grass & cinder rail trail with some stone-dust.
Starting from West Rd parking lot in New Braintree; From the junction of Routes 32A &32 in Gilbertville head north on Route 32. Turn right on Hardwick Rd (across from Barre Rd as I saw no street sign) just before the town of Wheelwright. Take your next right on West Rd. The trailhead is on your right. You can park to your left in front of the Historical marker.
The Mass Central Rail Trail is a planned 104 mile trail from Northampton Massachusetts to Boston. It will follow the old Central Mass Branch of the Boston & Maine RR that ran between the two cities. The railroad was abandoned in 1938 after the 38 hurricane shattered the line. The trail today exists in many unconnected sections and with differing surfaces. Some sections that are complete include the Norwottuck West Rail Trail , Norwottuck East/Mass Central Rail Trail; Amherst-Northampton and Mass Central Rail Trail; Belchertown in the towns of Northampton, Hadley, Amherst & Belchertown to the west of here. East of here are the Mass Central Rail Trail; Barre-Rutland , Mass Central Rail Trail; Holden-West Boylston & Mass Central Rail Trail; Sterling in the towns of Barre, Oakham, Rutland, Holden, West Boylston and Sterling. For more information check out; EAST QUABBIN LAND TRUST ,MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL , WACHUSETT GREENWAY or EAST COAST GREENWAY . You can also visit two other nearby rail trails. The Ware River Rail Trail in Oakham/Coldbrook Springs is an undeveloped, but cleared rail trail of hard packed dirt & gravel accessed off of Route 122 via Old Worchester Rd. The Chickadee Trail in Belchertown runs along the old Boston & Albany RR-Athol Branch rail bed. This is also an undeveloped trail consisting of hard packed dirt & cinder.
From the West Road parking area; The site of the old New Braintree Train Station was just across West Rd. A large stone historical marker has been erected next to the road along with a trail kiosk.
Heading Northwest; Cross Hardwick Rd. The rail trail starts out with a stone-dust surface as it follows a berm past a marsh and enters the woods. Cross an old RR trestle bridge over the Ware River at 0.4 miles. Picnic table located here. The trail then reverts to hard packed dirt, grass and cinder. It currently ends at Maple St after 0.9 miles.
Heading Southeast; Cross West Rd. The rail trail starts out with a stone-dust surface as you travel through a Pine tree forest. After traveling along a short berm you cross the Ware River on an old RR Trestle bridge at 0.7 miles. Picnic table located here. The trail surface turns to hard packed dirt & cinder. You cross over a second bridge and travel within view of an active RR line to your right. After crossing over a third bridge at 1.3 miles you'll pass by an old RR rail holder and RR Mileage marker reading N36/B68 (Northampton 36 miles/Boston 68 miles) as you enter a cut. The trail then ends after 1.8 miles at Creamery Rd in Hardwick.
Note; The town of Ware is working towards improving two sections of the Mass Central Rail Trail that travel through town. A 1.7 mile section from Gibbs Crossing (Lowes/Wal-Mart) heading north and a 3.5 mile section between Ware & Gilbertville. They are currently focusing on the Gibbs Crossing section.
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CLICK HERE FOR MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR OLD RR MAP
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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT