QUABBIN RESERVOIR EAST:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Letterbox Planted: October 2, 2002
Last Updated: August 07, 2023
Length: Old Petersham Road to Dana Common; 1.8 miles
Old Greenwich Dana Road Spur; 2 ½ miles
Old Skinner Hill Road Spur; 1.9 miles
Pottapaug Pond Spur; 1 mile
Difficulty: Old Petersham Road Spur; Easy. Relatively flat, old paved road.
Old Greenwich Dana Road Spur; Moderate. Old paved & gravel road with a slight hill.
Old Skinner Hill Road Spur; Moderate. Old paved & gravel road with a long hill climb.
Pottapaug Pond Spur; Easy. Relatively flat, old broken paved road.
Take exit 63 off of I-90 (Mass Pike) to Route 32 north and continue for about 13 miles to the intersection of Route 32A. Bear left on Route 32A and continue for about 8.5 to 9 miles until you pass first, Gate 41 on your left and then come to a road on your left to a parking area near Gate 40 [Northeastern End].
Quabbin Reservoir is
one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Created
in the 1930s by the construction of two huge earthen dams, the reservoir is fed
by the three branches of the Swift River, and seasonally by the
Ware River. Quabbin Reservoir was built between 1926 and 1939 and
flooded 39 square miles of land. Four towns
were abandoned from the area, including the town of Dana, which is where the Letterbox is hidden. There are foundations left from the
old town, as well as the old roads, which now serve as the biking and hiking
trails. A 60 mile pipeline and aqueduct delivers water to the Boston
area. Because this is MDC land, dogs are not allowed. Portable toilets
are located along the roads because this is part of the watershed. I've
included a Map of the area below, along with other biking and hiking trails at
the reservoir. Use the
Old Petersham Road Spur:
Starting from Gate 40 [Northeastern End]; The trail follows the Old Petersham Road Spur Southwest to Dana Common along an old paved road. The road is relatively flat and in fairly good condition, with some pot holes. Heading up the road you pass by a Porto-Potty and then a wood gate house. After 1 ½ miles, pass a road on your left that takes you a short distance down to the northern tip of Pottapaug Pond. After 1.8 miles you enter the Common of the old town of Dana. A Granite Marker located on the old Common tells its history as a town from 1801 to 1938. If you explore the woods around this area you will see the old foundations of a general store, town hall, schoolhouse, church and 15 room hotel.
For the Letterbox; From the Granite Marker, take a compass reading of 181 degrees and
go to a small paved road that leads into the woods. As you walk down this road,
an old cobblestone foundation will be to your left. At the corner of the old cobblestone
foundation turn left along its back wall through an ivy covered path. When you
reach the cement section of the foundation and a tree growing at its next
corner, take a compass reading of 131 degrees and follow the brick foundation at
your feet to the round stone at the next corner. From here, take a reading of
162 degrees and head to another corner wall, just to the left of another
cobblestone wall. A ten foot capstone is atop this wall and you will notice some
bricks among the wall. Just below these bricks, behind a single stone lies the Dana
At the corner of the old cobblestone foundation turn left along its back wall through an ivy covered path. When you reach the cement section of the foundation and a tree growing at its next corner, take a compass reading of 131 degrees and follow the brick foundation at your feet to the round stone at the next corner. From here, take a reading of 162 degrees and head to another corner wall, just to the left of another cobblestone wall. A ten foot capstone is atop this wall and you will notice some bricks among the wall. Just below these bricks, behind a single stone lies the Dana Common Letterbox.
From the Granite Marker you may access 3 Spur Trails:
The Pottapaug Pond Spur; Road is in the worst shape, but passable. From the Granite Marker take the road to the left of the marker for 0.1 miles and turn left South down another old road. After a mile the road disappears into Pottapaug Pond. Up to your left is a nice Pine forest that makes a good rest stop.
The Old Greenwich Dana Road Spur; Is partly paved and partly gravel with a moderate hill to climb and descend. From the Granite Marker take the road to the left of the marker and go straight Southwest. After a ½ mile there will be a large marsh on your right, which you will eventually cross over and head up a small hill to a clearing where some logging is taking place. You then descend down to the Quabbin Reservoir and reach another Porto-potty after 2 miles. This Porto-potty is actually used for boaters to come ashore to use. If you go down to the waters edge, you'll see a floating marker for the Porto-potty. When we were here, the water level was low and you could see the old stone walls heading out into the Reservoir. Continuing down the road, keep to the right on pavement as you pass a gravel road to your left. After 2½ miles the road disappears into the Reservoir.
The Old Skinner Hill Road Spur; Is also partly paved and partly gravel, but has the smoothest surface. It also is the most strenuous, with a long gradual ascent and then a steep descent down to the reservoir. From the Granite Marker take the road to the right of the marker West. Keep to the paved road as you pass by a gravel road on your right. After a ¼ mile, you begin a mile long, gradual ascent up a hill. After cresting out you descend down the steeper back side of the hill, encountering Dead Mans Curve along the way. Just past this curve is Echo Lane. Give a yell and see for yourself. The road ends after 1.9 miles at Graves Landing, named for a former Conservation Officer. There is a granite marker to your right. The old road continues through the Reservoir, which we could follow for a ways, because of the drought conditions and ends at the water just before reaching Leveau Island. There were a lot of Geese in this part of the Reservoir.
CLICK HERE FOR EAST QUABBIN MAP
CLICK HERE FOR NORTH QUABBIN MAP
CLICK HERE FOR QUABBIN PARK MAP
LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON
APRIL 14, 2020
TO EMAIL A VERIFICATION
BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT