WHITING STREET RESERVOIR LETTERBOX:

HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Planted:               April 3, 2008

Length:                Loop Trail from Mt. Park Road; 4 miles

                             Whiting Street Reservoir parking area to Letterbox; 0.6 miles

Difficulty:           Moderate for kids biking. Stone-dust trail with a few small hills.                            

Directions:

Take exit 17 off of I-91 to Route 141. 

To start from the Mt. Park Road parking area; Head east on Route 141to Route 5. Turn left onto Route 5 north and keep an eye out for Mt Park Rd which will be on your left. Take Mt. Park Rd over I-91 and park by the gate on your left, which is the access road to the reservoir.

To start from the Whiting Street Reservoir parking area; Head west on Route 141. Just after you pass the entrance for the Wyckoff Golf Course, take a left onto Old Easthampton Rd. I didn't see a street sign for it however. Park near the "East Mt. Wildlife Area'" sign. To your right will be two stone pillars. Pass through these old pillars and you'll come to Route 141. Across "busy" Route 141 is the entrance to the reservoir via the old Whiting Street Reservoir road. This stone-dust road takes you a mile down to the reservoir loop trail, where you head right. See clues. Note; To reach the reservoir trail, you travel downhill a mile, which means you must return back uphill a mile. Not recommended for kids on bikes.

In constructing the Whiting Street Reservoir in the 1890's, the City of Holyoke turns 5000 acres on Mount Tom into protected watershed. In 1895, work begins on Mountain Park, a "trolley park" at the base of Mount Tom. It is to be operated by the Holyoke Street Railway Company In 1897 the Holyoke Street Railway Company opens up the Mountain Park amusement park as well as their house on the summit of Mount Tom. The summit house features a restaurant, constant entertainment, and a spectacular view. The project changed hands several times until its closure in 1988 when competition from larger amusement parks gradually sapped business away what had become affectionately known by locals as "The Queen of the Mountain." Remnants of the park are still visible today. For more information concerning the history of Mount Tom Reservation visit; MOUNT TOM RESERVATION . Another trail runs from the Mt. Park Rd parking lot up to the summit of Mount Tom. See; Mount Tom Railroad Trail .

Starting from the Mt. Park Road parking area; Travel past the black gate and up the paved road. This will bring you to the iron gates and the entrance to the reservoir. This is also where the mileage markers begin (every mile). Note; I started measuring from the parking area. The trail (still paved for a short distance) heads briefly downhill and through the woods. You'll cross over a cement lined canal and come to the reservoir trail after 0.4 miles. This is about the only open area along the trail. The rest is wooded and very shaded. In front of you are some stairs that lead up to a brick building on top of the dam. Worth the climb to check out the views of the reservoir and Mount Tom. Heading right takes you around the northern end of the reservoir at 1 mile. Your now traveling along the west side of the reservoir. You'll come right alongside the reservoir at 1.8 miles. At 2 miles, you come to the southern end of the reservoir and a fork in the trail.

Note; Right takes you a mile uphill to the Whiting Street Reservoir parking area.

Head left back along the eastern side of the reservoir. You'll cross over Whiting Street Brook and spot the Wyckoff Golf Course along your right side. Notice that the terrain on your right starts out flat, then rises along a boulder filled knoll. This is about the 2.7 mile mark. Look for the boulders that are closest to the trail. Just to their left will be 2 trees side by side. From these trees spot 2 more trees side by side just to their left and farther back. One will be a hardwood and the other a Hemlock tree with a rock next to them. Again, from these trees spot a 3-trunked tree just to their left and farther back. On their right is a pile of boulders. Go to the lowest boulder, ground level and remove a small rock just under the ledge. Behind this rock is the WHITING STREET RESERVOIR LETTERBOX. Continue along the trail until you come to the dam. After crossing over the spillway, you'll come back to the brick house on top of the dam. Just head right to return to the Mt Park Road parking area. About a 4 mile round trip.

HH

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LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED

OCTOBER 13, 2014

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letterbox@snet.net 

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

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