GRAND TRUNK TRAIL:

BRIMFIELD-STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

TROLLEY LINE TRAIL:

BRIMFIELD-STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

LAKE SIOG PASS:

BRIMFIELD-HOLLAND, MASSACHUSETTS

HERITAGE TRAIL:

SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Letterbox Planted:  May 11, 2005

Last Updated:           October 10, 2021

Length:                     Grand Trunk Trail-Sturbridge; 2 miles

                                   Westville Community Trail;1 mile

                                   Westville Community Trail & Grand Trunk Trail-Sturbridge combined;1 mile round trip

                                   Heritage Trail; 1.4 to 1.6 mile Loop

                                    Trolley Line Trail-Sturbridge; 0.5 miles

                                    Trolley Line Trail & Grand Trunk Trail-Brimfield; 2.5 miles. 5.3 mile Loop combined (when bridge is replaced add 0.2 miles one-way)

                                    Lake Siog Pass Trail/Holland Connector; 1.8 miles

                                    Curtis Island Loop; 0.3 miles                           

Difficulty:                 Grand Trunk Trail-Sturbridge; Easy. Mostly flat stone-dust surface.

                                   Westville Community Trail; Moderate. Hilly stone-dust surface.

                                   Heritage Trail; Easy-Moderate. Stone-dust surface & boardwalks with one hill climb.     Loop; Moderate. Narrow hard packed dirt trail has some rocks and roots and hill climb.

                                    Trolley Line Trail-Sturbridge; Easy. Flat rail trail with a stone-dust surface. Short hill up to the dam.

                                    Trolley Line Trail & Grand Trunk Trail-Brimfield; 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.                           

Directions:     

To start from the Westville Dam parking lot in Sturbridge [Eastern End; Grand Trunk, Westville Community & Heritage Trail]; From I-84, take exit 1 and follow signs to Mashapaug Rd. Travel along Mashapaug Rd, which then becomes South St for 3 miles. Just past Westwood Pkwy on your left will be a brown sign for the Westville Dam. Turn left on Marjorie Lane and follow to the entrance and the Westville Dam parking lot.

To start from the Stallion Hill Road parking lot in Sturbridge [Center Eastern Section; Trolley Line Trail]; From I-84 take exit 3B to Route 20 west in Sturbridge. Travel 0.5 miles and turn left on Stallion Hill Rd. Travel 0.4 miles, parking lot on the right. 

To start from the East Brimfield Dam parking lot in Sturbridge [Center Western Section; Trolley Line Trail]; From I-84 take exit 3B to Route 20 west in Sturbridge. Travel 2.4 miles and turn left on Riverview Ave. Follow to parking lot.

To start from the Route 20 parking lot in Brimfield [Western End; Trolley Line & Grand Trunk Trail]; From I-84 take exit 3B to Route 20 west in Sturbridge. Travel 5.7 miles. The parking lot is on the left.

To start from the Pond Bridge Road parking lot in Holland [Southern End; Lake Siog Pass Trail]; From I-84 take exit 3B to Route 20 west in Sturbridge. Travel 3.5 miles to E Brimfield Holland Rd and turn left. After 1.9 miles turn right on Morse Rd. Quickly turn left on Morse Lane, then right on Pond Bridge Rd. The parking lot is on the right before the bridge. 

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. Some called it the "Titanic Railroad" after its founder, Charles Hayes, went down with the Titanic. For more information visit;  TITANIC RAIL TRAIL & GRAND TRUNK TRAIL .

Brimfield Section: 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. 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. 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 Section: The Westville Lake Recreation Area is owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who constructed the Westfield Lake Dam on the Quinebaug River to control flooding and thus created Westville Lake. The park includes athletic fields, a picnic pavilion, grills and a boat launch. The Grand Trunk Trail travels southwest from the top of the Westville Dam along the northern side of the Quinebaug River/Westville Lake, while the Westville Community Trail travels southwest from the top of the Westville Dam along the southern side of the Quinebaug River/Westville Lake. The Heritage Trail travels east from the top of the Westville Dam down to and along the southern side of the Quinebaug River. A short section of the Trolley Line Trail is located in Fiskdale (part of Sturbridge), running from the East Brimfield Dam to Holland Rd Stallion Hill Rd. 

 

STURBRIDGE SECTION:

Grand Trunk, Westville Community & Heritage Trails:

Starting from the Westville Dam parking lot:  

A signboard is located in the parking lot above the dam. From here you can access all 3 trails; Grand Trunk Trail, Westville Community Trail & Heritage Trail. If you start down the Westville Community Trail you can Loop back along the Grand Trunk Trail. The Heritage Trail also Loops back to the parking lot.

1) Heading south along the Westville Community Trail; From the signboard travel through the parking lot to the right of the Army Corps project office past a yellow gate. You head downhill along a crushed gravel trail that passes by an open birding area that includes an Osprey platform (no nest when we were there, however we did spot a Loon). There are informational signs located along the trail. The trail then travels up a slight hill into the woods along a ridge above Westville Lake before coming to a footbridge. Here the trail becomes steep and winding as you make your way down to river level. At 0.7 miles you'll pass a yellow gate, where you head right on-road along Old South St. This takes you across a causeway and over the Quinebaug River past the *Westville Lake parking lot (Map Board). Turn right and follow the path up to the yellow gate and the Grand Trunk Trail. About a mile.

Note; From the Grand Trunk Trail you may head left to its end or  right to Loop back to the top of the dam for a 1.8 mile Loop.  

2) Heading southwest along the Grand Trunk Trail; From the signboard a paved trail slopes down along the backside of the dam to a bridge. Below, the narrow rock channel diverts the water from the lake to the 3 flood gates. Cross the bridge to the northern side of Westville Lake where a flat, stone-dust trail travels alongside the lake. There are informational signs located along the trail. You head into the woods and pass by the Recreation Area with its picnic tables and pavilion on the left. You'll come to a yellow gate at 0.8 miles. On your left is the *Westville Lake parking lot which also includes a Map Board.

Note; You may head left to Loop back to the parking lot along the Westville Community Trail for a 1.8 mile Loop, however, you'll face a steep climb.    

Continuing along the Grand Trunk Trail; Cross Breakneck Rd and pass by a red and white gate. The crushed gravel trail continues, following a ridge with Old Mashapaug Rd below paralleling the trail and the Quinebaug River. Pass through a rock cut followed by a short, white stone marker to your left at 1.5 miles. Just past this marker is a large flat rock and a wooden trail marker where you'll have a view of a concrete spillway in the river. The river is rough below this spillway and calm upstream. Across the trail spot a dirt path. As you travel up this path look right to spot a large moss covered boulder on your right. Go to the backside of this boulder and lift up a flat stone to reveal the Grand Trunk Trail Letterbox. Continuing along the trail, you'll pass through a large rock cut and over a small berm before you come to a sharp turn in the trail. Here you can see the old stone abutments where the rail bed used to cross the river. Now the trail crosses the river just ahead at the Ed Calcutt Bridge, a narrow steel bridge. As you cross over this bridge, look below it to spot an old stone pier foundation. When we were there, a goose was sitting on its nest, protecting its eggs. The trail currently ends after you cross over the bridge at 2.3 miles. Plans call for continuing the trail from the Ed Calcutt Bridge 0.7 miles to River/Farquhar Rd starting in Spring 2022.

3) Heading east along the Heritage Trail; Follow the entrance road out from the Westville Dam parking lot. Pass by a white maintenance building & road on your left before coming to a signboard and trail on the left at 0.2 miles. This is the start of the Heritage Trail. A wide switchback trail leads down to the Quinebaug River. The flat, shaded, stone-dust trail travels right alongside the river with benches and picnic tables along the way. You'll cross several boardwalks, one with a nice viewing platform that abuts the river. If you look across the river you can spot the old field stone embankment. Finally a cement handicap ramp leads you up to the end of the soccer field. Here, an informative signboard detail the history of the area. The trail ends at a small parking area just below West Street School where you'll find a Map Board and Porto-potty at 0.7 miles. Head left up the paved road to the school entrance road and turn right. This will bring you to the front of West Street School.

From here you have two options. If hiking or mountain biking I would suggest Option A. If  biking, Option B.

Option A; Take the paved path in front of the school right around the side of the building. To the left of the tennis courts will be a map board. A grass trail takes you alongside the tennis courts, past a trail marker, over a wooden bridge and along a hard packed dirt trail into the woods. The hilly, rough trail (stones and roots) travels along the ridge. You'll rejoin the switch-back trail mid point at 1.1 miles. Head left back up to the dam entrance rd, then right back to the **Westville Dam parking lot for a 1.4 mile Loop.

Option B; Head left out to West St, turn right and travel up a short hill either on-road or using the narrow sidewalk. Turn right on South St and then right again on Marjorie Lane, where a brown sign for the Westville Lake Dam indicates the entrance. This will bring you back to the **Westville Dam parking lot for a 1.6 mile Loop.

Trolley Line Trail:

Starting from the Holland Road parking area; Travel past the yellow gate along the crushed gravel Trolley Line Trail. This is part of the old Trolley Line rail bed. 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 0.3 miles 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. 

 

BRIMFIELD SECTION:

Trolley Line & Grand Trunk Trails:

Starting from the Route 20 parking lot in Brimfield [Western End; Trolley Line & Grand Trunk Trail]; Map Board. The Trolley Line Trail is complete the whole way east. On your return trip (west) you can access portions of the Grand Trunk Trail which is not complete, so you'll still utilize portions of the Trolley Line Trail. See Map Below.

Note; Heading west future plans call for extending the trail to New Holland Rd along the old rail bed.

The wide, stone-dust Trolley Line 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. Thick marsh along your right. Wood posts mark the Trolley Line Trail vs. Grand Trunk Trail. Short sections 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. 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; Future plans call for rebuilding the old RR bridge across the river to connect with the east side of the Trolley Line TrailNo construction as of Oct 2021. The east side of the stone-dust Trolley Line Trail utilizes the old rail bed from both the Grand Trunk Trail and Trolley Line. After another 0.2 miles the trail ends at the E Brimfield Road parking area.

 

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 Quinebaug River. This hard packed dirt, sand and crushed gravel trail follows the old rail bed west, below the Trolley Line Trail. The trail surface is a bit 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 3.9 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 5.3 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 0.3 miles.

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 in Holland after 1.8 miles. Her you'll find the Pond Bridge Road parking lot a Map Board and Porto-Potty, along with, the start of the Quinebaug River Canoe Trail.   

HH

CLICK HERE FOR GRAND TRUNK TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR HERITAGE TRAIL MAP

 

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OCTOBER 10, 2021

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