MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL; BELCHERTOWN:

CHICKADEE TRAIL:

BELCHERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

 

MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL; BELCHERTOWN:

Last Updated:      April 14, 2012

Length:                 Mass Central Rail Trail; 4.2 miles.

Difficulty:            Easy. Partially developed, flat, hard packed dirt & cinder rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Maple Street; From the junction of Routes 181 & 202 in Belchertown travel west on Route 202. You'll pass the Piper Farm parking lot on your left (you may also park here, however it's a bit downhill to reach the trail from here) and come to Maple St on your right just before the bridge over the RR tracks. Follow Maple St down to a dirt road next to the active RR tracks. The rail trail travels through here. Park at the Piper Farm parking lot if you don't feel comfortable parking here.

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 split into two after the1938 hurricane shattered the line. The trail today exists in many unconnected sections and with differing surfaces. Starting from Northampton heading east the sections that are complete include the Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck Branch, Mass Central Rail Trail: Belchertown , Mass Central Rail Trail; Ware-Hardwick- New Braintree , Mass Central Rail Trail; Barre-Clinton , Mass Central Rail Trail; Wayland-Weston & Mass Central Rail Trail; Boston-Cambridge . For more information check out;  MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL & EAST COAST GREENWAY . Also located in Belchertown is the Chickadee Trail .

In Northampton the Mass Central Rail Trail is a "Spoke" for 3 Trails.

  In Cambridge at Alewife T- Station, a stop on the commuter rail line into Boston is a Hub for 5 Trails (plus interconnecting Trails). 

From the end of Maple Street; Straight ahead will be the active RR tracks and to your left an old drive-on scale.

Note; To your right you'll see an opening in the brush and a trail marker where the trail travels north another 0.4 miles to Jackson St. Hopefully in the future they will connect into the Mass Central Rail Trail; Norwottuck East just north of here in Amherst.

Heading south the hard packed dirt & cinder Mass Central Rail Trail follows alongside the active RR tracks underneath Route 202. This will bring you to a RR crossing. Bear left to a dirt road and follow it south paralleling the RR tracks. Orange arrows are posted along the trail for guidance. Cross Old Springfield Rd after 0.6 miles where you'll see a sign that says "3.2 miles to Route 181". Continue south through the woods along the hard packed dirt & cinder rail bed alongside the RR tracks before the trail takes you down to North Washington St. Use Caution crossing the street as there is a bridge and blind curve. I haven't checked out this next section. Head up the embankment and bear right back up along the tracks (look for arrows). The trail travels through heavy woods, pulling away from the active RR. You cross Jabish Brook before coming to Route 181 after 4.2 miles. I'm not sure if the trail continues across the road?

CHICKADEE TRAIL:

Last Updated:       April 14, 2012

Length:                 Chickadee Trail; 2.3 miles

Difficulty:             Moderate. Flat hard packed dirt, sand, cinder rail trail. Unimproved.

Directions:     

To Start from the Depot Street (Route 181) parking lot; From I-90 take Exit 8 to Route 32 and turn right. Continue straight on Route 20 west and follow to the intersection with Route 181. Follow Route 181 north to Bondsville. Turn left over the river on Depot St (Route 181) and on your right will be the dirt parking lot next to the river.   

The Chickadee Trail follows the rail bed of the old Boston & Albany RR-Athol Branch and travels north along the Swift River. You can still see the bridge abutments where the old Central Mass Branch of the Boston & Maine RR crossed high above both the river and tracks. 

Starting from Depot Street; The Chickadee Trail travel north past the gate and alongside the Swift River. Travel past some old mill building remnants and an old RR siding bridge at a 1/4 mile. At a 1/2 mile you'll see the old stone bridge abutments on both sides of the river from where the old Central Mass Branch of the Boston & Maine RR crossed the river & rail bed. After passing by a small dam on the river the trail enters a small rock cut, which, after heavy rains becomes a mud hole. The trail improves after the cut although some obvious ATV use has left some rutting. The trail then ends after 2.3 miles at the Cold Spring Road parking lot.  

HH

CLICK HERE FOR BELCHERTOWN LAND TRUST MAP

CLICK HERE FOR MASS CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR CHICKADEE TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR OLD MASS CENTRAL RR MAP

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

HOME PAGE