PHOENIX BIKE TRAIL;
MATTAPOISETT RAIL TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: May 13, 2023
Length: Phoenix Bike Trail; 3.3 miles
Mattapoisett Rail Trail; 2.6 miles total.
Little Bay Overlook Spur Trail; 0.7 miles.
On-road Route to the New Bedford Blue Lane; 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, paved rail trail. Mattapoisett has a couple of boardwalk sections.
From I-195, take exit 29 to Route 240 south to Route 6.
To start from the Main/Ferry Street parking lot in Fairhaven [Western End]; Take a right onto Route 6 west and travel 1 ½ miles. Turn left down Main St (before the bridge) and go about a ½ mile to South St, where the trail begins to your left. There is a parking lot to your right directly across from the trail. To park at Fort Phoenix, turn left on South St and then right down Fort St, straight into Fort Phoenix State Beach.
To start from the Arsene Street parking lot in Fairhaven [Center Section]; Take a left onto Route 6 east, then your second right onto Arsene St. Just before you cross the trail, a parking lot will be on your left.
To start from the Brandt Island Road parking lot in Mattapoisett [Eastern End]; Take a left onto Route 6 east and travel 2.3 miles to Brandt Island Rd on your right. Travel south and just past the trailhead is parking.
From I-195, take exit 31A south to North St.
To Start from the Industrial Drive parking lot in Mattapoisett [Northeastern End]; Take your first left onto Industrial Drive. At the end of the road will be the parking lot.
To Start from the Railroad Ave parking lot in Mattapoisett [Eastern End]; Travel south along North St to Route 6 and turn right. Travel less the 0.5 miles and turn left on Railroad Ave. Parking lot at end of road.
The Phoenix Bike Trail and Mattapoisett Rail Trail follow the rail bed of the old Fairhaven Branch Railroad which operated between the Cape Cod Branch Railroad in Wareham and a ferry that linked New Bedford. It later incorporated with the Old Colony Railroad and then the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The Phoenix Bike Trail travels through Fairhaven and becomes the Mattapoisett Rail Trail in Mattapoisett. Future segments will continue the trail through Mattapoisett, Marion & Wareham. You can also connect to the New Bedford Blue Lane , a series of interconnected trails in nearby New Bedford via the JFK Blvd Bike Path. For more information visit; MATTAPOISETT RAIL TRAIL & WAREHAM COMMUNITY PATHWAY .
The Phoenix Bike Trail and Mattapoisett Rail Trail are part of the larger South Coast Bikeway , a planned 50-mile continuous system of bike paths and bike lanes that will connect Rhode Island to Cape Cod. Cities and towns included in this plan are Swansea, Somerset, Fall River, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham and Bourne. Several segments of the bikeway already exist in Swansea, Fall River, New Bedford, Fairhaven and Mattapoisett.
PHOENIX BIKE TRAIL:
Starting from the Main/Ferry Street parking lot in Fairhaven [Western End]; The paved Phoenix Bike Trail starts across Main St.
Note; To access the New Bedford Blue Lane in New Bedford head out of the rear of the parking lot left along Ferry St to Water St and travel north on-road (low volume traffic). Bear right on Washington St, then left along Middle St. This will bring you to Route 6 after 0.7 miles. Head left along the sidewalk (If you cross over Route 6 you'll have to cross back after the river where there is no cross-walk, only a steep staircase down to MacArthur Blvd). Cross the Fairhaven Bridge to Popes Island (Prince Henry the Navigator Park) and over the Draw Bridge to Fish Island before crossing into New Bedford. Bear left off Route 6 and you'll come to a wide red bricked lined trail at 1.6 miles. Follow this south between JFK Blvd (Route 18) and MacArthur Dr. This brings you to the intersection of Union St at 1.8 miles where you can access the JFK Blvd Path. Right leads to the JFK Blvd Path and historic New Bedford, left to the State Pier Maritime Terminal and Coast Guard Park. See; New Bedford Blue Lane .
The Phoenix Bike Trail
travels alongside Willow Park
(location of the old 1771 burial ground), a small bench lined
track of land and parallels South St. The first street
crossing you contend with is Fort St.
Note; Taking a right down this residential street for a ½ mile brings you to Fort Phoenix State Beach. Here, a public parking lot, pavilion, restroom and beach reside to your left, while the remnants of Fort Phoenix reside to your right. The earthen fort contains cannons overlooking Buzzards Bay. There is also a hurricane barrier that you may ride halfway out to where the boats enter New Bedford Harbor. For more information visit; FORT PHOENIX STATE RESERVATION .
Continuing east along the bike path, there are numerous street crossings along this more urban section of the trail. Once you cross Pleasant St the crossings become less frequent. Mileage Markers are painted on the trail every 0.25 mile. Once you cross Egypt Lane at 0.7 miles, the scenery gets greener, with marshes and views of the bay. Just past the eastern edge of the hurricane barrier the trail travels alongside David Drown Blvd before crossing Sconticut Neck Rd at 1.3 miles. You'll come to the Arsene Street parking lot at 1.6 miles. Map Board located here.
Note; The Little Bay Overlook Spur Trail starts from here. It starts off traveling south along Arsene St, then heads into the woods behind the Water Treatment Plant following the old Arsene St road? The trail winds through the woods which soon turn to shrub land. After passing by an old parking lot with a couple of picnic tables to your right you'll come to a narrow paved path on your left. This leads to a scenic overlook of Little Bay after 0.7 miles. If you continue straight along the old road you would come out onto Orchard St at 0.9 miles.
Next you pass through a saltwater estuary that provides you with a nice view of Little Bay & over Nasketucket River. Just past the 2 mile mark, you cross over Weeden Rd as the trail passes through a residential corridor. After crossing Shaw Rd you'll come to the Mattapoisett town line and start of the Mattapoisett Rail Trail at 3.3 miles.
MATTAPOISETT RAIL TRAIL:
[Continuing Mileage] The paved Mattapoisett Rail Trail heads straight into deep woods paralleling some power lines along the right. Cross Brandt Island Road where you'll find a small parking lot at 3.6 miles. You lose the power lines as you cross Swift Brook before coming to Mattapoisett Neck Rd at 4 miles. Continue through the woods and you'll quickly come to a long bridge that takes you over the "Shining Seas" salt marsh along a causeway. This section is the "Highlight" of the trail. The trail turns left at 4.3 miles.
Note; Spur Trail down to the Mattapoisett YMCA.
The trail now follows a wide boardwalk out past a golf course to Reservation Rd at 4.6 miles. Follow the paved trail right alongside the road before it continues left along the old rail bed.
Note; Small beach located here.
Eel Pond Salt Marsh along your left. Another boardwalk section as you travel alongside Mattapoisett Harbor. Just before the boardwalk ends a spur leads down to a beach. Come to a circle at 4.9 miles where the trail follows the limited access Goodspeed Island Rd. Cross another causeway with Eel Pond on your left. Come to the intersection of Depot St & Railroad Ave at 5.2 miles. Railroad Ave parking lot on your left. If you continue on-road along Railroad Ave you'll come to Route 6 at 5.3 miles.
Note; The old rail bed continues across the road. Phase 2A is under design in 2023 and will be developed in the future, creating a current gap to the next section north of here. See; Industrial Drive Section Below.
Industrial Drive Section:
Starting from North St & Industrial Drive [Western End]; The old rail bed came in from the west across North St but has been gobbled up by the interstate exchange. Traveling east on-road [BIKE SHARROWS] (low traffic/industrial area) along Industrial Drive (rail bed followed this route) you'll come to the Industrial Drive parking lot after 1 mile.
Note; Not sure if the plan is to develop a separate paved trail alongside this road.
Starting from the Industrial Drive parking lot; Kiosk. The wide paved Mattapoisett Rail Trail follows a power line along an open, wooded corridor. At 0.4 miles look left to spot an old granite RR Mileage Marker (looks like the #53) in the tall weeds. After 0.6 miles the trail ends at the Marion town line where the old rail bed continues.
Note; Phase 1 of the Marion section is supposed to begin construction in 2023.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOENIX BIKE TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR MATTAPOISETT RAIL TRAIL MAP
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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT