QUINEBAUG VALLEY RAIL TRAIL:
QUINEBAUG RIVER RAIL TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: June 19, 2021
Length: Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail; Sandersdale section of Southbridge; 0.2 miles
Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail; 1.4 miles.
Quinebaug River Rail Trail West Section; 2.7 miles
Quinebaug River Rail Trail East Section; 1.4 miles
Webster Riverwalk; 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail; Sandersdale section; Easy. Paved trail.
Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail/Quinebaug River Rail Trail West Section; Easy-Moderate. Flat rail trail with multiple surfaces. Hard packed dirt, cinder, stone-dust, gravel and grass.
Quinebaug River Rail Trail East Section; South Section; Easy. Flat, cinder rail trail. North Section; Moderate. Flat, hard packed dirt & grass rail trail.
Webster Riverwalk; Easy. Paved trail.
For the Quinebaug River Rail Trail; West Section & Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail; From Route 131 in Southbridge, continue southeast on Route 131 passing the Route 169 south turnoff (Here you'll find the paved section of trail). Continue southeast on Route 131 into Dudley. Just after you cross over the Quinebaug River, take a left on Mill Rd. The Mill Road parking lot will be along your right.
For the Quinebaug River Rail Trail East Section; From the junction of Routes 12 & 197 in Webster travel south on Route 12 for 0.8 miles to the parking lot on your left where the trail crosses the road.
For the Webster Riverwalk; From the junction of Routes 12 & 197 in Webster travel north on Route 12. Cross the river and come to some RR tracks. Turn left past the tracks on Davis St and park by the old train cars.
The Quinebaug River Rail Trail & Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail follows the rail bed of the former Southbridge & Blackstone Railroad, which had been providing connecting rail service to Boston from 1857 to 1921 and Freight services from 1857 to 1997. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the Southbridge spur from the Providence & Worcester Railroad in 2004 to establish a community based Rail Trail system through Southbridge, Dudley, and Webster, Massachusetts. The Commonwealth had left an option open for the State of Connecticut to purchase the 3.3 miles through Thompson, Connecticut and thus creating a possible 13 ½ mile rail trail, but the trail does not currently exist in CT. The Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail & Quinebaug River Rail Trail; West Section are connected from Southbridge to West Dudley. The Quinebaug River Rail Trail; East Section travels from the CT border north through Dudley to Webster. In Webster you can check out the short Webster Riverwalk. For more information visit; QUINEBAUG RIVER RAIL TRAIL & WEBSTER RIVERWALK .
Quinebaug River Rail Trail; West Section & Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail:
Starting from the Mill Road parking lot in West Dudley for the Quinebaug River Rail Trail; West Section [Southern End]; A Map Board is located in the parking lot.
Note; Heading southeast, the stone-dust Quinebaug River Rail Trail; West Section travels 0.3 miles through a wooded, residential corridor before terminating at the Connecticut border. Look left to spot the granite 1906 border post.
Note; The portion of the old rail bed in CT has not been developed, creating a 3.3 mile gap to the Quinebaug River Rail Trail; East Section back in MA. The rail bed looks like a horseshoe in CT.
From the Mill Road parking lot; Heading northwest across Mill Rd past the yellow gate, the flat, cinder Quinebaug River Rail Trail; West Section briefly follows the old rail bed for a 1/4 mile. You'll need to utilize the dirt road for a bit as the next section of rail bed has not been developed. Road splits off left at 0.5 miles. Continue straight along the hard packed dirt rail trail as it travels alongside a ridge with fields below. After emerging from the woods you again parallel the rail bed which still has the old RR ties. The road splits right as you continue straight back along the rail trail into the woods. You hit a section of rough trap rock at 1.6 miles before coming to the Quinebaug River after 1.9 miles where the rail trail currently ends next to an old RR bridge. To your right is a bridge (West Dudley Rd) over the river. Retrace the trail back to a dirt side path that will take you out to W Dudley Rd. Then head left across the W Dudley Rd bridge. Turn right past the sign for the trail and you'll come to the West Dudley Road parking lot. A boat launch for the QUINEBAUG RIVER WATER TRAIL is located here along with a picnic table and Map Board. The rail trail continues straight alongside the Quinebaug River Reservoir. You follow the hard packed cinder & grass trail along a berm between the river and wetlands before re-entering the woods at 2.4 miles and crossing into Southbridge. Here the trail continues as the Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail. This section is a bit mucky in spots. Cross a bridge at 3 miles and you'll soon be traveling alongside the Quinebaug River. Cross a second bridge at 3.5 miles where you'll soon run into a section of trap rock which makes biking difficult. Come to Sandersdale Rd (Route 131) in the Sandersdale section of Southbridge where the RR tracks are still embedded in the road and the trail currently ends after 4.1 miles.
Note; Future plans call for continuing the trail north (As of 2020, no development) and connecting to a short paved section that follows alongside Sandersdale Rd for 0.2 miles (Routes 131 & 169). The undeveloped rail bed then continues north into Southbridge.
Quinebaug River Rail Trail; East Section:
Starting from the Route 12 parking lot in Dudley; A Map Board is located here.
Heading North; The hard packed dirt, gravel & grass Quinebaug River Rail Trail; East Section travels north through the woods along Potash Brook. Cross a bridge over the French River and come to the Webster Sewer Treatment plant road after 0.3 miles in Webster where the trail ends. The old RR tracks cross the road and enter the woods but join an active RR line.
Heading South; The hard packed dirt, gravel & grass Quinebaug River Rail Trail; East Section travels south into the woods along a residential corridor. Cross Carpenter Rd at 0.4 miles. Here the trail is more isolated with a smoother cinder base as it follows a small berm. Come to a Map Board and connection to Blue Heron Rd at 0.9 miles. Cross a small bridge over a brook and come to a yellow post after 1 miles. This is the CT border and end of trail. Rail ties still in place in CT.
Starting from the Davis Street parking lot in Webster; An active RR line is just behind a series of old train cars. Head past the train cars along Davis Rd (low traffic) and come to a parking lot just past a building on your left. Head left through the parking lot to the cement Webster Riverwalk next to the French River. Informational signs and seats overlooking the river. Train bridge crosses the river to your left. Continue along the river to a gazebo with more informational boards. Travel right back to Davis St and head left to another parking lot. Here a narrow paved trail travels through French River Park back to the river. Canoe launch. Continue right past picnic tables and you'll come to a wide paved trail.
Note; The narrow paved trail loops right around the park.
Head left along the wide paved trail. Overlooks of the river. This paved trail quickly ends, but continues along a gravel base (This section is scheduled to be paved) to Peter St after 0.5 miles.
Note; A future phase will continue the trail out to S Main St. See; WEBSTER RIVERWALK . Long term plans call for creating the French River Greenway, which would connect the Quinebaug River Rail Trail; East Section to the Midstate Trail. See; FRENCH RIVER GREENWAY .
CLICK HERE FOR QUINEBAUG VALLEY RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR QUINEBAUG RIVER RAIL TRAIL WEST MAP
CLICK HERE FOR QUINEBAUG RIVER RAIL TRAIL EAST MAP
CLICK HERE FOR WEBSTER RIVERWALK MAP
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