routes report home page
Table of Contents
Previous: The Mt. Tom Link
Northampton - Greenfield - Sunderland Loop
Cue sheet northbound | Cue sheet southbound
This is the flattest segment in the entire system of routes. Traffic is light to moderate, except for a short stretch through Greenfield, but this is in any case on city streets where traffic speeds are low.
The route begins at the Northampton bicycle path, and should attract riders who are perhaps not hard-bitten bicycle tourists, but who are willing to venture beyond the core route which is mostly on bicycle paths. Heading north, the route crosses to the east of Interstate 91 into parts of Hadley and Whately which lie between that highway and the Connecticut River. Since the route follows the river for the next several miles, it is almost completely flat here. There are moderate elevation changes over the balance of the route through Deerfield and into Greenfield.
Major points of interest are Old Deerfield Village, with its historic home tours, and two scenic overlooks, if riders choose to climb them. The first is Mt. Sugarloaf in Deerfield; this is presented in the route plan as an optional side trip. The second is the Poet's Seat in Greenfield, which is presented as part of the through route, with an optional bypass route. Either of these overlooks offers commanding views of the Connecticut Valley.
Maintenance issues are the same as on most of the routes of the system: traffic is light to moderate now, but if it increases substantially, the roads would need be widened. In Greenfield, alternate routes to the Poet's Seat overlook could avoid the center of the city. An alternate route, however, would be far more confusing than the one suggested. The alternate route could be developed as long as the city could be enlisted to designate and sign it well enough that nobody could get lost.
Warning signs might be posted on the descent from Mount Sugarloaf, which is very steep.