Bikeways and Trails
[Massachusetts Bikeways] [Boston (Future)] [Metro Boston (Future)]
[Northeastern Mass. (Future)] [Southeastern Mass. (Future)] [Central Mass. (Future)] [Western Mass. (Future)] [Cape Cod and the Islands] [Bikeways Elsewhere] [Display with frames]

Central Mass. Bikeways and Trails

Southern New England Trunkline Trail
This 20-mile-long, multiple-use, unpaved trail runs between the Franklin and Douglas State Forests. It connects to other trails in Connecticut and Rhode Island and is recognized as a National Recreational Trail. It is owned and maintained by the D.E.M.
Worcester Bike Trails
Biking & Hiking Worcester, a map published in 1999 by the City of Worcester, shows existing and proposed bike routes which will eventually connect most of the greenspace in the city. to the Blackstone River Heritage Park. Half of the routes are complete. Paths go through Green Hill and Hadwien Parks. For further information, contact the Worcester Office of Planning and Community Development at (508)799-1400.
Massachusetts Central Rail Trail
This path is being promoted by Wachusett Greenways, The first stone-dust-surfaced 1-1/3-mile segment runs westward from Oakdale to just short of I-190 and opened in October 1997. It was built by the town of West Boylston with a grant from the DEM Greenways Program, and materials from DEM. Eventually the trail will be 30 miles long between Sterling and Oakham/Barre. The 104-mile long Central Massachusetts rail line originally ran from Boston to Northampton. The eastern end includes the Fitchburg Cutoff in Cambridge and the Wayside Rail Trail from Belmont to Berlin, and an interesting, privately-owned possibility between Berlin and the Wachusett Reservoir. To the west, it goes south of the Quabbin Reservoir, through Ware, Palmer, and Belchertown, becoming to the Norwottuck Trail between Amherst and Northampton.
Nashua River Rail Trail [Map] [Photos]
In the north central part of the Commonwealth, a 11-mile-long trail is being built along the Hollis Branch, a corridor running from Ayer to Dunstable through Groton and Pepperell. This path will have a 12-foot paved cyclist/skater trail, and a parallel 6-foot wide equestrian/pedestrian trail, separated by a 10-foot median. Final plans were completed in September 1997, and construction by the MHD finally began in the spring of 2001, with the first half completed by the end of that year. By fall of 2002, the entire trail has been paved. Danny O'Brien (727-3160 x557) is the DEM contact.
North Central Pathway
This mile of paved bike path in Gardner starts at the Veterans Memorial Skating Rink parking lot (corner of Park St. & Central St. (Rt. 101)), and travels north along Crystal Lake ending at the edge of the Gardner Municipal Golf Course on Green St. There is a paved parking lot on the Green St. end (across from Mt. Wachusett Community College). There is a proposal to extend the trail in 2 directions from Green St. One spur would go over to the Heritage State Park at Dunn's Pond on Rt. 101 in Gardner. A longer spur is proposed to travel north into Winchendon along an old rail bed which continues on into New Hampshire.
As of the summer of 2004, it looks like this trail has reached Route 140 from Winchendon, and there is supposed to be another piece done in Gardner. Eventually the trail will link downtown Gardner to downtown Winchendon, for a total length of 12-16 miles (depending on the source of the information).
Ware River Rail-Trail
This unpaved state-owned trail is open for public use from Coldbrook to Baldwinville. An on-road detour is necessary through the village of Baldwinville, but the right-of-way is open for public use on an informal basis from the outskirts of Baldwinville to the outskirts of Winchendon, except where it is blocked by the Route 2 embankment 0.9 miles north of Templeton. Two rights-of-way extend into New Hampshire from Winchendon, making this trail a key link in an extensive network of interstate trails.

Future Central Mass. Bikeways and Trails

Belchertown Rail Trail
This 13-mile eastward extension of the Norwottuck Trail began its initial design phase with ISTEA funding. Lewis Louraine of the Belchertown Rail Trail Committee can provide further information. At a meeting on November 17, 1997, the town conducted a straw poll which defeated this 5.52 mile extension of the Norwottuck Rail Trail, despite suppport from the 800-member-strong Friends of the Belchertown Rail Trail.
Blackstone River Heritage Park (map)
The Blackstone Valley Bikeway is a proposed recreational and commuting facility through the Blackstone River Valley. It will use both on- and off-road routes in transportation corridors established by the historic Blackstone Canal and by railroads, both active and long since abandoned. It will connect the City of Worcester with the Town of Blackstone, passing through Millbury, Sutton, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge and Millville. At the state line in Blackstone it will connect with the Rhode Island Blackstone River Bikeway (a 19-mile designed bike route terminating in the City of Providence). The bike route in both states will link together urban areas, mill villages, state parks and historic sites in the nationally recognized Blackstone River Valley Heritage Corridor, as both an alternate transportation route and linear park.

Preliminary design for the bikeway, including the identification of a preferred alingment, will be complete by September 1996. With available funding, final design for the project would follow the completion of the current study and construction would follow completion of final design. Construction of the bikeway would occur in segments.

Fitchburg-Leominster Bikepath
This proposed 4.2-mile rail trail would run along Route 12 between the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster. A Friends of the Rail Trail group has been formed to support the creation of this rail trail. The group would like to locate the trail along the former railroad bed currently owned by CSX Railroad. The group, in collaboration with both the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster, has begun negotiation efforts with the railroad in order to purchase the land. Funding for land purchase and some design work might be in the federal TEA-21 extension.
Hardwick Bike Path
This path could be built on an approximately 4.8-mile abandoned rail bed stretching from the village of Gilbertville to the village of Wheelwright, both sections of Hardwick. Much of the trail would run along the Ware River. The trail could eventually continue into New Braintree and Barre to connect with the "a href="masscentral">Mass. Central Rail Trail, which will eventually connect Boston to the Pioneer Valley. TEA-21 extension funding would allow for the design and construction of the Hardwick path.
Quinebaug Valley Trail
This 10.8-mile trail on the former Providence and Worcester railroad line links Southbridge, Dudley, and Webster, as well as a Thompson, Connecticut. The Grand Trunk Trail Blazers are the citizen's group working on this trail.
Squannacook River Rail Trail
The Squannacook River Rail Trail will be a 9.4-mile long trail running through Townsend and Groton. The first proposed portion is 2.5 mile stretch of railroad right of way parallelling Route 119 and the Squannacook River from Townsend Harbor on the Groton line to Townsend Center. The eventual northern terminus of the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail is the existing 10-mile Mason-Greenville Railroad Trail in New Hampshire. This linkage would create a 19.4-mile trail system. Eventually, the trail system could continue south another 3.8 miles to connect to the existing Nashua River Rail Trail, though that rail line is still used from Ayer to Groton.
A plan has been drafted for a series of multi-use trails to criss-cross Sturbridge, connecting tourist attractions and town facilities, such as schools. Paved trails would run along MA 49 from Spencer to the Town Common, then along MA 15 to Connecticut. The other leg of the "X" would follow MA 148 from Brookfield and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land along the Quinebaug River to Southbridge. The project is being run out of the Town Administrators Office, 308 Main St., Sturbridge, MA 01500-1078.

Last updated March 10, 2005 by Doug Mink
| Online Resources | Groups & Chapters | Laws & Legislation |
| Newsletter | massbike Email List | MassBike Mission |
| Events & Meetings | People |
| Home |