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]

Western Mass. Bikeways and Trails

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail [map] [state map]
Running 10.5 miles from Lanesborough to Adams along Rt. 8 and the Hoosic river, this path is the anchor for a north-south route from Vermont to Connecticut. The first 5 miles north of Pittsfield opened August 27, 2001, and construction of the rest is hoped to be complete by the fall of 2002 or spring of 2003. Moves are afoot to extend the path in both directions. There is more information on the Berkshire Bike Path Council web site.
Keystone Arch Bridge Trail
The 2 mile long KAB trail's signature features are massive granite arch railroad bridges built in 1839 with no mortar. Bikes are OK, though a popular way to travel is to hike in, and float on tubes back to the start. The trail is maintained by a volunteer group, Friends of the Keystone Arches, PO Box 276, Huntington, MA 01050. A trail map is available for a small donation.
Northampton Bike Path
This 1.75-mile paved path is on a section of the same abandoned right-of-way as the Norwottuck Trail, but there is an intervening piece of active rail between them. The right-of-way continues westward, where there is an effort being made to extend it through Williamsburg, Mass.
Norwottuck Trail [map] [ state map]
Named after the highest peak in the nearby Holyoke Range, this nine-mile-long bikepath connects Amherst and Northampton, through Hadley, parallelling MA Rt. 9 and avoiding that heavily-travelled road. With its own bridge over the Connecticut River, it is the western end of the abandoned Central Mass. railway line, the eastern end of which is being considered for a Waltham to Hudson trail. Eventually, the trail will connect to the Northampton Bikeway, about a half-mile from the western end. There is a possible connection to a Connecticut Valley bikeway to New Haven, CT, on the Northampton end. A group in Belchertown is working on extending this path eastward. The state also has WWW information available. There is an on-line history of the local Native Americans who gave us the trail name. Check out this survey of abutters in Hadley.
UMass Connector
This 2-mile connection between the Norwottuck Trail and the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts was opened by the Town of Amherst and UMass late in the summer of 2002, after many delays.

Future Western Mass. Bikeways and Trails

Berkshire Bike Path Council
The Berkshire Bike Path Council is working on a county-wide effort to create a path from Vermont to Connecticut using the extended Ashuwillticook Rail Trail as a spine.
Franklin County Bikeway
The Franklin County Commission is reviving and updating a 1985 plan for a bikeway through six Franklin County communities: Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Montague (the villages of Turners Falls and Montague City), and Northfield. Its 22.7 mile length primarily consists of a loop through Greenfield, Deerfield, Montague, and Gill, with a spur south to Historic Deerfield, and a spur north to the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. Including a combination of bike paths, bike lanes and bike routes/shared roadways, it provides access to employment, educational, cultural and recreational sites, and the scenic banks of the Connecticut, Deerfield, Fall and Green rivers.
Greenfield Bikeway
The Greenfield Bikeway Committee is creating a system of shared-road bike routes and off-road bike paths to link "schools, businesses, residences, and other points of interest around town."
Highland Division Rail-Trail [map]
In 2000, the City of Springfield received a grant to design the trail and hired Greenman-Pederson to prepare the engineering and design of this 1.7-mile project from Watershops Pond near Springfield College to the East Longmeadow line. The abandoned line runs a total of 12.5 miles to Hazardville, CT.
Manhan Rail Trail
This 4.2 mile multi-use recreational path stretches from South Street in Easthampton, MA to Mt. Tom Junction at the Route 5 CT River boat launch, with a connecting on-road bike lane to downtown Northampton. The trail will eventually connect with the Norwottuck Trail to Amherst and the Northampton Bike Path to Williamsburg.
Mass. Central Rail Trail
This right-of way runs from Williamsburg in the west to Cambridge in the east, much of the way across the state, including the existing Northampton and Norwottuck bikepaths. Eastward extension has been stopped by opponents in Belchertown. Westward, it has been delayed by opponents in Williamsburg.
Pittsfield Bike Path
A movement to build bike paths across the City of Pittsfield is growing.
Southwick Rail/Trail
Proposed by 5 middle school students in 1995, this 6.5 mile long rail trail will extend the Farmington Valley Greenway into Massachusetts. Construction of Phase I across Southwick started May 12, 2008, cost $2,360,574.00, and is expected to be completed by the fall. Phase II, to the Westfield River through the southern part of Westfield is "on hold" pending installation of a gas line under the rail bed. Here is an article about the history of the trail.
Williamsburg Bike Path [pictures]
This path could connect to the Northampton Bike Path at Look Park and follow a rail right-of-way along the Mill River to the Haydenville Line. There the Williamsburg section begins. The trail could follow the Mill River until it reaches Route 9. A bikepath bridge could span Route 9, allowing the trail to continue along the railroad bed as it crosses High Street and parallels Route 9 about 100 yards from the street. While the railroad bed ends at Kellogg Road, the trail could go along the edge of Route 9 for a while, then curve behind some shops and hug the riverbank until it ends in Williamsburg center. At some time in the future the Mill River bridge may be rebuilt, allowing foot and bike traffic to cross the river at that point. There has been a lot of opposition, and the path is stopped for now, but as you can see from the pictures, it would be a nice trail.

Last updated July 20, 2009 by Doug Mink