Bike Paths and Rail Trails

Western Massachusetts bike paths

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Lanesborough, Cheshire, and Adams 413 442-8928. The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a former railroad corridor converted into a 10-foot wide paved universally accessible path. The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail runs parallel to Route 8 through the towns of Cheshire, Lanesborough and Adams, Massachusetts. The southern end of the Trail begins at the entrance to the Berkshire Mall off Rte. 8 in Lanesborough and travels 11 miles north to the center of Adams. Parking lots and restrooms are available along the way. The Trail passes through the Hoosac River Valley, between Mt. Greylock and the Hoosac Mountains. Cheshire Reservoir, the Hoosac River, and associated wetland communities flank much of the trail offering outstanding views and abundant wildlife. The word Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-will-ti-cook) is from the Native American name for the south branch of the Hoosic River and literally means "at the in-between pleasant river," or in common tongue, "the pleasant river in between the hills." The name was adopted for the trail as a way to reconnect people to local history and the natural environment.

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Norwottuck Rail Trail

Damon Rd. Northampton 413 586-8706 ext. 12. The Norwottock Rail Trail is an 8.5 mile path linking Northampton, Hadley, and Amherst along the former Boston and Main Railroad right-of-way. The path's level terrain provides safe passage for pedestrians, wheelchairs, joggers, skaters, bicyclists, and cross-country skier of all ages and abilities. Motorized vehicles and horses are prohibited. Both ends of the path offer free parking for trail users - Elwell State Park on Damon Road in Northampton and Station Road in South Amherst. Public restrooms are available at the parking area at Elwell Recreation Area.

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Central Massachusetts bike paths

West Boyston Rail Trail

West Boylston and Holden 508-829-3954 (Wachusett Greenways). This lovely 3-mile section of trail on the rail bed follows the Quinapoxet River, crossing the Charlotte Kaplan and Jeremiah Kaplan Bridges to reach River Street, Holden. The trail has a smooth stone dust surface that is excellent for walkers, cyclists, and nonmotorized recreation. To reach the trail park at Thomas Street adjacent to the Quinapoxet River just off Route 140 in West Boylston. (From I-190 take Exit 5, Route 140 south one mile. Where 140 bears left over causeway, continue straight ahead to first parking area on the right.)

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Rutland Rail Trail

Rutland, Oakham and Barre 508-829-3954 (Wachusett Greenways). Central Mass. Rail Trail. The stone dust rail trail in this area crosses part of the Midstate Trail, DCRs Rutland State Park (near Whitehall and Long Ponds), and a portion of the DCR Ware River Watershed. The parking lot on Route 122 is a good entry to the trail. A few stone benches can be found along the trail and there is a granite stone marker describing a major train accident that occurred in 1932 as well as a rail marker indicating 49 miles to Northampton.

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Blackstone River Bikeway

Worcester, Millbury. The Millbury portion of the Blackstone River Bikeway is the only portion completed so far in Massachusetts. Running for about 3 Miles just south of Worcester, it's a great trail for a short leisurely ride. The trail parallels the blackstone river and will eventually run from Worcester to Providence.

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Assabet River Bikeway

Hudson. The Assabet River Rail-Trail provides a forested escape from the surrounding urban bustle. Traveling 5.6 miles (with plans to expand it) the trail connects the towns of Hudson and Marlborough and parallels the scenic Assabet River. As of autumn 2012, the trail is in three disconnected sections between Marlborough and Maynard. The trail crosses the Assabet River five times, the last crossing on a refurbished, historical wrought-iron railroad bridge. The trail begins along State Route 62 in Hudson, marked by a restored 1921 blue caboose across the road from an ice-cream store. Look for the trailhead parking area.

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Eastern Massachusetts bike paths

Nashua River Rail Trail

Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable 978-597-8802. The Nashua River Rail Trail is a former railroad right of way that travels 11 miles through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable. The trail offers a 10-foot wide paved surface for the entire length, and a five-foot wide gravel equestrian path for seven miles of the trail from Groton Center to the New Hampshire boarder in Dunstable. The entire trail is open to pedestrians, bicyclists, inline skaters, wheelchairs, and cross-country skiers. The Nashua River Rail Trail travels along a varied landscape, offers numerous scenic overlooks, opportunities to see wildlife and has several resting stops. The trail is particularly attractive during fall foliage season. The Ayer trailhead offers access to commuter rail service between Boston and Fitchburg.

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Maudslay State Park

Curzon Mill Rd. Newburyport 978 465-7223. The former Moseley family estate on the Merrimack River, this park features 19th century gardens and plantings, rolling meadows, towering pines, and one of the largest naturally-occurring stands of mountain laurel in Massachusetts. Most breathtaking are the ornamental trees and masses of azaleas and rhododendrons that bloom in May and June. An exquisite place for walking, biking, horseback riding and informal picnics. Special Use Permits may be obtained for wedding ceremonies and similar programs. Cultural events are a regular feature during the summer. During the winter a portion of the park is off limits due to roosting bald eagles, but the remainder provides excellent cross country skiing and winter walks. The Parking Fee at Maudslay State Park is $2.00. Annual Passes are available for purchase.

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Cape Cod Bike Paths

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Dennis and Wellfleet 508 896-3491. The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows a former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. Its paved surface, few hills, and well-marked automobile crossings make it ideal for cyclists. The trail has a wide unpaved shoulder on one side to accommodate horseback riding, walkers, and runners. There are many opportunities to get off the trail and visit a beach. Food and water are also readily available and public restrooms can be found at Nickerson State Park, Salt Pond Visitors Center at Cape Cod National Seashore and the National Seashore Headquarters. If you do not have a bike, bike rentals are available at many points along the way. For people with disabilities, a limited number of hand-cycles are available for rent at specific bike concessions. For more information call Nickerson State Park at 508-896-3491.

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Boston Area Bike Paths

Stony Brook Bike Path

Turtle Pond Parkway, West Roxbury, and Hyde Park 617-698-1802. Open year-round, dawn to dusk. Enneking, Dedham and Turtle Pond Parkways wind through extensive tree covered hills, valleys, rock-outcroppings and wetlands; past Turtle Pond and into Hyde Park. Stony Brook Reservation contains 475 acres of scenic landscapes and a variety of recreational facilities. Ten to twelve miles of hiking trails and bicycle paths meander through the quiet, forested portion of the reservation. Sunfish and Perch swim in the fresh waters of Turtle Pond, an easily accessible spot for fishing. In the Reservation's southern section are soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, picnic areas , an ice skating rink, and a pool. A special feature is the John F. Thompson Center, New England's first recreational facility designed specifically to accommodate handicapped visitors. Reservations for the Thompson Center can be made by calling 617-361-6161.

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Mystic River Bike Path

Medford, Somerville, and Everett 617-727-5380. Open year round, dawn to dusk. The banks of the Mystic River are almost entirely publicly owned, from the Amelia Earhart Dam at the mouth of the Mystic Lakes, making it one of the Commonwealth's best protected streams. The river has been much altered since the 1800's when its shores were largely saltmarsh.

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Lower Neponset River Trail

Neponset District 617-727-5290. Open year-round, dawn to dusk. The Lower Neponset River Trail follows the path of a former railroad bed along the shore of the Neponset River. Traversing a rich variety of historical and ecological contexts, the 2.4 mile path serves to link the Neponset area to the larger network of MDC trails. The trail currently stretches from the historic Port Norfolk neighborhood in Dorchester, through Pope John Paul II Park, across Granite Avenue through the Neponset Marshes, and through the Lower Mills area to Central Avenue in Milton. In the future connections are planned from Central Avenue to Mattapan and from Port Norfolk to Commercial Point, linking to existing trails to Castle Island.

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Rhode Island Bike Paths

Blackstone River Bikeway

Woonsocket and Lincoln 401-723-7892. The Blackstone River Bikeway is scheduled to be a 17.1 mile by 12-foot wide scenic bike-path under construction by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The southern end of the Blackstone River Bikeway will eventually link to the popular East Bay Bike Path, making a continuous 31.9 mile route for alternative transportation.

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East Bay Bike Path

Providence and Bristol 401-253-7482. The East Bay Bike path is a 14.5 mile, 10 foot wide, ribbon of asphalt that provides a safe place for unobstructed cycling. Users can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as the path takes them by coves and marshes, over bridges, and through State Parks. This Bike Path's southern tip will eventually link-up to the Blackstone Bikeway (presently under construction). The path stretches from Providence to Bristol along the abandoned railroad line. For the greater part of it's length, it passes along or near the shore of Narragansett Bay.

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