Norwottuck Rail Trail
8.5 mile path linking Northampton, Hadley, and Amherst
Phone: 413 586-8706 ext. 12
The Norwottock Rail Trail is an 8.5 mile path linking Northampton, Hadley, and Amherst along the former Boston & 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.
Click here to view rail trail map.
The railroad was built in 1887 by the Central Massachusetts Railroad Company. It connected the City of Boston with the City of Northampton. Shortly after the railroad was completed, it was leased by the Boston and Maine Railroad Company and referred to as the Central Massachusetts Branch.
By the 1920s there were three round trip passenger trains and numerous freight trains running between Boston and Northampton. As the automobile and trucking industries grew, railroads began to lose their importance. Passenger service continued until 1932 and freight service continued until 1979, primarily to deliver goods to the Farmer’s Supply warehouse in Amherst.
The property was acquired by the DCR (formerly DEM) in 1985 and in 1993 was developed into a recreational trail. The rail trail was named Norwottuck at the suggestion of the Hadley Historical Commission. Historians believe that the Native Americans who lived here before the European settlers were called the Norwottucks. Translated, norwottuck means “in the midst of the river,” the Native American term for the entire area.
Norwottuck Rail Trail is located in the western part of central Massachusetts.
From the east or west: Mass Pike (I-90) to exit 4, Rte 91 north to Rt 9 exit # 19. Through lights onto Damon Rd., parking at Elwell State Park on right. There is parking at both ends of the trail and on Route 9 in Hadley behind the Bread and Circus Market at the Mountain Farms Mall, at Station Road in Amherst and limited parking that provides wheelchair access at the junction of Mill Lane and Southeast Street in Amherst.
Posting # 1415
Expires: January 1, 2015
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