ASHLEY RESERVOIR LETTERBOX:
WEST HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Planted: August 16, 2008
Length: Loop Trail; 3 ¾ miles
Loop Trail and spur trails combined; about 6 miles
Route 202 Gate to Letterbox; 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Mostly flat, Stone-dust trail.
To start from the Route 202 Gate; Take
exit 16 off of I-91 to Route 202 southwest. After passing by
Ashley Reservoir is part of the West Holyoke Water Works and appears to include several different bodies of water that the trail passes through. These include; Ashley Pond, Wright Pond, Cedar Pond, Clear Pond and Connor Reservoir. This is a very scenic trail with plenty of water fowl, turtles, lily pads and reeds. There are a total of four gates leading into the reservoir, but the easiest to access is the Route 202 entrance.
Starting from the Route
the Iron Gate
and down the wide stone-dust trail. You'll come to a brick wall that reads Holyoke
Water Works 1907 and an intersection. Head to your right and you'll come
to your first causeway crossing. Cedar
Pond is on your right and Wright
Pond is to your left. After you reach land, a slight hill will take you up
past two water tanks and a fork in the trail at 0.6 miles.
Left is a short cut across the reservoir.
Continue straight around
the brick building. The trail is briefly paved here. Notice the utility poles as
the trail heads straight through the woodland and away from the water. Note the
number sequence on the poles; 1657-#. You are looking for #63
which will be on your left at 1.4 miles. From this pole, continue along the
trail for 12 more paces (2 steps = 1 pace). If you crossed a small culvert with
a cement post along your right, you went too far. Turn and face the right side
of the trail and you'll be looking at a small knoll. Look for a small boulder at
about head height. Go to its backside and spot a flat rock. Underneath this rock
is the Ashley Reservoir Letterbox. Continuing along the trail, after you
pass by a spillway, bear left up a side trail to check out the stone building
built in 1897. We saw lots of ducks, geese and other birds in Ashley Pond here.
Continue back to the main trail and you'll reach the eastern side of the
reservoir. Lots of turtles sunning themselves here. Note the railroad tracks
along the trail. You cross a short causeway at 2.1 miles and then another with Connor
Reservoir along your right. This brings you to another intersection at 2 ½
miles next to a grove of dying Red Pine trees.
If you continue straight for 0.2 miles
you will come to the Lower Westfield Road Gate.
Head left and you'll soon
come to a long causeway with Ashley Pond on your left and Ashley
Cutoff on your right. This brings you to a 4-way intersection with Wright
Pond ahead to your left and Wright Cutoff ahead to your right.
Left takes you 0.3 miles back to the water towers you passed by earlier. Right
takes 0.4 miles to the Whitney Ave Gate.
Continue straight along the
causeway and back to land where you'll come to T intersection at 3 ½
Right takes you 0.2 miles past two more water tanks to the Rock cut Road Gate.
Head left and you'll return to the brick wall. A right will deliver you back to the Route 202 Gate at 3 ¾ miles.
NO MAP AVAILABLE
LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED
NOVEMBER 8, 2011
TO EMAIL A VERIFICATION
BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT