SOUTHWICK RAIL TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: September 1, 2012
Length: Southwick Rail Trail; 6.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved rail trail.
To start from Phelps Road near the CT/MA border; From Routes 10 & 202 in Granby, CT, just over the line from MA, take Notch Rd east and immediately turn left onto Quarry Rd. Quarry Rd will travel east, then turn south. Turn left when you come to Phelps Rd. You'll travel underneath the trail and come to a small parking lot on your left. Head north along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail for 0.4 miles to the start of the Southwick Rail Trail.
To start from the Shaker Road parking lot; From I-90 take exit 3 to Routes 10 & 202 south for 4 miles. Turn left on Tannery Rd, then left on Ponders Hollow Rd which become Shaker Rd. Just past where the trail crosses the road turn right to reach the trailside parking lot.
The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is a ten foot wide paved multi-use trail that extends from New Haven to the Massachusetts border. It follows the path of the former Farmington Canal and the New Haven & Northampton Railroad. Currently it is broken up into three completed sections. The southern section is complete from New Haven to Cheshire, See; Farmington Canal Heritage Trail South . The central section is complete in Southington, See; Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Central and the northern section is complete for 22 miles from Farmington to the Massachusetts border. See; Farmington Canal Heritage Trail North . In Massachusetts the paved trail continues following the rail bed of the New Haven & Northampton RR along the Southwick Rail Trail and Columbia Greenway Rail Trail in Southwick and Westfield. A gap exists through the towns of Westfield & Southampton before the paved trail continues through Easthampton along the paved Manhan Rail Trail . A paved spur trail off of the Manhan Rail Trail continues north along the Easthampton-Northampton Connector Trail, which then connects into the Downtown Northampton Connector Trail, which in turn connects to the Northampton Bike Path . You'll then be able to access the Norwottuck Rail Trail which travels from Northampton through Amherst to Belchertown. For more information See; SOUTHWICK RAIL TRAIL .
In 1828, the Farmington Canal opened for excursion boats to take passengers from New Haven to as far as Northampton, Massachusetts. The canal was 86 miles long, 4 feet deep and 36 feet wide. Twenty-eight locks were built in Connecticut to accommodate a 292 foot total drop in elevation along the canal. The canal was never profitable and so by 1848 railroad tracks were being laid along the old canal route. The New Haven & Northampton RR/Canal Line was born, changing ownership over the years until the Boston & Maine Railroad discontinued service along this line. See; NH & NH RR .
Starting from the end of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in CT; The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail ends in Suffield, CT at the MA state line and then continues north along the Southwick Rail Trail. The green mileage marker reads 22 miles (from Simsbury) and the Southwick Rail Trail continues the mileage into MA. The trail travels through an evolving marsh and alongside a stream that originates from Congamond Lake. After about 0.6 miles you'll leave the marsh and encounter a mix of forest, fields and residential hosing. At 1 mile you come alongside the Miller Road parking lot next to a map board. A Porto-Potty is located near-by. The trail then crosses Congamond Rd (Route 168).
Note; To your left is an old general store from the days of the RR that's been converted to a great place to grab some refreshments. Called Red Riding Hoods Basket, check out; RED BASKET for more information. Also, a quick 1/4 mile detour right along Congamond Rd will bring you to Congamond Lake and the Connecticut state line. Use caution as their is only a narrow shoulder along the road.
Continuing north, you cross a bridge over a brook and travel alongside a marsh. You'll travel over a farmers bridge at 2 miles and pass by tobacco fields and barns. The trail then passes by Edgewood Golf Course and travels through a tunnel underneath Point Grove Rd at 3.2 miles. After traveling over a high berm you'll cross over Depot Rd at 3.6 miles and encounter another map board. Next a cross-light over Feeding Hills Rd (Route 57) at 4.4 miles where you'll find another map board. The trail now travels out in the open between fields before heading back into the woods. You'll cross a culvert over Slab Brook surrounded by nice wood fencing. A slight detour around Sam West Rd (water fountain located here) brings you to a slight down hill grade with another map board in the middle of the woods at 5.9 miles. More wood fencing as you travel along a berm over Kellog Brook and past the Shaker Farms Country Club on your right. The trail crosses the Westfield town line after 6.3 miles and continues as the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail .
CLICK HERE FOR SOUTHWICK RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR COLUMBIA GREENWAY RAIL TRAIL MAP
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