Bike Path Information

Northampton, Hadley & Amherst, Massachusetts:
    Norwottuck Rail Trail - This paved bike path has been around since 1994. It is an excellent path, very scenic, with overpasses or tunnels across most of the roads it intersects. There is easy access to parking, including at both ends and multiple places in between, with many stores located just off the path.

Unfortunately, when the path was built, it was decided to use recycled glass as part of the aggregate in the black top. Over the years, from constant use, the tar on the surface is continually wearing away revealing millions of tiny glass shards. This problem affects the section of the path from the center of Amherst (at the intersection of Rt 116) west to Northampton. A re-surfacing project was approved in 2004, but I don't believe anything has happened yet.

For more information, take a look at the official press release and scroll down to where it says: "$6 Million for Hampshire County Bike Paths".

I would not recommend using a road bike on this section of the path at this time, unless you like getting flat tires. The section of the path from the center of Amherst east to South Amherst is not affected.

The path is shared by pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, roller bladers and even skiers (as the path is not plowed in the winter). Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the path.

Deerfield & Montague, Massachusetts:
     Canalside Rail Trail (updated June 2008) - This paved bike path was completed in 2007. It starts at the railroad transfer station in Deerfield, where there is a a paved parking lot, and proceeds north to the intersection of Masonic Ave and Rod Shop Rd in Montague City. There is another parking lot here across from the Masonic lodge. Similar to the Norwottuck rail trail, it uses a former railroad bridge to cross the Connecticut River. This southern leg of the trail is about 1 mile long and was only just finished in October 2007 and hasn't been discovered by many people. It is shaded by a lot of trees which shed branches and leaves onto the trail. Fortunately, the town has been doing an excellent job of maintaining the path by sweeping the trail in the Spring after the snow melts.

The town has erected numerous signs to follow, as one must use existing roads to cross Montague City Road to pick up the northern leg of the trail. The northern leg is about 2-1/2 miles long and starts at the end of Depot St in Montague City (where there is a parking just before the trail entrance) and continues north to Unity Park in Turners Falls (where this a parking lot). This part of the trail was completed earlier in 2007 and has become quite popular. It goes right along side the canal and is very scenic. It also goes right behind the Great Falls Discovery Center where the path forks and leads right to the front door.

Bicyclists Beware: About halfway along this leg of the trail, there may be a dangerous section of sand that has spread across the trail. It appears to be caused by runoff after it rains.

This trail is open to pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles.

Here's another person's, very descriptive, blog of his recent adventure on the trail, complete with photos taken along the way.

Hidden Bonus (I've seen the canal from both sides now):
As you are going along the canal, you may see people jogging or biking on the other side. To get over there, take the 11th Street Bridge over to "The Patch" (the island community situated between the canal and the river). Take your first left after the bridge (it will look like a sidewalk). This comes out onto the road and leads all the way to the power plant at the end of the island. This is, obviously a deadend. You will need to go back the way you came.

Greenfield, Massachusetts:
     Riverside Greenway -

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