A gorgeous, warm autumn day inspired my husband and me to take our hybrid bikes to the Rutland portion of the Central Mass. Rail Trail. The stone dust rail trail in this area crosses part of the Midstate Trail, DCR’s Rutland State Park (near Whitehall and Long Ponds), and a portion of the DCR Ware River Watershed. The parking lot on Route 122 was our 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 indicates 49 miles to Northampton.
Fall colors graced the trail and reflected in the ponds and cold water streams that crossed the trail. I smelled cooking fires from the state park and spotted a couple of mountain bikers on some adjoining trails. Though we encountered other cyclists, couples, teens, and young families walking, and even a group of horseback riders, the trail didn’t feel a bit crowded.
We especially appreciated the recent cut-through tunnel near Rte 56 and Moulton Pond. It saved us from hauling our bikes up a steep embankment and riding up a good-sized hill to get to the next section of trail. Three cheers to Wachusett Greenways, the organization responsible for this most recent milestone! This group’s determined efforts have kept expanding the rail trail’s length and accessibility to all.
If you have the chance, take a hike or bike this lovely section trail in central Massachusetts. Go fishing in the stream or nearby Long and Whitehall Ponds, picnic at the state park or contemplate the lily pads and fall colors on the small ponds. Adventurous folks can explore a network of roads in the Ware River Watershed property, popularly referred to as the Prison Camps area. Hunting, hiking, fishing, biking and other passive recreation is permitted in this area. With the onset of hunting seasons, wearing a blaze orange vest or cap is a good visibility idea.
Wachusett Greenways: Programs, projects, updates, and a rail trail map of the current and proposed route for the Central Mass Rail Trail.
Ware River Watershed Lands: A variety of recreation opportunities are available on this 23,000 acre property. Maps of designated biking and horseback riding trails, wildlife management areas, and other information can be found here.
Midstate Trail Website: This jewel of a trail covers 95 miles in Worcester County from RI to NH. It is not as well known and is less travelled compared to the popular Metacomet-Mondanock and Appalachian Trails further west.