Central MA

Metrowest MA

Central MA

Southern New England Trunkline Trail

131 Grove St
Franklin  Massachusetts  02038
United States

508-476-7872

There are many places to access the SNETT - See the maps

Easy

75%

Moderate

21%

Difficult

4%

Description

The Southern New England Trunkline Trail is a National Scenic Recreational Trail that runs from Franklin Massachusetts 86 Miles to Willimantic Connecticut. The Massachusetts portion is a linier park managed by the Department of Conservation and Recrretion.

This write-up concerms the Massachusetts portion starting in Franklin and ending near the Connecticut line in the Douglas State Forest.

Few people will ever ride the entire 22 miles. But, many people ride parts of it, using it to connect good riding areas.

The trail itself is straight, very flat but has many whoop-de-dos caused by off road vehicle use. It's very scenic and beloved by area equestrians. 

On the eastern end you have the trail dense Franklin State Forest.

On the western end in the Douglas State Forest there's an alternate staring area at 108 Wallum Lake Road where the SNETT crosses the road.

 From this point if you continue west you'll hit the Connecticut state line. Of particular interest is the Tri State Marker. A stone monolith that marks the intersection of RI, CT and MA. Ride around it and you'll hit three states in a second or two.  Where else can you do that? Read more about [node:title]

Local Shops

Blackstone Bicycles

Legend Bicycles

Steve The Bike Guy

Links to Relevant Resources

What Up (and Down) in Charlemont

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

If you haven't been riding in Charlemont, MA, next summer is the time to go.  

"The Recreation Capitol of New England" as Charlemont calls itself, is a wonderland of views, maple syrup, flannel shirts, grass fed beef cows, zip lining, rafting, kayaking, down hill skiing, snow tubing, and now, mountain biking.  In this quaint New England town nestled in between two mountain ridges in the Berkshires of Western Mass, the mountain bike scene is exploding as you read this. Three hubs of single-track, Warfield House, Zoar Outdoor, and Berkshire East, provide mountain bikers with a total of 35 miles of single track plus endless dirt and farm roads,  double tracks, and snowmobile trails. The town is bisected by the Deerfield River, Route 2, and a rail road.  A short road ride connects the riding hubs, with Berkshire East on the south side of the valley, and Zoar Outdoor and Warfield House on the north.

Building began in earnest about four or five years ago, when Jonathan , 'Jonny' Schaefer of Berkshire East Ski Resort, Bruce Lessels, owner of Zoar Outdoor (an outdoor adventure, outfitter, rafting and lodging company) and Harold Green, past president of NEMBA, were having a few beers at Warfield House and the idea to bring mountain biking to Charlemont in a big way was hatched.

The latest addition to the scene are down hill, one way, lift accessed trails being built at Berkshire East Ski Resort. Schaefer, manager of Berkshire East, and mountain bike rider says.  " We want to continue enjoyment of the outdoors year round. That's the way my brothers and I were brought up."   A progression of green to difficult black diamond trails are in the works.

Determined to do this the right way, Schaefer consulted with his insurance agent who recommended Gravity Logic, an international gravity trail building and resort-consulting firm based in Whistler BC.  Planning began in 2009, and lift serviced trails are scheduled to be open in 2015.  Jonathan Schaefer sees Berkshire East and the town of Charlemont as a center of activity for the many bicycling disciplines, from road rides, to gravel grinders, mountain bike races and other bicycling events.  Having the lift access trails as well as the numerous cross country trails already in place creates a great venue for enduro races (races which don't time the uphill, only the downhill sections), endurance rides such as the Whole Enchilada Ride, a 30 mile mountain bike ride touring both sides of the valley, and other mountain bike races and events. Berkshire East has the potential to meet the requirements for World Cup mountain biking events, something very few east coast resorts have.

Jon continued," We are committed to being a dynamic year round family destination and resort."  A paid trail crew is in the plan for the future and that crew may be working on the cross country as well as the down hill mountain bike trails.

"The easiest lift access trail is designed and built for first time down hill mountain bikers as young as 7 years old, and will be fun for more experienced and skilled riders as well." explained Gabe Porter -Henry, marketing manager of Berkshire East and another flannel clad employee of Berkshire East.    "High end mountain bikes, guided tours, and lessons will be available also."

Out on the trail following the whirring noise of the chainsaw, Chris Conrad, project manager for the crew from Gravity Logic, was clearing corridor for the 3 ½ mile green trail.  Originally from North Carolina, and an avid mountain biker, he headed to Colorado for his ' soul ride' and while riding found a job at a ski area building trail and eventually went to work for Gravity Logic.   "The first trail to open will be the green trail, wide (4 feet wide), with low grades of 5-7½ %, good sight lines through the turns, and low berm walls. Gravity Logic has guidelines for the trail designations that have been tested through experience.  The powder blue (novice/intermediate) trail will be 2 or 2 ½ miles long, with rollers, and is machine made also.  A true blue trail with tighter turns, bigger and steeper berms is in the plans.  The black diamond trail has a steeper average grade with some fall line on ledge and more technical features such as jumps and drops.  It will be a single track and mostly hand built."

Conrad explained the design process, " We meet with the client, look at topos, identify wet areas or other areas of concern, and for the green trails and machine built trails, access is very important. You want the green trail to start very near the top of the lift."  To cross downhill ski trails, the trail needs to be flat and straight. Out west, berms and other features can be constructed in ski trails due to a higher snow pack.

Further down the green trail, past a beautifully constructed wide berm with grade reversals to manage water and to control the speed of the rider, Kerry, another Gravity Logic employee, was running a full sized excavator across a couple of hundred feet of fractured rock.  A few days ago, the jack hammers crushed a swath of ledge into a manageable pile of rock.   Kerry is from out west, and this is the first time he has experienced the challenges of building trail in the east, but he was very enthusiastic about the opportunity to build here.  As trail builders in the  north east know, rocks are a blessing and curse.  

While the new down hill trails are in progress, building also continues on the cross country network, Charlemont Trail System or CTS.  Two miles of beginner trail, Bear Cub, leave from Berkshire East parking lot. Turns are being polished and new connections are being built so making it possible to stay on single track and avoid double tracks.  Also two blue cross country trails were built in the last year, Farmstead and MST, near the top of the Berkshire East side. Harold Green, a former president of NEMBA, is now leading the work on polishing turns, benching off camber sections, and putting boardwalks on wet areas.  Also with more riders, the trails are becoming smoother and a bit easier to ride. But don't be fooled, these trails will kick the butt of even advanced riders!  For those who enjoy climbing, the trails in the ski area property will be open to ride to the top of the mountain with a pass.

Over the past four years, Harold brought the resources of NEMBA into play.  Under the auspices of NEMBA, CTS has been awarded an RTP grant to build boardwalks on the Rice Brook Trail in the Warfield hub, has sponsored a NEMBA trail school, and provided a tool crib.  The second edition of the CTS map has been published and is available at Zoar Outdoor and Berkshire East.  Information, led rides and event listings are also available on the CTS Facebook page. Harold is, " excited to have more people riding in the community." He is also looking forward to having more events, possibly a weekend festival with races and rides sometime in 2015.

Bruce Lessels, owner of Zoar Outdoor, says, "right now, the trails appeal to a certain type of rider. One who is very fit and doesn't mind rough trails and climbing. However, the new blue and green trails at Berkshire East will appeal to the intermediate riders, and we are looking for more places to put trails that will be good for a wider range of abilities." MIT recently had an intercollegiate mountain biking race with many different events such as short track and double slalom. A number of the racers stayed at the Zoar Outdoor campground. Some of the bike trails lead right from the campground.  "The single tracks at Zoar were originally offshoots of cross country ski trails." Bruce continues, " There was only a trickle of mountain bikers, but it is becoming a steady stream. "

Riding the trails in the Charlemont can be a challenge, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  Riders pop out of the forest to see views of farms, the valley below and surrounding hill tops.  Following trails with the names of General Hospital and Get Smart, the rider will find an abandoned TV tower, purchased by the town in 1960's because there was no TV reception in the valley.    Or skip the climb, and park on East Road (a dirt road behind Berkshire East) and ride to check out the 227 ft wind turbine and the 1800 solar panels which provide 100% of the electricity for the ski resort and then some.

This is truly a unique area. The trails are pure New England with a taste of Whistler. Have fun exploring the ups and downs of Charlemont, and don't forget your extra tube, a  snack, and a sense of adventure.  You'll need it!

411:
Berkshire East Mountain Resort
Zoar Outdoor
Charlemont Trail System

By Paula Burton (SingleTracks #137)

Finding Solutions and Improving Mountain Biking in the Ware Watershed

Friday, October 3, 2014

On September 25th, 2014 Director Jonathan Yeo of the DCR Department of Water Supply Protection and some of his staff met with members of Wachusett Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) and NEMBA staffers, Philip Keyes and Bill Boles, to discuss recreational issues facing the Ware River Watershed.  Also in attendance was Dick O’Brien, chair of the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB). Mr. Yeo expressed serious concerns over the presence of mountain bikes on non-designated trails as well as the creation of additional unauthorized trails.

Currently, the Ware River Watershed is home to many singletrack trails adding up to at least 20 total miles. However, only three of those trails (the Midstate Trail and two trails dedicated to horseback riding) are recognized by the DWSP. For the last 30 years, residents have been mountain biking on this trail network without realizing this activity has always been banned. Bicycling is only allowed on roads and rail trails. Hikers, on the other hand, are permitted to walk anywhere they choose throughout the Ware River Watershed regardless of the presence of a trail.

NEMBA offered to provide solutions to curb unauthorized trail building and riding by working with the agency to create a legitimate and sustainable trail system for mountain biking, hiking, trail running and XC skiing, but this offer was firmly declined by Director Yeo. Instead, the Division says that it plans to dismantle all unauthorized trails and increase enforcement of the bicycle ban. NEMBA feels that the best course of action here would be to recognize bicycles as a valid trail user and work with, rather than against, those aligned with the agency's mission of maintaining the highest possible water quality. The presence or absence of bicycles on trails has not impacted water quality in the past 30 years and, with sustainably designed trails, would not do so in the future either.

NEMBA believes that the DCR DWSP should allow trail based recreational opportunities for all non-motorized recreation. Existing trails should be reviewed for environmental sustainability and passive recreation (which includes mountain biking) should be promoted and pro-actively managed in cooperation with dedicated user/service groups such as NEMBA. The 25,000 acre Watershed is critical habitat for the water supply of 2.5 million ratepayers, primarily in Greater Boston, but it is also an important open space that should offer meaningful public benefit to all tax-payers, and especially for the communities in which the watershed is situated.

Mountain biking and hiking have similar environmental impacts and should be managed together. There are numerous studies attesting to the similarity of physical impact between hiking and biking -- and there are no studies which state that hiking has no impact or that the impacts of mountain biking are dramatically different than hiking. The recreational analysis done by DCR in the Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Middlesex Fells Reservation states that "with respect to these two recreational impacts, these two recreational uses have similar impacts and should be evaluated similarly."

NEMBA believes that providing singletrack opportunities for mountain biking would be beneficial to the local communities who are looking for places to recreate. The current policy unjustly excludes mountain biking on trails as a legitimate activity in the watershed, and the lack of authorized trails for hiking and mountain biking have created a recreational vacuum that is currently being fulfilled by creating unauthorized trails. We feel strongly that by working with NEMBA and our dedicated volunteer base, DWSP can actually improve Ware Watershed water quality further by fixing or closing current unsustainable trails and providing new trails that are properly designed and built away from sensitive areas.

Finally, State Representative Anne Gobi met with NEMBA representatives on October 2, 2014 and offered her full support for NEMBA's efforts. We look forward to working together with our elected officials as we improve the situation we currently face in the Watershed.

NEMBA asks the mountain bike community surrounding the Ware watershed to respect the current regulations and on only ride on trails where bicycling is allowed.

Ware Watershed & Mountain Biking

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Members of Wachusett NEMBA will be meeting with Department of Conservation & Recreation land management for the Ware River watershed to discuss issues relating to mountain biking on this property. Mountain bikers have ridden on the many trails within the Watershed for years without issue nor impact to the drinking water supply. However, the DCR Watershed has decided to enforce a long standing ban on bicycles from all woods trails. Hikers, dog-walkers and equestrians have access to many of the trails but mountain bikers are completely excluded.

NEMBA believes that the DCR Division of Water Supply Protection should change the recreational use policies at the watershed to include mountain biking, as well as other forms of passive, sustainable recreation.

The Ware River Watershed abuts Rutland State Park, a small 200+ acre parkland that allows mountain biking.

Central MA

Wendell State Forest, Millers Falls

392 Wendell Rd
Millers falls  Massachusetts  01349
United States

413 659 3797

Easy

20%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

30%

Description

Kona Mountain Bike Adventure Series Ride 8/9


Located south of the Millers River and Route 2, this vast state forest has long offered mountain biking opportunities to regional riders.  Wendell State Forest covers over 7,500 acres of rolling forested hills, streams, ponds, gravel roads and trails. Purchased by the Commonwealth in the 1920s the area was heavily burned during the early 1900s. Some of the park development and most of the road systems, are attributed to Civilian Conservation Corps activities in the 1930s.

The forest's roads, trails and visitors would remain pretty much unchanged from that time until 2004 when a new initiative to rejuvenate this gem of the Pioneer Valley came about. With the active encouragement and mentoring of Park Ranger and Trails Supervisor Bryant Stewart, NEMBA and a sampling of local snowshoeing, cross country skiing and hiking enthusiasts have created some of the best multi-use single track anywhere in New England.

There are several distinct loops that local riders usually take, when embarking on a two hour excursion of Wendell State Forest.  Today we'll take the moderate loop, which misses some of NEMBA's star trails, but is much friendlier to riders of all abilities.  That isn't to say this is an easy loop or that very many riders will clean it without a dab or a do-over!  We begin at Park Head Quarters and duck around the gate onto the Old XC Ski Trail. We follow this across the access to the Event Parking Area and rip over the bridge, through the mild rocky areas out to Carlton Rd.  At Carlton Rd, we head into the park along the road for about ¼ mile until we bang a right onto the M&M Trail. We follow a short section of this 100 mile through trail until it meets the Carlton Dirth trail where the M&M crosses Montague Rd.  Instead of crossing on the M&M, and riding the miles of cool stuff south of the road, we follow the Carlton Dirth Trail all the way to Dirth Rd.

We follow Dirth Rd. about ½ mile looking for a recovered hunters trail now known as Hammerhead's Hiatus.  We take a left onto this smooth winding single track through the principally hardwood forest.  Don't hammer this trail and enjoy the Hiatus, as you probably need to recover before the rocky adventure that waits at the next junction.  As the Hiatus ends back on Carlton Rd, we cross onto the Western Wicket Pond Trail.  This trail was built by the SCA Americorps volunteers about 10 years ago.  We follow it until just before it drops down to the pond's edge and instead attack the rocky, techy climb up the Wicket Pond Escape and out to Brook Road.

We take a right onto Brook Rd. and cruise along the road down to Wicket Pond Rd. where we bear left and then a quick right onto the Maple Leaf Trail.  We skirt the swamp and wind past the old cellar hole before dipping down the flowing and fun Nipmuck Trail.  This masterpiece of Wendell drops down to the bottom of Baker Rd. winding through beech forests until it gets to the evergreen lowlands.  Along the way enjoy the rock jumps, berms and flowing pitch changes.  Mostly downhill, the trail builders still managed to keep your heart rates up by incorporating grade reversals and other surprises scattered throughout this 1 1/2 mile delight.  For every moment of biking, there is a payback.  In the case of the Nipmuck, the pain follows in the form of a mile-long fire road climb up Baker Rd.

From the top of Baker Rd, your 2 hour moderate ride will conclude with a left turn onto the Bob-is-Fat trail and with a right at the junction, a scamper through the rocky section of the Maple Leaf trail as it returns you to the intersection of Damon Camp Rd. and Wickett Pond Rd.  Follow Wicket Pond Rd. to your right back to park headquarters.

If, however you want to test your biking metal, and are up for some examples of prime, rigorous New England singletrack, just before you reach the summit of Baker Rd, you will see a rocky single track heading off to your right.  This 2 year old Mormon Hollow Return trail will take you on an adventure second to none.  With your skills sharpened for this rocky, rooty, twisting excursion set yourself up for a couple miles of generally downhill torture.  But wait, the fun is just beginning, at the bottom of the Mormon Hollow Return, we jump onto another of the stars of the Forest, Hannah Swarton's Remove.  This trail, ridden in this direction, is guaranteed to remove any extra energy reserves you have.  Heading back to the center of the park on this trail provides rocky climbs, a few grade reversing descents and nearly as much rocky fun as the Mormon Hollow.  Winding for nearly 3 miles you eventually find yourself back at the top of Baker Rd.  Had enough yet?  If so follow the conclusion to the intermediate's ride above.

Want some more fun?  Got another hour?  Wait till you see this next piece, take a right for another 100 yards on Baker Rd. down to the junction of Damon Camp Rd. and ride to your right to the Moose Trax Trail which is on your left after about ¼ mile.  Follow this down to the brook crossing and then up through a nice laurel stand to the junction of the Lookout trail.  Take a right on the Lookout Trail (don't miss the lookout while you are here) and follow it to where it merges with the M&M.  Take the M&M all the way to the bottom of Damon Camp Rd., enjoying the smooth descents and twisting surprises.  Be aware though, the M&M may have more hikers and backpackers than most of the trails you have been on, especially along this section.  Always yield the right of way to hikers.  At the bottom of Damon Camp Rd., take a left onto Davis Rd.

Follow Davis Rd. until you see a freshly opened single track off to your right.  Follow this unnamed trail up to another lookout and then along a long rock spine as it winds up and down through the Mt. Grace Conservation Land which abuts the State Forest and again meets up with another section of the M&M.  A right turn back onto the M&M brings you up yet another rocky, sometimes steep, climb to the Ruggles Pond parking area where you will most likely be ready to call it a day.

Have fun and keep exploring the park - we didn't cross Montague Rd to the Robert Frost Trail and other stellar single and double track gems, or venture out to the Bear Mountain area where the fire roads are burly, and the emergence of new single track is imminent. There's plenty more out there for another day.

Directions:

Less than 90 minutes from Hartford and Boston, Take Rte. 2 to Rte. 63 south to the center of Millers Falls.  Go straight onto Wendell Rd. over the iron R.R. bridge and follow the signs up to park headquarters at the top of the hill, about 3 miles.

Before Memorial Day you can park right at the Park Headquarters on Montague (Wendell) rd., but during the summer, you'll have to enter and park at Ruggles Pond. (The state now sells a $35 season parking pass good at all State Parks and Forests or $5 day passes.)

Cautions:

Watch out for hunters during hunting season. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)  Expect to find lots of kids and dogs running around near Ruggles Pond on summer afternoons.
Watch out for hikers especially on the Trail to the Lookouts, the M&M and the Robert Frost.
Some of the rocky spines can be slippery when wet.

Carry plenty of water, be self sufficient with regards to repairs and bring a buddy.  Rides can take you many miles into the forest which is not regularly patrolled.

Submitted by Liam O'Brien & Harold Green
and Updated from a SIngleTracks Magazine article. Read more about [node:title]

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Wachusett NEMBA Sunday Ride at Leominster SF

Event Date

Repeats every week every Sunday until Sun Sep 26 2021 .
4/4/21 9:00am

Wachuset NEMBA LSF Sunday Ride

Leominster State Forest hosts one of the most varied and interesting trail systems in the State.  Join us for a fun though a bit challenging no-drop ride. 

Please contact me for directions, starting times and to let me know that you're coming.

Oh! And why nor save time by signing NEMBA's 2021 Ride Waiver ahead of time. But you only have to sign it once.

We meet at 71 Rocky Pond Road in Princeton.  

Please try to get there before 9:00 AM so that we can get ther ride off on time.

Questions?  Contact me with the info below. Read more about [node:title]

Location

Leominster State Forest

Chapter

State

Massachusetts

Ride Level

Intermediate

Ride Types

Ride Style

XC

Ride Leader Name

Jim Wrightson
978-852-4800

Central MA

Robinson State Park, Feeding Hills

462 North St
Feeding Hills  Massachusetts  01030
United States

413 786-2877

Easy

40%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

Robinson State Park is the one of the most enjoyable places to ride in south central Massachusetts. Robinson's 800+ acres offer a diversity of trails ranging from smooth fast flowing singletracks to slightly technical trails. What you'll remember most though are the miles of smooth fast trails. Robinson's location is responsible for this. It's located beside the Westfield River and much of the park consists of a series of drumlins. These drumlins were dropped there by the last glacier and the soil that makes them up contains few stones. Hence, the smooth fast trails.

Check out the MAP to get a feel for Robinson's unique topography. After you've explored Robinson you'll notice that some trails aren't on the map. But you won't get lost. 

As you ride you'll also notice that a lot of very professional trailwork has been done. Volunteers from Pioneer Valley NEMBA and the Friends of Robinson State Park working with the Park's staff are responsible for this. Expect to discover over 20 miles of trails at Robinson.

Some of Robinson's trails are located high above the Westfield River where you'll see kayaks and canoes in warmer weather. Bring your camera. You'll be able to take pictures here that will convince anyone that they were in the backwoods of Maine or Vermont. Not just a few miles from the center of Springfield.

Directions:
From exit 4 on the Massachusetts Turnpike head south on Route 91. Take route 57 heading west to Route 187 heading north. Turn right on North Street and follow the signs to the Park's entrance.

However, the best place to park is at the Agawam Dog Park at 99 Amory Dive.  There's plenty of parking and the trails start behind the dog park.

By Bill Boles Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Montague Plains

1 Reservoir Dr
Montague  Massachusetts  01376
United States

Easy

60%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

10%

Description

In the mood for a fast spin on some twisty ATV trails with a little single track thrown in, check out the Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area. This area is a favorite place for family rides, since there are few steeps and virtually nothing of a technical nature. What you will find are some water hazards - highland swamps and seasonally some very deep loose sand. The only prominent elevation features are 'Red Rock' and 'Willis Hill'. Willis Hill's trails are badly eroded and therefore seldom climbable, but can be a fun, not too technical downhill. To get to the top, take the Water Tank Trail or the Kaibukus Trail. 'Red Rock' is good in either direction as a climb or downhill for most riders above the beginner level.
   
Directions:
Parking is either along the common in Montague Center, or along Industrial Boulevard on the North East side. If you park in Montague Center take the road by the cemetery to the Telephone Trail, and if from the Industrial Park, enter the area via the access road to the Water Tank.
Cautions
Watch out for hunters during hunting season. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)

By Harold Green Read more about [node:title]

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Bicycle World

Highland Hardware and Bike Shop

Northampton Bicycle

Central MA

Leominster State Forest, Princeton

71 Rocky Pond Rd
Princeton  Massachusetts  01541
United States

978-874-2303

Easy

30%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

Leominster State Forest, located in the Nashua River watershed of the Worcester-Monadnock Plateau Ecoregion, is one of the best riding areas in the Wachusett area. The forest's 4300 acres offer an amazing variety of trails and old dirt roads to explore. The original land was bought by the Commonwealth as part of the State's Forest System in 1922. Other land acquisitions expanded the forest from 1922-1936, from 1951-1973, and in 1989, 1999, 2001 and 2002. If one were to hike around the perimeter of the forest one would travel 32.9 miles. Over the years Leominster State Forest became a pretty big place. The Civilian Conseervation Corps were active in the forest from 1933-1937. They built many of the forest's roads, waterholes and buildings.

From hilly rugged singletracks, to flowing smooth trails, to difficult technical singletracks, to summer swimming at Crow Hill Pond, Leominster has everything that a mountain biker could desire.

A ride here will acquaint you not only with a variety of riding conditions but will serve to showcase a lot of Wachusett NEMBA's trailwork, including bridges and trail stabilization projects.

In the spring thousands of Rhododendron blooms color the forests trails. So many rhododendrons that along some trails it's almost hard to see anything else.

Stray off Leominster's many well maintained fire roads and you'll discover an intricate web of singletracks. These climb and descend a few low hills as they wind their way through the forest. Some are quite difficult, but most can be ridden by a rider with average skills.

I particularly favor the trails south of Rocky Pond Road, especially the ones to the west of Paradise Pond. There are a few hiking only trails near the forest's main parking area. But most of the trails and all of the old roads in the forest are open to bikes.

In the summer I park in the main parking area and use Crow Hill Pond beach to cool off after my rides. For the rest of the year I park in the dirt parking lot about a half mile south of that on Rocky Pond Road. The Wolf Rock Trail links both of these parking areas together.

Every time I ride at Leominster I kick myself for not getting back here more often. Give Leominster a try and you'll see why. There are weekly rides put on by Wachusett NEMBA members. Check NEMBA's Weekly Ride List to get more information.
          
Directions:
From Route 2 take exit 28 and head south. After a couple of miles you'll see the forest's headquarters on your right, and shortly thereafter the main parking area near Crow Hill Pond on your left. This is a good place to park if you're bringing family members who might like to picnic or swim while you ride. However, many people prefer the dirt parking lot about a half mile south of that at the intersection of Rocky Pond Road.

Cautions:
If you park in the main parking area expect to see a lot of people on the trail leading towards Rocky Pond Road. Bring a map with you when you ride as it's easy to get confused and while the DCR map doesn't have every trail in the forest, it will get you back to your starting area. Expect to see hunters during hunting season. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)

By Bill Boles Read more about [node:title]

Links to Relevant Resources

Central MA

Kenneth Dubuque State Forest, Hawley

400 W Hawley Rd
Hawley  Massachusetts  01339
United States

Easy

25%

Moderate

55%

Difficult

20%

Description

Breaking News: NEMBA & DCR PARTNER TO OPEN 15-MILE SINGLETRACK TRAIL NETWORK AT DUBUQUE STATE FOREST

 

Charlemont-Hawley get a $14000 Trail Grant

 

The Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest, (formerly called the Hawley State Forest), is located 25 miles west of the Connecticut river among the northwestern slopes of Massachusetts' Berkshires. At 7,822 acres it is the state's seventh largest state forest. Many of the forest's roads, though unpaved, are maintained for vehicular traffic. There are plenty of hills, a few long singletracks and lots of doubletracks. Dubuque doesn't have a campground and its two small lakes are used mostly for fishing. Although, I have enjoyed swimming in Hallockville Pond. Dubuque is a mountain biker's paradise nicely juxtaposing moderately hard rolling woods roads and technically difficult singletrack trails.

The best place to start riding is forest headquarters. From there head uphill on Klingholt Road and try not to get lost on the hilly paths that keep branching off this old woods road. Clean your glasses because the scenery besides this particular road will forever after define the term "deep woods" in you're mind. After passing through a metal forest gate, check out the abandoned apple orchard right in front of you. In season there are great tasting apples here for snacking. Also, as you'll observe, this area is a very popular deer yard. I suggest bearing left up through the field and then going right onto a usually muddy old jeep road. There are any number of good riding options off that road, including a few singletracks that you won't want to miss.

If you plan things right, or get very lucky, you'll cross Route 8A, on a very steep downhill. This will be at Dubuque's snowmobile parking lot about 1 1/2 miles north of your start. (Or you may come out on Route 8A 1/2 mile north of there in West Hawley Center.)

Watch out for the bridge at the far end of the parking lot. It's usable, but the last time I was there it was missing a few planks. And get ready for a long hill. Now you're in the eastern part of the forest where you'll find the majority of the riding. A simple non-repetitive tour around Dubuque's most obvious woods roads will net you a 20-25 mile ride. But that's only for starters.

I feel that many of the best trails are in the eastern part of the forest north and south of Hallockville road. And because they see little use in the summer, save for mountain bikes, they are quite secluded and private. In particular you want to head North (downhill) on three trails, Gould Meadow Trail, the steep frightening Marsh Trail singletrack and The Moody Springs Trail, which some feel is the best example of a downhill in the Berkshires.

Dubuque has frequent, repetitive, elevation changes of between 200 - 400 feet. These provide an unexpected benefit, interval training compliments of Mother Nature.

Dubuque is a good example of the Second Law of Singletrack Placement which roughly correlates the frequency of singletracks, and their use, or lack of same, with nearby population pressure. Not only does Dubuque lack a nearby population center but it's located just west of the 10,500 acre Savoy State Forest and just south of the 6,547 acre Mohawk Trail State Forest. You would need a motorized vehicle, a mountain bike, hiking boots and a week's time to adequately explore all three of these areas. A fringe benefit of this isolation is solitude. You will rarely meet any other trail users in Dubuque. Therefore smart riders should be totally self reliant, or part of a group.

As Dubuque is surrounded by mostly unpaved woodlands, a town road map, or a geological survey map is essential for keeping yourself unlost. The DEM's latest Dubuque Forest map shows few of the surrounding roadways, but fails to show many of the forest's paths and trails. And some of the trails on the map, don't exist on the ground any more. This is very confusing, especially when you arrive at a 4-way intersection that's not even on the map. Also many of Dubuque's roads and trails extend quite a ways beyond the forests boundaries. So it's easy to ride out of the forest and off the map. I went on one such ride recently, starting at Hallockville Pond, we rode to the forest fire lookout tower in nearby Savoy State Forest and back. About a 21 mile round trip.

In the fall of 1996 NEMBA hosted the Northeast Mountain Bike Advocacy Summit at Dubuque. Spending a four day weekend riding in the forest has greatly improved my impression of the place. As well as familiarizing me with a whole bunch of previously unknown trails. In recent years Pioneer Valley NEMBA members, working with The Staff of the forest, have created some excellent new singletracks. Most of these are located to the north of Hallockville Road in the central part of the forest. Unfortunately the trails are not yet on the map.

You'll enjoy exploring Dubuque.There are plenty of opportunities for easy, as well as, challenging rides. Just don't forget to bring a map.

There are three maps at the top of this page. When the final version of the new DCR map is available it will replace the DCR map.

 

Directions:
The Kenneth Dubuque State Forest is located mostly in the town of Hawley, Massachusetts. From Route 2 go about 5 miles south on Route 8a until you reach forest headquarters. Alternatively, forest headquarters is about 1/2 mile north of the junctions or Routes 116 and 8A on 8A.   

Rules:
There will be a lot of hunters in the forest during hunting season. Wear orange. However, there is no hunting in Massachusetts on Sunday. Don't expect the trails in this forest to dry out until late may at the earliest. Snow can fall, and stay any time after Halloween.

By Bill Boles Read more about [node:title]

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