Central MA

Central MA

Hodges Village Dam

40 Howarth Rd
Oxford  Massachusetts  01540
United States

(508) 248-5697

Easy

50%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

20%

Description

 Hodges Village Dam, located less than a mile west of the Sutton Avenue exit (4W) of Route 395, on Howarth Road off Charlton Street, Oxford, MA, has some of the most diverse and interesting trails in central MA. There is no permanent lake behind the dam which was built by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control. It is filled only temporarily with runoff from rainwater which would otherwise cause flooding problems downstream. The lands upstream of the dam are open to the public providing hundreds of acres of forest, shrub meadows, glacial topography and wetlands, all interlaced with outstanding trails.

 

Few of the trails are blazed and signed but they are well-used and easy to follow. Exploring the network of trails could take you days as they wind around the tops of glacial terraces, foundations of long-abandoned buildings and travel an old railroad bed and woods roads. The Corps permits properly registered motorized trail bikes on the west side of the French river only; mountain bikes are welcome on either side of the river. The hardpacked trails are well used and relatively easy to negotiate. The overused sections - you'll find a few - are rock strewn and exposed roots can make even slow going a challenge %3A(I have the bruises to prove it.) Mountain bikers don't crash, they "bonk".

 

The entire area can be traversed on woods roads or the west side's old railroad bed in less than an hour, but the meandering trails are far more scenic and challenging. The walk back to our car with a flat or broken bike may take a few hours, provided you know which direction you came from. A helmet, patch kit, pump and water are always good ideas.

 

The Mid-State Hiking trail runs across the area from west to east, crossing he French River at the dam. It was laid out for foot traffic and maintained by volunteers who would prefer to see it stay that way. There are only a few narrow singletrack sections which leave the relatively wide woods roads, and I recommend avoiding these while biking. The trail is well marked with yellow triangles and signs, so it is easy to avoid.

 

Parking is available at Hodges Village Dam, at Greenbrier Recreation Area on Route 12 (run by the town of Oxford) and at the motorcycle trailhead on the old railroad bed off Clara Barton Road at the north end of the area. Maps are available free from the Corps By calling the Park Manager, Timothy Russell, at (508)248-5697.

 

**Reprinted through the courtesy of the Quinebaug Redwing.

--Bob Hancock Read more about Hodges Village Dam

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Central MA

Greenfield, Ma - Green River, VT

32 Eunice Williams Dr
Greenfield  Massachusetts  01301
United States

Easy

90%

Moderate

10%

Difficult

0%

Description

Location:
Greenfield Massachusetts to Green River Vermont


Difficulty:
Easy:90%   Note: This ride requires considerable endurance


Description:
Greenfield, MA to Green River, VT
Dirt Road Ride
   
Summary: The ride is predominantly dirt roads from just south of West Leyden on the Green River up to the hamlet of Green River, VT and back again. A number of alternate routes may be taken to either lengthen or shorten the trip, or to include more or less climbing. The route marked out on the map is about 30+ miles with 3,500 feet of climbing. In the past year a few miles of the route have been paved, but 90% is still dirt. The river and Sweet Water Pond offer many opportunities to soak legs or cool off.


Ride: Head north along the Green River, at Stewartville bear left up the hill on New County Road. This is a very long climb with few respites, but beautiful views (great places to stop for lunch all along this route). At Grove either continue on straight and down the hill to Green River (a very fast downhill, rigid bikes beware of stutter bumps) or turn west on the Jacksonville Stage Rd toward Halifax. In Halifax go straight toward West Halifax or turn North toward Deer Park and follow the road back to Green River. If you go to West Halifax turn right in the village on Brook Road and head north. At Green River Road turn right and ride back toward Green River. Some of this is now paved.


In Green River riders have the choice of either continuing south along the river (the easiest and coolest route), or to head east up Stage Road. This is another long climb with some pavement continue East until intersecting with Sweet Pond Rd then head south and follow toward Sweet Pond Rd (more hill) toward Sweet Pond State Park. If you go all the way to the pond, you will have to turn back to N Belden Hill Rd. towards Packers Corner. At the top of this hill there is a house with a shed on the right which has good well water. Ask if, if anyone is home, but in a pinch just fill up. Keep heading south past Packer's corner (Old County Road). The road along here is very poorly maintained. You may have to walk if it is wet. At the end of the road you will come to a T. Go west toward W. Leyden and the Green River Road and directly back to the parking area, or go east and follow the paved road down to The Greenfield Road. Continue South until you come to Eunice Williams Dr. and head North then East, pass through the covered bridge (stop for a swim at the swimming hole) then up the hill to the parking area. It should take between 4 - 5 hours depending on breaks. Bring lots of water!


Directions:

From the South , I-91 N to intersection with Route 2 in Greenfield, MA, go west under I-91 and take your 1st right at the traffic light on Colrain road. Follow Colrain Rd until you reach a Y in the road. Bear right on Plain Road and continue north. Plain road will intersect with and become Green River Rd. Continue straight north on South Green River Road until reaching Eunice Williams Drive. EWD is a blocked road leading down to a covered bridge (OK for bikes and pedestrians, but not for cars.). Park at the junction of EWD and S. Green River Road at the small dirt parking area.

Cautions:

This is a very long ride. Expect to spend the better part of a day completing it.

By Don Myers Read more about Greenfield, Ma - Green River, VT

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Central MA

Erving State Forest

94 Laurel Lake Rd
Warwick  Massachusetts  01378
United States

978 544-3939

Easy

50%

Moderate

45%

Difficult

5%

Description

Erving State Forest is located in midwestern Massachusetts in the towns of Erving and Warwick. It's an excellent base for a weekend in the Berkshires, especially during foliage season.

Erving's 4,479 acres support miles of old town and logging roads some of which have degraded to technical singletracks and pleasant woodland doubletracks. In the Summer, a swim in Laurel Lake offers a wonderful break from a hot ride, and its parking lot is a perfect place to ride from. Much of the `trail' activity in the forest is done on snow, and these same well maintained snowmobile trails are great for trail bicycling in milder seasons.

In the Fall leaf lookers will appreciate the foliage, as well as the availability of campsites. Erving is right next door to Massachusett's Northern Berkshires which offer unparralled horizons of multicolored splendor, not only while you ride, but on nearly all of the paved roads from Erving West to New York State.

I have never seen so many varieties of trees in one area as are present in the Erving State Forest. A local naturalist tells me that's because Erving is right on the dividing line between Northern and Southern New England forests cultures. In any case the diversity of woodland flora is pretty impressive. And to my un-educated eyes a lot of the trees appear to be `old growth' in nature.

Riding up through the campground from the Laurel Lake parking lot and then taking one of the two old woods roads leading South provide one with the best of terrain and the least uphill pushing. My favorite trails include Cut Off, Mountain and Pinacle Roads. Returning to the parking lot on the Paved Quarry Road or High Street will save you a lot of uphill sweat. I prefer riding down hard singletracks to pushing up them. Another easy route to the `top' of the forest is on Moss Brook Road. A wondefully secluded, smoothly graded, gentile uphill woodland climb. Take the trail out of the snowmobile parking lot and you'll have a very tdifficult climb, but it is do-able. I particularly enjoy riding "The Chute" in the western part of the forest as a downhill. And linking it with the "Bear Loop" will give you a pretty good look at some pretty remote woodlands. Most of Erving's trails are actually old roads, and for the most part it's a pretty mellow place to ride. Good for families, especially in the summer when Laurel Lake beacons.

North of Laurel Lake Erving borders Warwick and Northfield State Forests. Following the marked snowmobile trails through these three state forests will give you 30-40 miles of riding on wonderful old New England forest roads. These woods roads range in difficulty from graded dirt roads to almost vanishing double and singletrack paths. You could spend more than a few days just riding from the campground at the Erving State Forest without getting bored. Or, you could head 5 miles South and ride in nearby Wendell State Forest.

Riding in Western Massachusetts is fun. There are many large state forests, few people, lots of open spaces and great heaping gobs of unspoiled Mother Nature. But, directionality is important. It makes a lot sense to go uphill on something that's relatively smooth and downhill on something that's relatively technical. The opposite is more work and much less fun. So, in addition to carrying a DCR map, I recommend that you carry a geological survey map. The survey map will clue you in to the relative difficulty of what you'll be riding and also give you advance notice of elevation changes. If you have one of the newer DEM forest maps, you will see contour lines. However the detail on the newer maps leaves much to be desired as many trails and paths are missing.

DCR maps are available on-line. On the map below I've sketched in suggestions for some great riding. 

 

As always, maps are only a guide. Exploring is what follows and that's what's the most fun. Read more about Erving State Forest

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Central MA

Douglas State Forest

96 Wallum Lake Rd
Douglas  Massachusetts  01516
United States

508 476-7872

Easy

30%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

20%

Description

In june of 1994, this state forest in southern Worcester County was the location for NEMBA's National Trails Day event. Douglas State Forest was chosen because of its centralized location where Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island come together, (a"Tri-State"marker is located in the southwestern corner of the forest).

Douglas is less than an hour's drive from Boston, Springfield, Hartford and Providence. Douglas State Forest also offered us the opportunity to plan routes for several good rides on its 30 plus miles of trails and dirt roads. With the exception of a few trails in its southeastern corner, which are limited to hiking only, all of its trails are open to mountain bikes as well as to other non-motorized trail users. While many of the forest's trails were created by and for motorcyclists, they lost permission to use the forests trails in the fall of 1996. Even so, many uninformed motorcyclists and ATV'rs are still out on the trails. While this latter prospect might give pause to some mountain bikers, the motorcycles are the creators of many of the singletrack trails we can enjoy riding on our bikes.


The forest is on a plateau with no major hills and a total elevation variation of around 300 feet. Many of the singletrack trails are very rocky, and they interlace amongst a number of two track woods roads and a network of loose surface gravel forest roads. It's possible to switch back and forth from tough technical going to easier doubletrack riding handily once you have figured out how it all holds together, This provides for a wide variety of riding experiences from beginner to advanced expert, simply by picking the trails to suit.

The trail map from the Departmen of Conservation and Recreation is usually available at forest headquarters on Wallum Lake south of route 16, which bisects the forest from west to west, (follow signs from route 16 if you choose to go there). It shows all the known trails, including some adjacent to the forest in neighboring Douglas Woods.

One suggested starting point is on Wallis St. just off route 16 near Whitin Reservoir. This is a dirt parking area opening directly onto a doubletrack into the forest. We don't suggest starting near forest headquarters as trails leading from there include those limited to hikers only. We normally park on Route 16 which is more centrally located. At a location near a metal gate where several of the forest dirt roads and trails cross that highway and run from there either north or south. This allows more flexibility in planning a route. (Don't block the gate if you choose to park there.)

Route 16 is easily accessed from the Webster interchange on Rt. I-395 just north of the Connecticut state line. The western boundary of the forest is about 3.5 miles east on Rt. 16 and in another 1.5 miles is the Cedar St. crossroads where a right turn leads to the forest headquarters (a sign is posted here) and a left turn leads to the Wallis St. parking area. There is a great swimming area near forest headquarters. Just follow the signs.

As a result of NEMBA's hosting National Trails Day events at Douglas State Forest, we undertook trail maintenance responsibilities for a section of about five miles of the Mid-State Trail where it runs through the forest from Rt. 16 to its northern boundary. The previous volunteer from a hiking group found advancing years were handicapping his effectiveness and NEMBA has volunteered to step in for this individual. We cleared this entire section as we have used much of it on the National Trails Day routes. It makes for very technical riding. We've been back each spring since to continue the job.

In a further effort towards trail maintainence, NEMBA's Symms Grant award for trail maintenance projects was, in part, spent in the forest, building bridges on this section of the Mid-State Trail. So even as this location becomes more significant to us as riders, this investment will add to our long term enjoyment of the forest's trails.

NEMBA's National Trails Day ride returned to Douglas State Forest in both 1995 and 1996. In the three years well over 600 NEMBA members and non-members enjoyed Douglas's extensive trail network and we have been enjoying them ever since. Why not join them.

By Bob Hicks Read more about Douglas State Forest

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Central MA

Charlemont Trails

200 Warfield Rd
Charlemont  Massachusetts  01339
United States

Easy

15%

Moderate

35%

Difficult

40%

Description

Charlemont Trails System

Trails Summary April 2012

The town of Charlemont MA.  is a hilltown community of about 1,300 residents located along the Deerfield River and the scenic Mohawk Trail in northwestern Massachusetts.


Settled in 1744, Charlemont covers 26 square miles and is still home to working farms and cottage industries as well as many recreational opportunities from mountain biking to whitewater rafting to downhill skiing.
The Charlemont Trails project is a joint venture between NEMBA and several landowners around the center of Town, and crossing to the south into neighboring Hawley MA.  The project began in the summer of 2010 with the construction of a 3 mile one-way trail from the summit of Mt. Institute to the parking lot at Berkshire East.  This trail, dubbed Billy’s World, features some nice bermed corners, several large rock features, and some planned boardwalks crossing the many seeps endemic to these hills (until the boardwalk project is completed, use caution and good judgment in riding or by-passing the wet areas).


The summer of 2011 saw much of the construction focus on the other side of the valley including buffing the major trails at Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort (notice the recursive acronymJ).  The lone exception was the construction of the E. Stranged Moose trail on the summit of Mt. Institute.  This trail winds circuitously for about 2 miles from just past the “T” at the top of East Rd. to the top of Billy’s World.

The Zoar trails were constructed, but un-blazed and suitable for very advanced riders only, prior to NEMBA’s assistance in re-routing, bridging, and bench-work.  The first trail, King Phillip’s, we recommend as the climbing trail of the pair, begins in the camping area and ascends to the top of the Zip-Line road.  The second, the West Side Trail, begins about 100 yards to the west of the top of King Phillip’s and descends back to the Zoar parking lot.  Connecting these two on the western shoulder of Warfield Mtn is the Little Rock Trail.  All of these three trails feature a nice mix of natural rock, twisty navigation of hummocks, occasional steeps, there is about 700 feet of elevation change from the Zoar parking area to the top of these trails.


Above and to the north and west of the Zoar trails are the trails most easily accessed from the Warfield House parking area. The main trail in this area is the Zoar-Warfield Connector.  This trail runs from the Warfield House banquet parking lot to the intersection of the Little Rock and West Side trails mentioned above.  This trail meanders through the sugarbush before ascending to the eastern shoulder of Warfield Mtn.  There is some nice exposure as the trail runs along some large boulders and cliffs.  At the mid-point of the Connector, is the intersection with the TV Tower Trail.  The TV Tower trail, as its name implies, climbs to the summit of Warfield Mtn, where the 1970s community television antennae tower is located.  Long obsolete courtesy of the dish throughout the community, the tower and shed still stand today.  At about the half-way point of the TV Tower trail, is the intersection with Get Smart, a circuitous adventure through the forest taking advantage of nearly every rock feature possible.  Get Smart and the TV Tower Trail, joint an access road just short of the summit, follow that, or detour onto Agent 99 for a more circuitous route to the top of Warfield Mtn.  Those faint of heart, or careful and wise by nature, might wish to avoid the rock spine just before you reach the top.

From the summit, visitors can either take the access road or opt for the more technical Lost around the Western Shoulder of Warfield Mtn.

Also accessible from the Warfield Parking Lot, are trails on the other side of Rice Brook.  Take the Brook Road, climb up to the Sound of Music Meadow.  From there, you have two options, less experienced riders can get a nice run through some of the least technical and flattest trails in Charlemont by taking a right at the far gate, then an immediate left onto Skidder.  This brings riders to the Druid Ridge area with about 2 miles of recovered running and hiking trails that skirt the ridge top.  Featured here are few rocks, gentle slopes and wide corners.  Those seeking more aggressive riding should take a left at the gate and follow Riddel Road to the top or Riddel Ridge.  From there they can catch the 3-mile tight, technical and challenging Red Zone trail and then the Rice Brook trail back to the bridge they crossed earlier.  Intermediate riders, may opt instead to look for a rock kiosk on the left and ride Sweet 16 to the mid-point of Red Zone or follow the Middle Loop Road back to the brook.

More trails added weekly, but this is a quick summary of what’s on the ground now.

Charlemont Trails aslo has its own website.

By Harold Green Read more about Charlemont Trails

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Wachusett

Wachusett NEMBA was founded in 1998 to improve the trails at Leominster State Forest.  We also work and ride in the Groton Town Forest, Townsend State Forest, the Midstate Trail and beyond.  We are expanding our initiatives to help develop new trail in Oakham and Spencer State Forests. We are also working closely with other volunteers at Treasure Valley Scout Reservation to enhance and expand their trail system. We host weekly rides and have organized trail days, so come ride and lend a hand.

Pioneer Valley

Pioneer Valley NEMBA operates in the Connecticut River Valley comprising Franklin, Hampshire and Hamden counties. Some of the key parks we work and ride in are Mt. Grace SF, Wendell SF, Mt. Toby Wildlife Management Area, Sugarloaf State Reservation, Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area, Erving SF, Dubuque SF, Holyoke Range SF, Robinson SP and the D.A.R. State Forest.

We welcome new members and volunteers, so join us to make the Pioneer Valley an even better place to ride.

PV NEMBA's Facebook Page keeps you current with chapter rides, events and discussions.

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