Manhan Rail Trail In Massachusetts

Here is everything you need to know about the Manhan Rail Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Length: 6 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Easthampton Conservation Commission
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website:

The Manhan Rail Trail, located in Massachusetts, has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century. Originally known as the “Northampton and Easthampton Rail Trail,” it was established in 1847 as a railroad line connecting the two towns. The rail line played a crucial role in the transportation of goods and passengers, serving as a vital link between the bustling industrial centers of Northampton and Easthampton.

During its early years, the rail line primarily transported agricultural products, such as tobacco, dairy, and lumber, from the rural areas to the urban markets. However, with the rise of industrialization in the late 19th century, the rail line became increasingly important for the transportation of manufactured goods, including textiles, machinery, and paper products. The Manhan Rail Trail played a significant role in supporting the growth and development of the local economy, facilitating trade and commerce between the two towns.

As the 20th century progressed, the rail line faced challenges due to the emergence of alternative modes of transportation, such as automobiles and trucks. With the decline in rail travel, the Northampton and Easthampton Rail Trail ceased operations in the 1980s. However, recognizing the historical significance and potential recreational value of the rail corridor, local communities and organizations came together to transform the abandoned rail line into a multi-use trail.

Through extensive efforts and community support, the rail corridor was converted into the Manhan Rail Trail, officially opening in 2003. The trail now spans approximately 6.8 miles, offering a scenic route for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts. Along the trail, visitors can still observe remnants of the rail line’s history, including old railroad bridges, mile markers, and other artifacts. The Manhan Rail Trail stands as a testament to the region’s industrial past and serves as a beloved recreational resource for the local community and visitors alike.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Easthampton: The trail begins at the Easthampton Bike Path, located at the intersection of Payson Avenue and Coleman Road.
2. Southampton: There is a trailhead located at the intersection of Route 10 and Pomeroy Meadow Road.
3. Westfield: The trail can be accessed from the Westfield Riverwalk, located at 121 Elm Street.
4. Northampton: The trail can be accessed from the Northampton Bike Path, located at Damon Road and King Street.
5. Florence: There is a trailhead located at the intersection of Meadow Street and Nonotuck Street.
6. Leeds: The trail can be accessed from the Leeds Bike Path, located at the intersection of Haydenville Road and Main Street.
7. Williamsburg: There is a trailhead located at the intersection of Route 9 and Old Goshen Road.
8. Haydenville: The trail can be accessed from the intersection of Main Street and Old Goshen Road.
9. Easthampton: The trail ends at the Manhan Rail Trail parking lot, located at the intersection of East Street and Lovefield Street.

Transportation Available

1. PVTA Bus Service – Local bus service connecting various towns and cities in the Pioneer Valley.
2. Amtrak – National passenger railroad service with a nearby station in Springfield.
3. Peter Pan Bus Lines – Long-distance bus service connecting various cities in the Northeast.
4. ValleyBike Share – Bike-sharing program offering convenient transportation options along the Manhan Rail Trail.
5. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service available in the area.
6. Lyft – Another on-demand ride-hailing service operating in the vicinity.
7. Taxi Services – Various local taxi companies providing transportation services.
8. Car Rental Agencies – Multiple car rental companies offering vehicles for rent in the area.
9. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) Paratransit – Specialized transportation service for individuals with disabilities.
10. Local Shuttle Services – Several shuttle services operating in the region, providing transportation to nearby attractions and towns.


The amenities available at the Manhan Rail Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are public restrooms available at various points along the trail, including at the trailheads or nearby parks.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas at different access points along the trail. These parking lots are usually located near trailheads or nearby parks.

3. Camping Sites: The Manhan Rail Trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there may be nearby campgrounds or parks that offer camping facilities.

4. Picnic Areas: There are several picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Benches: There are benches placed at regular intervals along the trail, providing resting spots for trail users.

6. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at certain points along the trail, allowing visitors to refill their water bottles.

7. Bike Racks: Bike racks are available at various locations along the trail, providing a secure place to park bicycles.

8. Information Kiosks: There are information kiosks located at different points along the trail, providing maps, trail information, and other useful resources.

9. Signage: The trail is well-marked with signage, indicating distances, directions, and points of interest.

10. Trash Receptacles: Trash receptacles are placed along the trail, encouraging visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

11. Dog Waste Stations: There are dog waste stations along the trail, providing bags and bins for pet owners to clean up after their dogs.

12. Accessibility: The trail is designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, with wheelchair-friendly paths and ramps at certain locations.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the trail and its proximity to nearby facilities. It is always recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information on amenities available at the Manhan Rail Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Northampton – Historic hotel offering comfortable accommodations in downtown Northampton.
2. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Northampton – Modern hotel with free breakfast and an indoor pool.
3. Quality Inn & Suites Northampton-Amherst – Affordable hotel with basic amenities and easy access to the rail trail.
4. The Ellery – Quaint bed and breakfast located near the rail trail, offering a cozy stay.
5. Northampton Lodging – Vacation rental options available near the Manhan Rail Trail.
6. Fitzwilly’s – Casual American restaurant serving comfort food classics in downtown Northampton.
7. Sylvester’s Restaurant – Family-friendly eatery offering American fare and a cozy atmosphere.
8. Jake’s – Local favorite for pizza, subs, and other quick bites.
9. Eastside Grill – Upscale restaurant serving American cuisine with a focus on fresh ingredients.
10. Northampton Brewery – Brewpub offering craft beers and a diverse menu of pub food.
11. Cooley Dickinson Hospital – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care and other healthcare services.

Manhan Rail Trail Difficulty Notes

The Manhan Rail Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for a wide range of users. The trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, making it accessible for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all ages and fitness levels. With a total length of 9.5 miles, the trail provides a good balance between challenge and enjoyment. While there are a few gentle inclines and declines along the way, they are generally manageable for most individuals. Overall, the Manhan Rail Trail offers a pleasant and enjoyable experience for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a moderately challenging adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Manhan Rail Trail is a popular recreational trail located in Massachusetts. Here are some scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions along the trail:

1. Connecticut River: The trail offers beautiful views of the Connecticut River, which is one of the longest rivers in the United States.

2. Mount Tom: Located near the trail, Mount Tom offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. It is a popular spot for hiking and picnicking.

3. Nashawannuck Pond: This picturesque pond is located near the trail and provides a tranquil setting for birdwatching and enjoying nature.

4. Historic Northampton: The trail passes through the town of Northampton, which is known for its rich history and charming downtown area. Explore the historic buildings, shops, and restaurants.

5. Mill River: The trail follows the Mill River for a portion of its route, offering scenic views of the river and its surrounding landscape.

6. Historic Mills: Along the trail, you will come across several historic mills that were once part of the region’s industrial past. Some of these mills have been repurposed into residential or commercial spaces.

7. Bike Bridges: The trail features several bike bridges that offer unique views of the surrounding area. These bridges are not only functional but also add to the aesthetic appeal of the trail.

8. Conservation Areas: The trail passes through or near various conservation areas, such as the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary and the Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. These areas provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying nature.

9. Easthampton Dike: This dike offers scenic views of the Connecticut River and is a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching.

10. Historic Rail Stations: The trail passes by or near several historic rail stations, such as the Northampton Rail Station and the Easthampton Rail Station. These stations are reminders of the area’s transportation history.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions along the Manhan Rail Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with a deeper appreciation for the region’s natural beauty and rich history.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
5. No littering or dumping of any kind.
6. No camping or overnight stays.
7. No open fires or barbecues.
8. No hunting or fishing along the trail.
9. No unauthorized motorized or non-motorized racing.
10. No unauthorized commercial activities or solicitation.
11. No use of alcohol or illegal substances.
12. No excessive noise or disruptive behavior.
13. No damaging or defacing of trail property or signage.
14. No unauthorized removal of plants, wildlife, or natural resources.
15. No unauthorized use of drones or other aerial devices.
16. No skating or skateboarding.
17. No unauthorized use of firearms or weapons.
18. No unauthorized use of fireworks or explosives.
19. No unauthorized motorized or non-motorized watercraft on adjacent water bodies.
20. Seasonal restrictions may apply during winter months or for specific events.

Seasonal Information

The Manhan Rail Trail, located in Massachusetts, offers a delightful outdoor experience for visitors throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage. During these seasons, visitors can enjoy pleasant walks or bike rides along the trail, taking in the beautiful scenery and the blooming flowers in spring or the stunning colors of the leaves in fall.

Summer is another great time to visit the Manhan Rail Trail, especially for those who enjoy warmer weather and outdoor activities. The trail provides a shaded path, making it a comfortable place for walking, jogging, or cycling even on hot days. Summer also offers the opportunity to explore the nearby parks and picnic areas along the trail, where visitors can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

It is important to note that the Manhan Rail Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During winter, sections of the trail may be closed due to snow or icy conditions, making it unsafe for use. It is advisable to check the trail’s official website or contact local authorities for the most up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions during the colder months.

Overall, the Manhan Rail Trail is a wonderful destination to visit year-round, with each season offering its own unique charm. Whether it’s the vibrant colors of fall, the blooming flowers of spring, or the warm sunshine of summer, there is always something to enjoy along this scenic trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance, providing easy access for individuals with mobility challenges.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: The trail entrance features a ramp or level access, allowing wheelchair users to enter the trail without encountering barriers.
3. Smooth and Paved Surface: The trail is paved with a smooth surface, ensuring a comfortable and accessible experience for wheelchair users.
4. Wide Pathways: The trail offers wide pathways, allowing individuals using wheelchairs or mobility devices to navigate comfortably alongside other trail users.
5. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities along the trail are equipped with accessible features, such as grab bars and wider doorways, to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
6. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail provides accessible benches and rest areas at regular intervals, offering individuals with mobility challenges a place to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
7. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals to enjoy outdoor dining and socializing.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains along the trail are designed to be accessible, with lower spouts and easy reach for individuals using wheelchairs or mobility devices.
9. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear and visible signage is provided along the trail, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can navigate easily and independently.
10. Accessible Crossings: Crossings along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, with curb cuts and tactile indicators for individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

When visiting the Manhan Rail Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay alert and aware: Always be mindful of your surroundings and stay alert while walking, running, or cycling on the trail. Pay attention to other trail users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and pets.

2. Follow trail rules and regulations: Familiarize yourself with the trail rules and regulations, such as speed limits, right-of-way guidelines, and any specific restrictions. These rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

3. Share the trail: The Manhan Rail Trail is a multi-use trail, so be considerate and share the trail with other users. Keep to the right side of the trail, pass on the left, and give audible warnings when overtaking others.

4. Use proper safety equipment: If you are cycling on the trail, always wear a helmet and use appropriate safety gear. Reflective clothing or accessories can also enhance visibility, especially during low-light conditions.

5. Be cautious at road crossings: The Manhan Rail Trail intersects with several roads, so exercise caution when crossing. Look both ways, obey traffic signals, and use designated crosswalks or pedestrian bridges whenever available.

6. Stay hydrated and carry essentials: Bring water and stay hydrated, especially during hot weather. It is also advisable to carry a cell phone, identification, and any necessary medications or first aid supplies.

7. Be mindful of weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changing conditions. Dress appropriately for the weather, wear sunscreen, and be cautious of slippery surfaces during rain or snow.

8. Avoid distractions: Avoid using headphones or engaging in activities that may distract you from your surroundings. Stay focused on the trail and be aware of any potential hazards or obstacles.

9. Report any safety concerns: If you notice any safety hazards, such as damaged trail surfaces, fallen trees, or suspicious activities, report them to the appropriate authorities or trail management.

10. Respect nature and wildlife: The Manhan Rail Trail passes through natural areas, so respect the environment and wildlife. Do not disturb or feed animals, stay on designated paths, and dispose of trash properly.

Remember, safety is a shared responsibility, and by following these guidelines, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for yourself and others on the Manhan Rail Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Manhan Rail Trail, located in Massachusetts, holds a significant conservation status due to its ecological importance and efforts to preserve its natural resources. The trail traverses through diverse habitats, including wetlands, woodlands, and meadows, providing a crucial corridor for wildlife movement and promoting biodiversity in the region. The conservation status of the Manhan Rail Trail is primarily focused on protecting and enhancing these habitats to ensure the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem.

Efforts to conserve the Manhan Rail Trail involve various strategies, such as habitat restoration, invasive species management, and water quality monitoring. Restoration projects aim to rehabilitate degraded areas along the trail, including wetland restoration to improve water retention and enhance wildlife habitat. Invasive species management is another crucial aspect of conservation, as it helps prevent the spread of non-native plants that can outcompete native species and disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Furthermore, water quality monitoring is conducted to assess the health of the wetlands and streams along the trail. This monitoring helps identify potential pollution sources and guides conservation actions to maintain the integrity of the waterways. By actively managing and conserving the natural resources along the Manhan Rail Trail, conservationists and local authorities strive to protect the ecological value of the trail and ensure its sustainability for future generations.

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