Northfield Mountain Trail System In Massachusetts

Here is everything you need to know about the Northfield Mountain Trail System:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Length: 33 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: The Trustees of Reservations
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website:

The Northfield Mountain Trail System is located in Northfield, Massachusetts, and has a rich historical background. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Pocumtuc and Nipmuc peoples, who utilized the Connecticut River Valley for fishing, hunting, and agriculture. European settlers arrived in the 17th century, establishing Northfield as a farming community.

In the late 19th century, the landscape of Northfield underwent significant changes with the construction of the Northfield Mountain Reservoir. Completed in 1905, the reservoir was created to provide water for the growing industrial cities downstream. The reservoir required the flooding of several towns, including Northfield, leading to the relocation of many residents. The construction of the reservoir also resulted in the creation of the Northfield Mountain Trail System.

The Northfield Mountain Trail System was developed in the 1970s as a recreational resource for the local community and visitors. The trails wind through the picturesque landscape surrounding the reservoir, offering stunning views of the water and surrounding hills. The system includes a variety of trails, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, catering to different skill levels and interests. The trails are well-maintained and marked, making them accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers throughout the year.

Today, the Northfield Mountain Trail System continues to be a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, providing a glimpse into the area’s history while offering opportunities for recreation and exploration.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Northfield Mountain Visitor Center: This is the main access point for the Northfield Mountain Trail System. It offers parking, restrooms, and information about the trails.

2. Riverview Picnic Area: Located near the Visitor Center, this access point provides parking and a picnic area for visitors.

3. Riverview Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Riverview Picnic Area and offers access to various trails, including the Riverview Trail.

4. Northfield Mountain Recreation Area: This access point is located near the Visitor Center and provides parking, restrooms, and access to multiple trails.

5. Trolley Bed Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Northfield Mountain Recreation Area and offers access to the Trolley Bed Trail.

6. Bear Mountain Trailhead: Located near the Northfield Mountain Recreation Area, this trailhead provides access to the Bear Mountain Trail.

7. Barton Cove Trailhead: This access point is located near Barton Cove and offers parking and access to the Barton Cove Trail.

8. Riverview Boat Launch: Located near the Riverview Picnic Area, this access point provides parking and access to the Connecticut River for boating and fishing.

9. Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project: This access point is located near the Visitor Center and offers parking and access to the Pumped Storage Project trails.

10. Northfield Mountain Recreation Area Campground: This access point is located within the campground and provides parking and access to the trail system for campers.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Northfield Mountain Trail System. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads within the trail system as well.

Transportation Available

1. Northfield Taxi – Local taxi service providing transportation in and around the Northfield Mountain Trail System.
2. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) – Public bus service offering transportation options to and from the Northfield Mountain Trail System.
3. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service available for convenient transportation to and from the Northfield Mountain Trail System.
4. Lyft – Another on-demand ride-hailing service providing transportation services in the vicinity of the Northfield Mountain Trail System.
5. Greenfield Community Transportation – Local transportation service offering rides to and from the Northfield Mountain Trail System and surrounding areas.


The Northfield Mountain Trail System offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There is ample parking space provided for visitors’ vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail system offers designated camping sites for those who wish to stay overnight. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack amidst the natural surroundings. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Hiking Trails: The trail system offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging, allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area.

6. Biking Trails: There are biking trails available for those who prefer to explore the area on two wheels. These trails may have different difficulty levels to cater to various skill levels.

7. Cross-country Skiing: During the winter months, the trail system offers cross-country skiing opportunities. Visitors can enjoy gliding through the snowy landscape on designated trails.

8. Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is another winter activity available at the Northfield Mountain Trail System. Visitors can rent snowshoes and explore the trails at their own pace.

9. Wildlife Viewing: The trail system provides opportunities for wildlife viewing. Visitors may encounter various bird species, mammals, and other creatures along the trails.

10. Interpretive Signage: Throughout the trail system, there may be interpretive signage providing information about the local flora, fauna, and history of the area.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center – Offers lodging, food services, and emergency services at the trailhead.
2. Northfield Inn – Nearby lodging option with comfortable rooms and amenities.
3. The Trailside Store – Provides food services and supplies for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Northfield Fire Department – Emergency services available for any unforeseen incidents.
5. Northfield Police Department – Emergency services and law enforcement support for the trail system.
6. Northfield Hospital – Emergency medical services for any medical emergencies.
7. Northfield Diner – Local eatery serving delicious meals for hikers and visitors.
8. Northfield Pizza – Pizza restaurant offering quick and tasty food options.
9. Northfield Market – Convenient store for snacks, drinks, and other supplies.
10. Northfield Pharmacy – Pharmacy services for any medical needs or emergencies.

Northfield Mountain Trail System Difficulty Notes

The Northfield Mountain Trail System offers a variety of difficulty levels to cater to hikers of all abilities. With over 25 miles of trails, ranging from easy to moderate to challenging, there is something for everyone. The easy trails provide a leisurely stroll through the picturesque landscape, perfect for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed hike. The moderate trails offer a slightly more challenging terrain, with some elevation gain and uneven surfaces, providing a good workout for intermediate hikers. For the more experienced and adventurous hikers, the challenging trails present steep climbs, rocky sections, and longer distances, offering a thrilling and demanding experience. Overall, the Northfield Mountain Trail System provides a diverse range of difficulty levels, ensuring that hikers of all skill levels can enjoy the beauty of the area while challenging themselves accordingly.

Features And Attractions

The Northfield Mountain Trail System offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the trail system:

1. Northfield Mountain Visitor Center: Start your journey at the visitor center, where you can learn about the area’s history, wildlife, and trail maps.

2. Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center: This center offers educational programs, exhibits, and interactive displays about the Connecticut River and the surrounding environment.

3. Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project: As you hike, you’ll come across the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project, a hydroelectric power station that utilizes the natural flow of the Connecticut River.

4. Riverview Picnic Area: Enjoy a scenic picnic spot along the Connecticut River, offering beautiful views of the water and surrounding landscape.

5. Northfield Mountain Overlook: This overlook provides stunning panoramic views of the Connecticut River Valley, with the river winding through the picturesque countryside.

6. Tully Mountain: Located near the trail system, Tully Mountain offers a challenging hike and rewards you with breathtaking views from its summit.

7. Barton Cove: This natural landmark is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and birdwatching. It features a diverse ecosystem and is home to various bird species.

8. Erving State Forest: Adjacent to the trail system, Erving State Forest offers additional hiking trails, camping areas, and a beautiful pond for swimming and fishing.

9. French King Bridge: This historic bridge spans the Connecticut River and offers a unique vantage point to admire the river and surrounding scenery.

10. Farley Ledges: A popular rock climbing destination, Farley Ledges provides stunning views of the valley and is known for its unique geological formations.

These are just a few of the many attractions you can explore along the Northfield Mountain Trail System. Each season brings its own beauty, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are allowed on designated trails only.
– Stay on marked trails and do not create new paths.
– Respect seasonal restrictions and trail closures.
– No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails.
– Hunting and fishing are not permitted on the trail system.
– Camping and fires are prohibited.
– Do not disturb or harm wildlife or plant life.
– Pack out all trash and leave no trace.
– Be considerate of other trail users and yield to hikers and equestrians.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trails.

Seasonal Information

The Northfield Mountain Trail System, located in Northfield, Massachusetts, offers a picturesque and diverse landscape for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. The best times of the year to visit this trail system largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. However, the spring and fall seasons are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage.

In the spring, as the snow melts away, the trails come alive with blooming wildflowers and the sound of rushing streams. Hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy the moderate temperatures and the opportunity to witness the awakening of nature. The trails are usually less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings.

During the fall, the Northfield Mountain Trail System transforms into a breathtaking display of colors as the leaves change. The vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow create a stunning backdrop for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an ideal time to explore the trails and take in the beauty of the New England countryside.

It is important to note that the Northfield Mountain Trail System has seasonal closures to protect the natural environment and ensure visitor safety. The trails are typically closed during the winter months when snow and ice make them hazardous. However, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities during this time, as the trails are groomed for winter sports enthusiasts.

Additionally, some sections of the trail system may be temporarily closed for maintenance or restoration work. It is advisable to check with the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center or their website for any closures or updates before planning a visit.

Overall, the best times to visit the Northfield Mountain Trail System are in the spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant, and the scenery is at its most captivating. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, or simply immersing yourself in nature’s beauty, this trail system offers a memorable experience throughout the year.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A level and paved area at the beginning of the trail system, allowing easy access for wheelchair users.
3. Wide and Paved Trails: The trails are wide enough and made of a smooth surface, such as asphalt or concrete, to accommodate wheelchair users.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features, such as grab bars and wider doorways, to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options for wheelchair users.
6. Signage with Braille: Trail signs and information boards include Braille translations for individuals with visual impairments.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at various points along the trail system designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
8. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints or overlooks with designated areas that provide wheelchair users with unobstructed views.
9. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail system designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including tactile elements and audio descriptions.
10. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps available in accessible formats, such as large print or digital versions compatible with screen readers, for individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

When visiting the Northfield Mountain Trail System, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Trail Conditions: Before heading out, check the trail conditions and weather forecast. Be aware of any closures, hazards, or maintenance activities that may affect your hike.

2. Proper Attire: Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the trail conditions. Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions and bring rain gear if necessary. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes or boots with good traction.

3. Hydration: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated throughout your hike. It is recommended to bring at least one liter of water per person, more if the weather is hot or if you plan on an extended hike.

4. Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Consider using insect repellent to prevent bug bites, especially during warmer months.

5. Trail Markings: Familiarize yourself with the trail markings and signs along the trail system. Follow the designated paths and avoid venturing off-trail to prevent getting lost or damaging the surrounding environment.

6. Wildlife Awareness: Be aware of your surroundings and respect the wildlife. Keep a safe distance from any animals you encounter and do not feed or approach them. If you encounter larger wildlife, such as bears or moose, give them plenty of space and do not disturb them.

7. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone and inform someone of your hiking plans, including your expected return time. In case of an emergency, call 911 or the appropriate emergency services number. It is also advisable to carry a basic first aid kit and know how to use it.

8. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and disposing of it properly. Respect the environment and do not disturb or remove any natural features, plants, or artifacts.

9. Hiking with Others: Whenever possible, hike with a partner or in a group. This ensures safety in case of an accident or emergency. If hiking alone, inform someone of your plans and expected return time.

10. Physical Fitness: Assess your physical fitness level and choose trails that match your abilities. Start with shorter, easier trails if you are a beginner or gradually increase the difficulty as you gain experience. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed.

Remember, safety is paramount when enjoying the Northfield Mountain Trail System. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Conservation Notes

The Northfield Mountain Trail System is considered to have a favorable conservation status due to its protected and well-maintained natural environment. The trail system is located within the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, which is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). As a result, the area is subject to strict conservation regulations and practices.

The Northfield Mountain Trail System is situated in a region that is recognized for its ecological significance and biodiversity. The trails traverse through diverse habitats, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, providing a home to a wide range of plant and animal species. The conservation efforts in this area aim to preserve and protect these habitats, ensuring the long-term survival of the native flora and fauna.

To maintain the conservation status of the Northfield Mountain Trail System, the DCR implements various measures. These include regular monitoring and assessment of the trail conditions, as well as the implementation of sustainable trail management practices. The DCR also conducts educational programs and outreach activities to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and responsible trail use among visitors.

Overall, the conservation status of the Northfield Mountain Trail System is considered to be in good standing. The area’s protected status, combined with the efforts of the DCR, ensures the preservation of its natural resources and the promotion of sustainable recreational activities for visitors to enjoy.

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