Biking on Ashuwillticook
Lanesborough, Cheshire, Adams, MA
(413) 442-8928 (Western Reg. HQ)
The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a former railroad corridor converted into a 10-foot wide paved, universally accessible, passive recreation path. The Ashuwillticook runs parallel to Route 8 through the towns of Cheshire, Lanesborough and Adams. The southern end of the rail trail begins at the entrance to the Berkshire Mall off MA Rte. 8 in Lanesborough and travels 11.2 miles north to the center of Adams. Parking lots and restrooms are available at selected locations along the way.
The rail trail passes through the Hoosic River Valley, between the Mount Greylock and the Hoosac Mountain Ranges. Cheshire Reservoir, the Hoosic River, and associated wetlands flank much of the trail offering outstanding views of the scenery and abundant wildlife. The name Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-will-ti-cook) derives from the Native American word for the south branch of the Hoosic River and literally means "at the in-between pleasant river," or in common tongue, "the pleasant river in between the hills." The name was adopted for the trail as a way to reconnect people to local history and the natural environment.
History of the Rail Corridor
In 1845, the Pittsfield & North Adams Railroad developed this
corridor with the goal of extending the Housatonic Railroad north
to Rutland, Vermont. While the track was under construction, the
company was acquired by the Western Railroad, which later became
the Boston & Albany Railroad. Mineral traffic developed on the
line and a number of limestone operations went into business. The
New York Central took over the B&A in 1900, and upgraded the
line, which was sold to the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1981.
As a connection to an existing track in North Adams, Boston &
Maine ran the line with declining success until they abandoned rail
service in 1990. Seeing the potential for recreational use of the
corridor, citizens organized to preserve the right-of-way, eventually
gaining the local and political support needed to make this rail
trail a reality.
Things to know before you go…
- Bring your bike, roller blades or walking shoes: The rail trail is accessible from dawn to dusk. Commuters with appropriate lights may use the trail after dark at their own risk. Roller bladers please use non-metal tipped poles. During the winter the trail is open to cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, conditions permitting.
- Please obey all rules: Children 16 years or younger must wear a helmet. When riding keep to the right. When stopped do not block path. Alert others when passing; stay on trail and respect adjacent private property. Use caution when using designated auto road crossings.
- Comfort stations are located at the trail parking areas off Berkshire Mall Road and Farnams Road. Comfort stations are open during daylight hours from mid-May to mid-September.
- Universal Access: For information on hand cycle availability and programs, contact DCR's Universal Access Program at (413) 545-5353.
- Regional Visitor Center: The Berkshire Visitors Bureau in downtown Adams offers full service visitor information and lodging reservations, accessible restrooms, and exhibits. Open daily, 8:30am-5pm.
- Special Events are permitted by reservation only. Please contact (413) 499-7003 for information and Special Use Permit application.
- Pets are permitted. Must be on a 10-foot maximum leash and attended at all times. Must have proof of current Rabies vaccine. Please be courteous and clean up after your pet.
- Camping is available nearby at Mount Greylock State Reservation or Clarksburg State Park.
- Prohibited: Motorized vehicles, alcoholic beverages, feeding geese or any wildlife.
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is located in the central-northern Berkshires in western
Massachusetts. Click here to view location
From the South, East and West/Mass Pike (I-90): Take Exit 2 in Lee. Follow US Rte. 20 west to US Rte. 7 north for 11 miles to downtown Pittsfield. At Park Square rotary follow East Street for 3.25 miles (East St. becomes Merrill Road after 1.5 miles) to intersection of MA Rte. 9 and MA Rte. 8. Continue straight through intersection on Rte. 8 north for 1.5 miles to Lanesborough-Pittsfield line. Turn left at lights for Berkshire Mall Road entrance and rail trail parking. Farnams Road rail trail parking lot is 3.5 miles further on Rte. 8 north.
From the North, East and West/Rte. 2:
Take MA Rte. 2 in downtown North Adams to MA Rte. 8 south for 5.5 miles to Adams center. Look for brown Ashuwillticook signs. Turn left onto Hoosac Street, then immediate right onto Depot Street. Parking is at Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center on left. Access to rail trail is behind the Visitors Center.
Parking areas are located along MA Rte. 8 at: the southern trailhead on Berkshire Mall Road in Lanesborough; Farnams Road and Church Street in Cheshire; and in Adams at Russell Field off Harmony St., and northern trailhead at the Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center, 3 Hoosac Street. Parking is free.
Other MassParks Rail Trails
Nashua River Rail Trail
Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable, 11 miles
Norwottuck Rail Trail,
Northampton – Belchertown, 10.5 miles
Cape Cod Rail Trail,
Dennis - Wellfleet, 22 miles