Heading out for a hike with your pawtastic pup in Massachusetts? Be sure to check out the Mass Central Rail Trail, Northampton Section, for a pup-friendly hike through this beautiful area of the city of Northampton.
The Northampton section of this pawrific trail is part of the larger Mass Central Rail Trail which meanders over 38 miles across the state. Pick up the trailhead of this 5 miles stretch at the VA Medical Center parking lot. There is a dedicated Park and Ride/Rail Trail parking lot on the left of the parking entrance. Here you will begin your 5.3-mile hike through Northampton!
The trail is relatively level and is completely asphalt paved, making it easily traversed by people and pups. There is also handicapped accessibility here. Your hike will take you through parts of the downtown area, as well as through the neighboring villages of Leeds and Florence. Scenic views of the Mill River follow the path for over 1 mile in the north section of the trail, and you and your fur-ever friend will get to traverse two historic stone-arched bridges along the way.
Other features of the trail include Look Park and the Barrett Street Marsh. You will find restrooms and drinking fountains at these locations, but accessibility to other facilities are limited on the rest of the trail, so plan accordingly. Be sure to keep your pup on leash throughout your hike, which is a requirement for the entire length of the Mass Central Rail Trail. Pack clean up mitts as well to keep this hike pup-friendly for others.
This is a shared trail with other outdoor enthusiasts such as bicyclers and joggers, so keep your pup close and allow others to pass. Parts of the trail are shaded, but a large portion is not, so keep this in mind when planning your hike during the hot, summer months.
The Mass Central Rail Trail, Northampton Section hike, is a pawtastic day waiting to happen!