The East Quabbin Land Trust opened the full 3 mile section of the Mass Central Rail Trail in October 2015. Click here for a map of the area. This section of rail trail is open for passive recreational uses and access to the Ware River. The Ware River Snowmobile Club has a license to use and groom the trail during snow conditions. Wildlife including bear, otter, deer and coyotes are seen on the trail, along with numerous bird species.
Parking is located at the location of the former New Braintree train station at the intersection of Hardwick and West Roads in New Braintree. Pull off Depot Road near the kiosk and explore the one-mile section east towards Wheelwright. You’ll cross the Ware River on a historic pony truss bridge. Or head west passing over a historic lattice truss bridge until the trail ends at Creamery Road in Hardwick two miles from the parking location.
If you want more information about the railroad, please read the article on page 6 of the Summer Newsletter 2018 by Brad Blodgett. Lots of great information there.
Please adhere to the following rules:
- Please Be Considerate Of Other Trail Users
- For Your Safety, No Jumping From Bridges
- Open Dawn To Dusk
- Respect The Privacy Of Adjacent Property Owners
- DOJ Assessment Completed
- Hunt With Care, Watch For Walkers
- Please Do Not Litter
The Rail Trail passes through a mixed forest and rural countryside with good views of the Ware River and the Ware River Valley. The trees are a mix of white pines and various hardwoods including red oak, black birch, red maple and white ash. The understory shrub layer is dominated by invasive plants including bush honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose. Some areas are less disturbed than others and interesting spring wildflowers including trout lily and wild leek are found in upland silty soils. Small sections of open marsh along the river’s edge support blue joint grass, rice-cut grass, cattail, and reed canary grass with scattered patches of speckled alder. These areas provide potential nesting and resting habitat for wood turtles and may be used by a variety of uncommon odonate species. Several vernal pools are found along the rail trail at the tow of the slope straddling the property lines.
Passive recreational use is encouraged and can include walking, jogging, bicycling, horseback riding, nature study, and cross-country skiing. The use of snowmobiles in winter is limited by a lease agreement between the East Quabbin Land Trust and the Ware River Snowmobile Club. This access is allowed during appropriate snow conditions.
Individuals with limited mobility may use electric power driven mobility devices to experience the Rail Trail provided the mobility devices do not exceed 36 inches in width, speeds over 4 miles per hour, and weigh over 500 pounds. Visitors using other power-driven devices may request a single use day pass.