The unique scope of Connecticut River Greenway State Park encompasses open spaces, parks, scenic vistas, archaeological and historic sites, along Massachusetts’s Connecticut River.
The park is confined to a linear region alongside 69 miles of the Connecticut River in the state of Massachusetts. The parks midpoint is west of the city of Northampton. The park is a recent addition to the Massachusetts State Parks system.
Twelve miles of protected riverfront land, seven boat launches, Mt. Sugarloaf State Reservation and the Great Falls Discovery Center at Turner Falls are within its boundaries. The park contains the natural resources of Mt. Toby (1,269’), Mt. Sugarloaf (652”), and the Norwotttuck Rail trail.
Due to the extent of Connecticut River Greenway State Park a variety of recreational opportunities are available. The expanse of river access provides opportunities for paddling and the water sports of canoeing, and kayaking with beaches to enjoy. The river’s bass, walleyed pike with an excellent run of shad in spring attract fishermen.
Activities include backpacking, camping, hiking, horseback riding, bike touring, mountain biking, and rock climbing. There is bird watching with nature and Historic Sites for exploration. Hunting game and waterfowl is permitted in season. During winter months there is cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and winter camping.
Connecticut River Greenway State Park also supports less active pursuits of scenic drives, picnicking, with nearby lodging and restaurants. Several visitor centers have children’s activities and guided tours, throughout the state park.
Norwotttuck Rail Trail is a 10-mile multi use trail following old Boston & Maine Railroad track right of way. It extends from the Connecticut River to Northampton. The trail is for walking, running, bicycling, and cross-country skiing in winter. Motorized vehicles and horse travel is prohibited. Parking is at each end of the trail and at the halfway point in Hadley.
South Sugarloaf Mountain at 652’ has cliffs made of arkose sandstone with prominent landscape features visible for miles. Arkose sandstone is a sedimentary rock, composed of feldspar, quartz with small amounts of mica.
French King Gorge was formed thousands of years ago as an ecologic, scenic gem with one of the most unique views in the state from the bridge of route 2. Dinosaur Footprints is an 8-acre wilderness reservation. The parks primary attraction is dinosaur footprints in sandstone beds bordering the Connecticut River. Giant bipedal carnivorous dinosaur produced these 134 individual footprints. It is open daily from April 1 to November 30.
Northampton is a 5 hour drive of 317 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 east past Albany into Massachusetts. Drive past the border into Massachusetts to Springfield then US 91 north to Northampton.
Connecticut River Greenway State Park seems to be a park for everyone, having nearly every outdoor activity. But prior to a visit it would be helpful to spend time on the web finding what part of the vast park you wish to visit. Next time you will surely return to enjoy another area of the park.