New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail (Northampton Section)

The New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail is a 4 mile long multi-use trail in Northampton, Massachusetts, ideally suited for walking, running, bicycling or rollerblading. It extends from the MassCentral Rail Trail on the north side of downtown Northampton southerly to the Easthampton Town Line (and eventually to New Haven).


Length: 4.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Greenway, Rail Trail
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
     No fees

Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (on pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Roller/Inline Skating
Snow - Cross-country Skiing

See more details.


Location: Northampton, Massachusetts
State(s): Massachusetts
Counties: Hampshire
Longitude: -72.6569
Latitude: 42.27609

Driving Directions

Take I-91 to exit 18. Take a left off the exit ramp onto Route 5, then 0.7 miles to rail trail. Parking lot on right side of the road.


The New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail closely follows the path of what was once the New Haven & Northampton Canal, a man-made waterway that served as a freight transport passage between New Haven, Connecticut and Northampton between 1835 and 1847. During its time, the canal was the most efficient option for overland transportation, as movement on the fluid, level surface made travel by canal smoother, faster and less expensive than travel on contemporary roads. The success of the canal was short lived, however, as just after a decade of use, portions of the canal were filled in those portions became part of the New Haven and Northampton railroad. Some canal landscape features still exist along the path of the rail trail.

The Northampton section extends from the MassCentral Rail Trail to the Easthampton Town Line, with the trail currently extending through Easthampton and eventually planned to connect to other rail trail sections to eventually create a continuous trail all the way to New Haven. In addition, the trail connects to the Hospital Hill Rail Trail Spur which leads to the former Northampton State Hospital, now known as Village Hill.

The New Haven and Northampton Canal Rail Trail is within walking distance for 50% of the Northampton community and offers connecting points to the nearby cities of Easthampton, Hadley and Amherst.

One of the highlights of the trail is as it goes through downtown Northampton on a raised section, crossing a rail trail bridge over Main Street with a trail related art mural on the bridge.

Additional Details

Width: 120 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Asphalt

Average Grade: 1%
Maximum Grade: 8%
Elevation Low Point: 118
Elevation High Point: 140
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Map: Map of nominated rail trail, showing its context i
Website: Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Park Ranger:
Carolyn Misch
Director of Planning and Sustainability
City of Northampton
210 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
[email protected]

Trail Management:
Donna LaScaleia
Director of Public Works
City of Northampton
125 Locust Street
Northampton, MA 01060





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