Grand Trunk Trail to East Brimfield Dam – Sturbridge

It seems a recurring theme that we don’t have as much time to explore the trails on our Saturdays as we used to. Real life conspires to sap away even our protected time.  And so last weekend we again found ourselves looking for a close hike which wouldn’t take up too much of our time.

We ended up driving towards one trail and stopping at another; we saw a parking area on Holland Road in Sturbridge with a Friends of Sturbridge Trails sign on it, and decided to see what it was.  It turns out, it’s a somewhat new extension of the existing Grand Trunk Trail.  This section walks along the Quineboag River to the East Brimfield Dam, and will eventually connect into the Brimfield section of the trail.


The trail is also labeled as the Trolley Line trail, or similar wordings.  There were two different rail lines through this section, the uncompleted “Grand Trunk” line and a functional trolley line.


The trail goes along the river quite a bit and might provide a nice way down to do some fly fishing (in fact, we saw an angler with waders on close to the trailhead).


We paused at a lookout and posed for a snapshot (as we often do).020

The trail continued along the river for a ways and eventually exited on the Army Corps of Engineers property for the East Brimfield Lake.  We’ve explored this dam area many times, including a couple fishing trips, so it wasn’t overall new to us.



However, standing atop the dam, we saw a path down below which crossed the river and clearly explored a little bit of the property we hadn’t been to before.


We walked down this way and were rewarded by the sight of a blue heron perched at the water’s edge looking for a meal.


We walked a bit more along the water on this little path, and took in the fall landscape with the soothing sound of the water nearby.035


It was a shorter walk than we had planned, because the map showed trail portions that weren’t yet complete.  Once the trail connects fully it’ll be a great showpiece for this section of the state.  For now, we can explore it bit by bit.

Westville Dam – Sturbridge and Southbridge

A surprise hike took us to Westville Dam today with a friend and his family (after gorging on a breakfast buffet in honor of his 37th birthday).  There were six of us who burned off the breakfast calories at a recreational area which I’d previously done some biking at.

We did a three mile loop which starts at the parking area, follows a rail trail’s wide easy grade, then crosses a dam and follows some steep peaks and valleys before looping back.  The trail crosses between Sturbridge and Southbridge and follows along a recreational area where people picnic in the summer months.  It also borders a popular spring fly-fishing location (noted for later…).

During this impromptu hike we introduced our friends to geocaching.  There were four caches hidden along the trail we followed, and we found all four.  They ranged from large ammo boxes to tiny bison tubes. The smallest cache was fairly challenging, but we finally figured out the hint and walked away victorious.

It was a nice easy hike with frequent pauses to search areas just off the beaten path.  We saw a tiny snake and enjoyed the company of friends.  There’s very little sense of “wilderness” here as compared to Wells State Park, or most recent hike, but it was a much more kid-friendly destination.