Old roads–along the Quinapoxit River, West Boylston, MA

Along the west bank of the Quinapoxit River, West Boylston

While visiting the area, we stopped along the Quinapoxit River to walk along an abandoned road that offers great views of the river. The pavement is still mostly intact, although several areas have lost some pavement from washouts in seasonal storms. The road is open to walkers and bicyclists.

Abandoned road along the west banks of the river, opposite the Mass Central Rail trail in West Boylston The pavement is mostly still intact, making for Easy Walking

We visited on a day when rain was threatening, and the bugs were pretty busy getting acquainted with us. Some bug repellant would have made the walk a little more relaxed.

Rushing water provided a stunning soundscape for our entire walk
Multiple traps hang from trails along the road, helping monitor for Asian long-horned beetles

Speaking of bugs, we spotted a number of these bug traps hung from overhanging branches along the trail. Signs noted that they were intended to monitor for Asian longhorn beetles. These beetles threaten hardwoods in our forests, and are known to be present in the state. The linked site offers steps we all can take to prevent the spread of this destructive critter, including not transporting firewood from one area to another.

Bridge along the Mass Central Railtrail in West Boylston (taken on a visit in the fall)

Numerous fishing spots are relatively accessible aong this road. Across the river is a portion of the Mass Central Railtrail, with parking for at least twenty cars. This section of the rail trail (and the road we walked along) is right at the edge of the Wachusett Reservoir. Access is along the northwestern edge of the Wachusett Reservoir. Follow Rt. 140 north in West Boylston across the reservoir, following the shore of the reservoir past the old Stone church to the stop sign at Thomas Street. Turn left onto Thomas Street, parking for the rail trail is immediately on the right.

Gravel path next to the hydro power station, leading over to a viewing/fishing spot below the falls of the power station

We found a packed gravel path leading out to a fishing spot below the hydro station, but avoided those fishing there, so did not get good pictures below the dam. We have visited this area before in different seasons.

Hydro power station along the Quinapoxit River

To access the abandoned road we walked on, continue past the parking area on Thomas Street, and drove over the small bridge where the Quinapoxit enters the reservoir. Immediately on your right is the abandoned road. Parking on some sections of this road is prohibited–pay attention to signs. A large state hydropower station is on the right, do not block entrances here. Just beyond the hydro station is the abandoned road.

On a colder (March) day when the falls were frozen, but the viewing platform next to the river was less crowded 🙂

We did not have our bike with us on this trip, so did not continue far. When on our bike we have been able to peddle up to a bridge that brought us across the river back to the rail trail, and enjoyed a loop trip. Other than the bugs, this was a wonderful time spent alongside the rushing river. The sounds of moving water filled the air, keeping us company for our entire visit. Happy trails!

Marjorie

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. The newest book is Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.

She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.

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