A Look from Lincoln: Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, Mass.

March 23, 2005

The Trip: Hiking Section 10 of the 117-mile Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Holland Glen to Mount Lincoln

Length and Intensity: 10 miles, round trip. Moderate intensity.

Best Time To Go: All year long. When the snows melt this spring, here’s a moderately difficult, fascinating hike that takes you over ridges and along streams on footpaths and old-town roads. Bordered on the west by sturdy stone walls and ancient cellar holes that mark the site of a long-past agrarian community, this section of the M-M Trail is now overgrown by mixed forest. Holland Glen, at the start of the hike, is a steep-sided ravine laced with a clear stream and shaded by a majestic, mature hemlock stand, which has been preserved by the Belchertown Historical Society. Near the top of the glen is a waterfall.

Find the trailhead about a quarter mile north of the parking area and follow the white blaze. At a half a mile, the trail turns abruptly left across a brook onto a woods road, which is overgrown by hemlocks west of here. Ascend a moderate, hardwood-covered slope and at 0.8 mi. cross a bare rock ledge, for good views southwest in winter toward Long Mountain. You can see the Holyoke Range from here as well.

The trail reaches the top of the ridge shortly, then descends to a left turn onto a woods road. It passes an old farm clearing, now covered with Johnson grass, at 1.6 miles on the top of the plateau. At 2.6 miles, the trail turns left onto a woods road, soon crossing a brook and continuing north through a cutover hardwood stand. And you’ll scramble across a stone wall on West Hill into young pine growth and keep heading north and crossing more walls. You can spot some cellar holes on the left. After following a woods road to the right for about 150 yards, turn left at a trail junction, quickly bear left at the next junction, and continue downhill until you come to a driveway and cabin on unpaved Gulf Road at 3.6 miles.

Continuing across the road into the woods, the trail heads north, then west, paralleling the road. At 3.9 miles, it turns left, crosses a wet, grassy trail, and takes you up a sandy bank through a white pine forest. You’ll cross Enfield Road before going through the Cadwell Memorial Forest, which is owned by the University of Massachusetts. At 4.8 miles, you’ll begin heading uphill through a scrub-oak hardwood stand. and soon arrive at the observation and fire tower atop 1,240-foot Mount Lincoln, with its 360-degree views and flat top, ideal for well deserved napping.

-Charles Smith is author of AMC’s Massachusetts Trail Guide.

DIRECTIONS

From Mass. Route 2, take Route 202 to Belchertown. Take the Route 9 west exit and follow 2.8 mi. to parking on the right. The trailhead is just north of parking lot.

RESOURCES

This selection is excerpted from AMC’s Massachusetts Trail Guide by Charles Smith. Order books at www.outdoors.org or call 800-262-HILL. And remember, AMC members always save 10 percent on all AMC Books and Maps.

LOCAL WISDOM

You won’t be competing with mountain bikes for this trail. Yet. Mount Lincoln is located in Pelham, Mass., and town officials are still battling out that unresolved access question. And a note for you curious NPR listeners: the WFCR radio station tower sits on top of Mount Lincoln.

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