The New England National Scenic Trail (NET) is a 215-mile trail route that has been in existence for over half a century. It travels through 39 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and is comprised primarily of the historic Mattabesett, Metacomet, and Monadnock (M-M-M) Trails.
The route showcases classic New England landscape features: long distance vistas with rural towns as a backdrop, agrarian lands, un-fragmented forests, and large river valleys. The trail also travels through important Native American and colonial historical landmarks and highlights a range of diverse ecosystems and natural resources: trap-rock ridges, mountain summits, forested glades, vernal pools, lakes, streams and waterfalls.
The NET was designated on March 30, 2009 as part of Public Law 111-11 (Section 5202). The law references the Trail Management Blueprint described in the report titled the ‘Metacomet Monadnock Mattabesett Trail System National Scenic Trail Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment’, prepared by the National Park Service, and dated Spring 2006, as the framework for trail management and administration.
Since the federal designation in 2009, there have been some noteworthy changes to the historic route, including an extension to Long Island Sound in Connecticut and a deviation from a portion from the historic Metacomet-Monadnock Trail in Massachusetts.
The principal stewards of the New England National Scenic Trail are the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) in Connecticut and the Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in Massachusetts. It is important to recognize that the entire trail system is predominantly managed and maintained by volunteers, and much of it relies on the generosity and commitment of landowners who voluntarily allow it to cross their lands. The primary role of the National Park Service will be to assist the Appalachian Mountain Club, Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the Stewardship Council in implementing the Management Blueprint while supporting local on-the-ground management and property rights. It will coordinate the expenditure of federal funds for trail management and protection with the Council.
The AMC-Berkshire Chapter Trails Committee maintains the Metacomet-Monadnock trail from the Connecticut border to New Hampshire, as well as miscellaneous other trails in the region.
NET (M-M) History
The M-M trail was originally laid out by the late Prof. Walter M. Banfield of the University of Massachusetts starting in the late 1950s, and has been evolving ever since. It passes through some of the prettiest landscape in Western Massachusetts, including the Mt. Tom State Reservation, Mt Holyoke Range and Skinner State Parks, and numerous other state, municipal, and land trust properties. Today, over half of its length crosses public lands. The trail is marked or “blazed” with white painted rectangles on trees and rocks and supplemental white, metal, diamond-shaped signs affixed to trees and poles at road crossings and other trail intersections.
Before you use the NET (M-M), please check our online trail guide and updates for trail conditions, relocations, and hike suggestions. A guidebook, now in its tenth edition, is available through the Berkshire Chapter (see ordering info). The trail descriptions on this site are excerpted from the guidebook. As such, they are incomplete, and should not be used for route finding but rather as synopses to help you choose a section(s) to hike.
National Recreational Trails Designation
In June 2001, the National Park Service accepted AMC-Berkshire’s application to have sections 6-8 and 16-18 certified as a “National Recreational Trail.” This certification applies only to those sections of trail located on Mass DCR/State Park, Forest, or Reservation property. The designation also applies on the Mt. Holyoke Range ridgeline to sections of trail on land owned by the towns of South Hadley, Hadley, and Amherst. In Franklin County, the designation also applies to the trail section on land owned by Northeast Utilities as well as the substantial DCR State Forest holdings. For more information please visit the National Recreation Trails web site.
National Scenic Trail Designation
The New England National Scenic Trail (NET) was designated on March 30, 2009 as part of Public Law 111-11 (Section 5202). The New England National Scenic Trail (NET) is a 220-mile trail route that has been in existence for over half a century. It travels through 39 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The NET is comprised primarily of the historic Metacomet, Monadnock and Mattabesett (M-M-M) Trails. Visit http://www.newenglandtrail.org for more information. Among the many features of interest on the site, there is an interactive map of the trail.
If you are a landowner concerned about allowing hikers to use this or any other trail on your land, please read information for private landowners.