trail has a nice mix of woodland fire road rolling and climbing, singletrack both smooth and rocky/technical. plenty of climbing and descending. scenic evergreen and mixed forests, waterfalls, etc. on different sides of mountain (UMass "demonstration forest"). forms a loop with worthwhile side trip. a great 2 hour ride, could be extended or modified considerably (lots of trails). hikers and horseback riders use some trails, so be courteous and careful (you vs. horse is greater than you lose). also note that in wet periods, areas on western slope can be very muddy!
smooth rolling approach on fire road at first, gradually becoming steeper and more rocky and seguing into a long climb through evergreens (hemlock?) on mixed earth/rock/gravel. the fire road tops a steep stretch and turns sharply to the right, continuing up the mountain, while the Robert Frost Trail continues (singletrack) straight ahead.
-a steep at times side trip goes to the top of the mountain and a great overlook from the fire tower stairs (on a clear day, Mt Greylock to the west, Mt. Monadnock to the northeast, the entire Pioneer Valley at your feet).
but wait! there's MUCH more. after the side trip to the top, drop back down (fast and scary at times), then continue on up-then-down singletrack (robert frost trail; watch for hikers) around the shoulder of the mountain. steep descent on rocky washed out singletrack dumps you at the top of the lower western slope of the mountain (paddy farms trail), where many trails can be accessed to form loops.
it's easy to get lost on side trails, so definitely bring a map (USGS 1:25,000 series Williamsburg, MA, not very good; new england cartographics "Mt. Toby Trail Map", much better, avail at local bookstores).
to continue the loop, follow rolling paddy farms trail to powerline, powerline to sugar house/sugar farms trail, and gradually climbing sugar farms trail back up across the northern slope of the mountain. a fun looping singletrack downhill (watch out for sharp turns and horses!) drops you back to the parking area.
trail network can also be accessed from Rt. 63 side (East), though road is closed in winter, and from the west at several points along Rt. 116.
bring lots of water & enjoy
From I-91, take exit for Rt.116 South. take Rt. 116 south about 2mi to Rt. 47. go left, north, on Rt. 47, for about 3.5 miles to Reservation Rd. turn right and follow this road 1/2mi to a parking area on right. trail begins at parking area.
Summary: I wrote one of the reviews beow---but it needs an addendum.
The once wonderful unimproved Mountain Rd has been all but paved all the way up to the Sugar House trail. Heavy Black fill and gravels has smoothed out and obliterated every rock, shale-drop, etc on the once great Mountain Rd--I used to call this my favorite downhill in the region-fast but full of sudden jumps and leaps-no more!!! it's as smooth as the pavement now. Really a Bummer-I took a friend up just the other day and was shocked by the smoothed road.
My question is why--the old jeep road doesn't gpo anywhere--I wonder if there development or logging coming along this stretch of Toby (a lot of private land mixed in there).
Anyway-the rest of the ride is the same--just my favorite beginning and ending is gone so I'm dropping the rating a full star.
Recommended Route: same as everyone else.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Wendell, Dry Hill, G-Field Ridge
Summary: Mostly fire roads and doubletrack. The route I've laid out is approx. 10 miles. Plenty of side trails to extend the route if desired. No singletrack but it's a great before or after work ride. A very good map can be purchased at EMS.
As noted in previous reviews, park at the entrance to N. Mountain Rd. by the Sunderland Dance Studio. Follow the jeep rd up about a mile then bear right just before the powerlines (before the high school... (cont.)
Recommended Route: ...party spot) until you reach the powerlines. Note the trail on your
right across the stream (Link Trail). Pass under the powerlines, go
uphill then make a left (Sugar Farms Trail). Follow this doubletrack
down, then up past the sugarhouse, then up some more. Bear right at the top and take this rocky descent until you meet up with the Robert Frost. Bear left on the RF and follow the orange blazes all the way down to the Mt. Toby access Rd. Make a right and follow the road UP for about two miles until you reach the Robert Frost Bypass… there’s a sign. Follow this trail down (you’ll join up with the RF again) and down some more on a very rocky old carriage rd. At the bottom the RF goes left, you should go right (Paddy Farms trail). Cross under the power lines again and look to make your second right (I think?) on a fairly well traveled wide doubletrack (Link Trail). If you come across a pile of tires and rusted farm equipment you took the wrong right! Follow the Link Trail to a stream crossing. Cross the water and you’re back at the powerlines on N. Mountain Rd. Follow the rd back down to your car.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Greenfield Ridge, Deerfield Ridge, Hawley SF, Wendell SF, Batchelor St, Earle's Trails
Summary: I love Toby, at first, I hated it, I mean Jeep trails? LOng Fire Road Climbs, barely any single Track..Yuck! Or so I though, but if you follow the route I've laid out above you'll find Toby has a great combination of rigorous fitness testing and war-whooping rock jumping fun...It's a nice compliment to the pure singletrack enjoyment of a Holyoke SF or Hawley type ride. Nice year round, close for us Franklin county types, adventurous with a few technical sections but on the whole more rewarding than punishing...it's a ride that really grows on you..and it's a fantastic place for night riding. Check it out!
Recommended Route: Start at the Jeep trail entrance at the end of Park St (1/2 past entrance for Sunderland Amphitheatre)(Bear's Den?) road in Sunderland (there is a really nice woodsy home/dance studio on your right!). Head up the trail bearing generally to the right until you reach the powerlines. Ride parrallel to the Power line for 1/4 mile and follow main trail across them (you'll be at the poorly marked intersection of Toby loop and Robert Frost trail.)> After you've crossed the power lines look to make a hard left after a short climb. Rip down and up this trail and look to launch fun little hops off the flat rocks and roots-after a few times you'll really start to grove on this trail. There are some other double tracks branching off this trail, but I'd stay on this main trail until after you pass the old sugar shack on your right. After the sugar shack, and a short rocky climb look to make a right, bomb down this short steep descent and bear to the left at the bottom (but take note of the single-trackish trail leading up and off to the right...you'll be coming back this way. Follow this trail a 1/4 mile or so until your first obvious right, go right and descend down to the large dirt road (This is the main mountain road to the top), make a right and start climbing, tubby...we all need it! When you finally get to the lookout intersection, well, do what you want but if I were you I'd keeping going straight, drop down the rocky descending trail keeping my eyes peeled for a feint single track trail on the left (about 1/2 mile down, marked by two fading blue dots on a tree. Get on this trail and pedal/carry your bike up a short, steep, overgrown trail climb, at the top get back on your bike and head down this fairly technical, twisty single track (follow it passed the old log cabin and brick kiln foundation), eventually it drops you back onto mt. Toby road (which yes you've already climbed) make a left climb again looking to get on the BYPASS/crossover trail a little ways up on your right. Follow this to the telephone trail, make a right...whoop it up, it's challenging, keep taking the trail-splits to the left until you find a trail heading off to the left back into the woods (it's a ways down the telephone trail..but well before the bottom!), get on it, follow it making sure not to jump on the well marked "Hemlock trail...it's fun, but we're not going that way!). At the bottom of this trail you'll make a left and climb up a steep trail (you've been here before--I told you to take note of this intersection!) at the top go left again passed the sugar shack...and back track your way out...go really fast and launch a few goofy jumps on the final descending trail after you've passed the powerlines...you've earned it!
Other recommended trails in the same area: hawley, Greenfield Ridge, Deerfield Ridge (also better than you think) Dry Hill, Wendell, Berks, Batchelor St...W. Mass rules!
Review Date July 24, 2001
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Reviewed by: ruckerz
, from Amherst MA (UMASS)
Summary: What a great view from the top of Mt Toby. Mostly dry ride (except for a few puddles here and there on the sugar farms trail). It took me ~2 hours to do the loop described, though if you buy the mt toby map from Hastings Bookstore in Amherst center, there are many more routes to construct. Email me if you're in the area and want to go for a rie. Skill level varies, though beginners be too scared.
Recommended Route: I like a gradual climb (somehow i think it helps endurance). From the parking lot described above, follow the fire road. The first right should be the very technical telephone line trail (yes it has a telephone line that goes to the top of Mt Toby). For an easier ride, follow summit road which merges onto the robert frost trail and follow that to the top of mt Toby. At the top, climb the fire tower and enjoy the view.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Amethyst brook if you're in the mood for twisty single track (no real climbs or downhills, just hilly).