The Mattapoisett Rail Trail offers walkers, runners, and bicyclists a mile of paved pathway to discover. The bike path is flat and mostly tucked away from major traffic areas, which makes it perfect for outdoor explorers of all ages and abilities – from young families to active adults. Beyond the pavement’s end at Mattapoisett Neck Road, a forested footpath leads walkers to a bridge with a stunning view of the Mattapoisett River.
Want a longer exploration? The Mattapoisett Rail Trail links seamlessly with the Phoenix Bike Trail, creating an additional 4.5 miles of bike path through Fairhaven. Both trails are also part of the South Coast Bikeway, a growing regional system of bike paths through southeastern Massachusetts.
For hikers, the Mattapoisett Rail Trail is a gateway to miles of walking trails through Nasketucket Bay State Reservation. Start at Shaw Farm Trail, located just past Brandt Island Road near the Fairhaven town line, and begin a journey that will take you to the rocky shores of Nasketucket Bay. Even bicyclists can get in a walk here – just lock up your bike at the rack at the trailhead, and you’ll be on your way!
The paved section of the Mattapoisett Rail Trail runs west to east for approximately one mile. With the additional 4.5 miles on the Phoenix Bike Trail, you can bike, walk, or jog for over five miles on this flat, easy path.
But don’t stop your walk when the pavement ends. East of Mattapoisett Neck Road, the rail trail continues as an unpaved forest trail that runs about half a mile through the woods to a small wooden bridge over the Mattapoisett River estuary. Stop and appreciate the peaceful view of the marshy river and Mattapoisett Harbor beyond from this bridge, which connects with the Mattapoisett YMCA property.
The Mattapoisett Rail Trail is continuing to grow, with additional phases planned over the next several years. The town of Mattapoisett is currently working to turn the footpath between Mattapoisett Neck Road and the Mattapoisett YMCA into a paved bike trail. Once that’s complete, the town will create a new section of the rail trail from Mattapoisett Village to the North Street park and ride and beyond.
Habitats & Wildlife
The Mattapoisett Rail Trail packs a diverse variety of scenery into its short length. The habitats along the path transition from upland forest to coastal salt marshes, creating a thriving ecosystem where countless birds, fish, and shellfish species live.
In the oak and pine trees between Brandt Island Road and Mattapoisett Neck, look for birds like black-capped chickadee and cardinals, as well as woodland mammals like deer, foxes, and rabbits. New species begin to appear as you get closer to the water. At the bridge over the Mattapoisett River, look for herons and egrets wading along the marshy shores, searching for fish and crabs to snatch from the water.