New England National Scenic Trail: Guides, Maps, and Other Resources

As you have likely heard by now, in March Congress designated The New England National Scenic Trail (NENST), a long-distance route that runs from south-central Connecticut to the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. You can learn more about the designation—and what it means exactly—in a recent AMC Outdoors article or in the following AMC press release. Or dig deeper on the official NENST web site.

For a general overview of the route, check out this map. For a more detailed view, a better map is found in the initial 2006 NENST feasibility study.

But let's get to the exciting part. Your appetites were likely whetted by the June AMC Outdoors feature on some of the trail's highlights. So how do you get out there and experience it? This must be a pretty special trail to have been designated one of only 12 national scenic trails nationwide!

The NENST is composed of three separate long-distance trail networks that have been combined to form the NENST's continuous hiking route: The Mattabesett and Metacomet trails in Connecticut, and The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail in Massachusetts.

Your number one go-to resources for detailed trail descriptions and maps are:

Connecticut: Connecticut Walk Book East
Published for more than 75 years by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, this is the guide for the Metacomet and Mattabesett Trails. $24.95

Massachusetts: Metacomet-Monadnock Trail Guide
Produced by AMC's Berkshire Chapter—the group that first created the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and still maintains it today—this is the most comprehensive resource currently available for the Massachusetts portion of the NENST ($14.95). You can also find most of the guide online.
**Bear in mind, however, that a significant chunk of the trail near Leverett has been re-routed; this most recent edition of the guide does not cover this.

Alternatively, the NENST travels through a multitude of state parks and forests in both Connecticut and Massachusetts. I've listed many (but not all) below in the order you'd encounter them hiking from south to north. I've mostly included locations that feature good, informative, official web pages; most feature a free downloadable park map as well.

Millers Pond State Park
Talcott Mountain State Park
Penwood State Park

Mount Tom State Reservation
Joseph A. Skinner State Park

Mount Holyoke Range State Park
Wendell State Forest

Erving State Forest
Mount Grace State Forest

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.