Crane Hill / Twelve Mile Recreation Area

Bridge Made of Sticks Over a CreekAbout the Area

  • Facilities:
    • Parking at the Crane Hill area
    • Limited parking at the Twelve Mile area
    • No toilet facilities
  • Features:
    • Impressive stands of old growth trees on the Chuck Phillips Trail
    • Interesting cairns on the Summit Trail
    • Rock outcroppings on the Summit Trail
    • Beautiful woodland walks on all trails
    • Scenic babbling brook vistas along the Twelve Mile Brook Trail and along Spear Brook
    • Trout fishing in the Twelve Mile Brook
    • Stone walls along the Twelve Mile Brook Trail
    • Very large, mature pines and hemlocks at the Twelve Mile Brook Trail
    • IMPORTANT: parts of the Crane Loop Trail run alongside of the disc golf course fairway. Be cautious of flying discs.
  • Activities Permitted: All passive recreational activities are permitted. Please be careful not to leave litter and not to deface the property. Please park in designated areas and be respectful of neighborhoods in the area.
    • Hiking
    • Cross-country skiing / snowshoeing
    • Educational studies
    • Nature observation
  • Disc Golf Course: The Crane Hill Recreation Area contains an 18-hole disc golf course which is open to anyone and is free. Rules and scorecards can be downloaded online (PDF).
  • Trails: In addition to the disc golf course, the Crane Hill Recreation Area includes four miles of hiking trails.
    • The Summit Trail climbs to 620 feet past some beautiful old growth trees, stone cairns, and rock outcroppings. The descent is also .5 of a mile and leads back down to the Crane Hill Loop Trail. It is an approximately .5 of a mile ascent. Access to this trail is from the eighth tee of the disc golf course. It is advised that hikers bring a walking stick because of the steepness of this trail.
    • Chuck Phillips, a former Open Space Chair who died in 2015, spearheaded the creation of the Wilbraham trail system. The Chuck Phillips Trail is a beautiful, wide, pineneedle-soft trail that crosses parts of the old Bay Path which was the main route that settlers took back in the colonial days to travel between Springfield and the coast of Massachusetts. All of this trail is wide and well defined. It is one of the most navigable trails in Wilbraham, and the vistas of the tree canopy here are breathtaking. The Chuck Phillips Trail meanders out from golf tee #14 for about 1.3 miles where it connects up with Spear Brook. At that point, there is a short, scenic trail along the brook. There are also some short spur trails off of the Chuck Phillips Trail that lead down to the Twelve Mile Brook.
    • The Crane Loop / Twelve Mile Trail begins at the entrance to the Crane Hill Parking Lot (note the kiosk) and loops around the disc golf course skirting some of the tees and holes. At the eighth tee, hikers have the option of coming down the hill back to the Crane Hill parking lot (1.7 miles) or continuing down the Twelve Mile Trail which meanders from the 8th tee on the disc golf course down to Twelve Mile Brook which is crossed by a couple of footbridges. From the eighth hole to its end, the Twelve Mile Trail is about two miles in length. The Crane Loop / 12-Mile Trail can also be accessed from the Twelve Mile Brook Parking Lot in which case the trek out to the brook is about .4 of a mile, and the trek from the Twelve Mile parking lot to the end of the trail is 1.2 miles. The terrain from the 8th hole to Crane Hill Road is a mixed bag. There is a stream crossing at the beginning. The part of the trail after the stream crossing is a well defined but narrow trek up to the back of the houses on Squire Road. From there, there is some bushwhacking through ferns and some swampy terrain until the trail connects to Crane Hill Road. Across the road, the trail picks back up from the Twelve Mile Brook parking lot.
    • The trail from the Twelve Mile Brook parking lot on the other side of Crane Hill Road out to the stream is well defined until you cross the 1st footbridge. From there, the trail is ragged in places. When you cross the 1st footbridge, take the left trail. At a couple of points it seems that the trail ends, but if you look carefully, you can pick it back up. Most of the trail from the 1st footbridge crossing out follows the brook. At a couple of points it heads into the woods briefly. There is one spur trail that goes through the woods and picks back up with the brook trail three-fourths of a mile out. If you keep the brook to your right, you should be able to stay on the scenic brook trail.
  • Location: This trail is located on Crane Hill Road in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
  • Elevation Factors:
    • The Summit Trail is a steep, continual climb from 380 feet to 620 feet. The trail is clear and well marked, but the use of a walking stick is recommended here, especially for coming back down.
    • The Chuck Phillips Trail starts at 390 feet and ends at 290 feet. Along the way the elevation rises to 470 feet in the middle of the trail before it starts heading back down.
    • The Crane Loop portion of the trail elevates from 280 feet at the kiosk to 420 feet at its highest point. (It is advised that hikers bring a walking stick for this steep portion of the trek.) The Crane Loop then comes back down the hill to the parking lot. The Twelve Mile Brook portion starts at 390 feet at the eighth tee and elevates up to 420 feet at its midpoint before it drops back down to 290 feet at the brook.
  • Directions from Crane Park on Main Street: From Crane Park on Main Street in Wilbraham, proceed past Wilbraham and Monson Academy down Main Street to Boston Road (Route 20). Take a right onto Boston Road. Continue on Boston Road for 1.1 miles. Crane Hill Road is on the right. Proceed cautiously down Crane Hill Road as the width of the underpass at its beginning is narrow, and there is a sharp left turn after you pass through it. As a result, you must beep your horn before entering the underpass to notify traffic coming from the other direction. Follow Crane Hill Road for .6 of a mile. The Crane Hill Parking Area is in the big field on your right. Enter the field slowly as dust is easily kicked up here. Another quarter of a mile down the road on the left is the parking area for the 12 Mile Brook walk. The 12 Mile parking area holds only a few cars.
  • Alternate directions from the Town Center: Take Monson Road east for 2 miles to Glendale Road on the left. Take Glendale Road north for 1.8 miles, then bear right on Crane Hill Road (easy to miss this turn). Take Crane Hill Road .7 of a mile north to the 12 Mile Brook parking area on the right or continue north an added .25 of a mile to the Crane Hill parking area on the left.
  • Map: View the map (PDF).

Hiking Directions

1042° 08.787 N072° 23.967 WTo access the trail system, begin here at the kiosk at the entrance to the Crane Hill parking area.
2042° 08.866 N072° 24.030 WFrom the kiosk, the Crane Loop Trail winds along side Crane Hill Road until the twelfth tee. There is a wooden stake here.
3042° 08.884 N072° 24.223 WFrom here the Crane Loop Trail follows along the Twelve Mile Brook for a bit and then winds down past the fourteenth and fifteenth tees to this opening.
4042° 08.914 N072° 24.374 WContinue straight across the intersection here and follow the trail that continues on the other side up the hill. Bear to the right and climb the hill to this intersection. Be aware that this area is steep. Follow the blazes carefully here. Bringing a walking stick is advised.
5042° 09.046 N072° 24.671 WSide Trip: Taking a right at this point will take you out to the Chuck Phillips Trail. (See the Orange trail on the map.) This way point is for the end of the trail at Spear Brook. You will have to return the way that you came.
6042° 08.647 N072° 24.173 WBack to the Crane Loop Trail: Once you reach the top of the hill, take the turn to the left at the intersection and proceed down this trail until the 8th tee of the disc golf course, the hub of the trail system.
7042° 08.640 N072° 24.104 WFrom here, you have three choices. Your first choice is to finish the Crane Loop Trail and return to the parking lot. This way point is the halfway mark of the trail that proceeds down the hill and back to the Crane Hill Parking Area.
8042° 08.762 N072° 24.085 WThis is the way point for the Crane Loop Trail system entrance / exit at the back of the Crane Hill Parking Lot at the end of the big field.
9042° 08.759 N072° 24.399 WYour second choice from the 8th tee is to proceed up the Summit Trail to the Crane Hill summit. This is the way point for the end of the Summit Trail.
10042° 08.600 N072° 24.059 WYour third choice from the eighth tee is to proceed straight out to the ninth tee and the entrance to the Twelve Mile Brook Trail. This is the way point for the brook crossing to the Twelve Mile Brook Trail.
11042° 08.434 N072° 23.945 WThis is the way point for the Town property stake which is down the Twelve Mile Brook Trail from hole 8 just before the Crane Hill Road crossing to the Twelve Mile Brook area.
12042° 08.410 N072° 23.939 WThis is the way point for the Twelve Mile trail parking lot.
13042° 08.378 N072° 23.658 WThis is the way point for the first Twelve Mile footbridge and the beaver dam.
14042° 08.352 N072° 23.301 WThis is the way point for a neat little open area by the side of the Twelve Mile Brook that is perfect for a picnic. It's about a half mile from the first footbridge.
15042° 08.357 N072° 23.291 WThis is the way point for the 2nd footbridge crossing at Twelve Mile Brook.
16042° 08.353 N072° 23.200 WThis is the way point for the end of the Twelve Mile Brook Trail. A private property sign marks the end.
17042° 08.378 N072° 23.658 WThis is the way point for the Twelve Mile bridge and the beaver dam.