Northeast MA

Northeast MA

Beaver Brook North

500 Trapelo Rd.
Waltham  Massachusetts  02452
United States
This is the entrance to Metropolitan State Parkway, parking can be found behind the old Administration building about a half mile in on the left.

Easy

60%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

10%

Description

Beaver Brook North is part of DCR's Beaver Brook Reservation. It is located in Lexington and Waltham, Massachusetts. It was formerly the property of the old Metropolitan State Hospital. Beaver Brook North doesn't have the most challenging trail inventory but that being said, it is a surprisingly large chunk of green space nestled in between Belmont, Lexington and Waltham. It abuts other open space, Belmont's Rock Meadow which allows connection to Belmont's McLean land as well. It is also a segment of the Western Greenway.

Beaver Brook North is great if you live nearby and also if you are new to mountain biking as the trail inventory isn't very technical. It's worth a visit for variety! It does have some good hill climbs if you want to boost the challenge and tackle Mackerel Hill, but most of it is carriage paths or swoopy singletrack.

Many walkers and dog owners frequent Beaver Brook North so please be courteous and keep things friendly! Read more about Beaver Brook North

Local Shops

Belmont Wheelworks

Hub Bicycle

Apex Velo

Links to Relevant Resources

Local Eats

Blue Ribbon BBQ

La Posada

Northeast MA

Ward Reservation

40 Prospect Rd.
Andover  Massachusetts  01810
United States

978-682-3580

Easy

25%

Moderate

45%

Difficult

25%

Description

Standing by the huge granite solstice stones set on the top of Holt Hill in Andover, Massachusetts, I could clearly see the Boston skyline twenty miles off to the southeast, Beyond the towers of the city on this clear autumn day, the horizon was formed by the Blue Hills in Milton. I wasn't able to see Noanet Peak in the Noanet Woodlands in Dover further to the southwest, but I was thinking about it. Trail use pressures have led to restrictions such as trail-use scheduling and registration of bike riders at Noanet. I was all alone here at the Charles W. Ward Reservation, no other mountain bikers, not even any walkers.

Just like Naonet, the Ward Reservation belongs to The Trustees Of Reservations. It's not quite as large, 640 acres to 695 acres. It has a local high spot, Holt Hill at 420 feet is the highest point in Essex County, and 33 feet higher than Naonet Peak. Both have about 10 miles of trails. But the difference is in bike traffic; even on a weekend the Ward Reservation gets only moderate use, No regulations governing bicycle use have to be promulgated (as of 1993) other than the basic rules that apply to all Trustee's properties, chiefly the prohibition from trails in mud and cross country ski seasons, and the restriction of group sizes to 5 riders.

After three rides at Ward, I can say that this area has some really fine "playground" riding (my definition of riding done in a confined location on a dense trail network), almost all of it singletrack stuff with two major hills (Holt and nearby Boston Hill), two hilltop clearings with long distance views from Gloucester to Boston, and interesting artifacts like the solstice stones on top of Holt Hill. These stones were placed by Mrs. Charles Ward in memory of her late husband, who had bought the property in 1917 and had turned it into a reservation in 1940.

Despite the prominence of the two major hills (Boston Hill is 385 feet high, I found that I could put together a trail loop that for nearly 5 miles traveled over singletrack through low, rolling woodlands, with lots of rocks and a couple of stream crossings on exposed rocks, as a sort of warm-up before tackling the hills. The climbs are not a lot in overall feet, a bit over 100 vertical feet, but short and steep. Longer climbs of lesser steepness are possible, making hilltop access easier if desired.

After my five mile warm-up, I go for the top of Holt Hill right up the steepest trail back now near the parking area. I don't make it all the way on the steepest pitch on the loose stuff, but the rest at the top is worth it, sitting on the hub of the solstice stones(it looks like an old granite millstone to me), and viewing busy Boston so far off from my solitude.

Then it's off on a meandering ride down into the valley between Holt and Boston Hills. a detour along a hill crest trail on intervening Shrub Hill, then a steep charge to the top of Boston Hill, diverging off the property to have at the ski lift of the abandoned ski slope that abuts the reservation. Then a trail around the cyclone fence enclosing a water tower and some antenna towers leads to my favorite spot, elephant Rock, overlooking the whole north shore to the east, Gloucester to Boston.

Reluctantly leaving this last outlook on my ride, I head down the longest downhill trail, over a mile on singletrack. leading to a succession of lefts and rights, including one trail along the boundary with an adjacent holding. This property features several noisy dogs, one of which, who seems to be allowed to run loose, comes onto the trail to object to my passing. This route eventually takes me back up Holt Hill by a longer more gradual ascent, and then the final drop towards the parking lot crosses one more smaller hill and an open field, then crosses a paved driveway, and then it takes a really steep two step drop to the head of a boardwalk that leads out to Pine Hole Pond, a quaking bog of some interest. Here.I turn right a few hundred feet to the parking lot. I have a dozen miles on my computer due to some doubling back on trails, a nice interesting ride..

On three different rides in November (none on weekends) I met several walkers, some with dogs, all were cordial, and in the parking lot at the end of my third ride I met a mountain biker from nearby Lawrence, a fortyish guy who said he prefers to ride alone. He'd been out all day, starting here and riding via adjacent lands on the Bay Circuit Trail over to Harold Parker State Forest and on further to the woods around Middleton Pond. He knew his way around and we compared trail notes some.

I decided last summer, when I began to look into Trustees' properties hereabouts for riding opportunities, to join them, and did so. They do a lot for anyone who enjoys being outdoors in unspoiled surroundings and I feel we should support them with memberships if we are going to ride on their trails. My $65 family membership is a good investment in access to several good riding areas, though it's not required, (TTOR lands are open to everyone, ) as well as providing me discounted access to some of their shoreline properties like fabulous Crane's Beach Reservation in Ipswich, and including Miser Island in Salem Sound to which I sometimes paddle my sea kayak. Those of you who enjoy riding on trails on such quasi-public land might consider investing some of your biking budget in the organizations that provide these places to ride. When one thinks of all the money that's spent on techno-junk for the bikes...

Directions:
From route 125 in Andover, take Prospect Road to the Reservation's parking lot.

By Bob Hicks Read more about Ward Reservation

Local Shops

The Bicycle Shop of Topsfield

JRA Cycles

Seaside Cycle

Pedalin' Fools Mobile Bicycle Services

Buchika's Ski & Bike

Links to Relevant Resources

The Wicked Ride of the East

Date

10/28/18 9:00am to 4:00pm

The One, the Only, the Wicked. North Shore NEMBA has made this event into one of New England "must-do" mountain biking events, and it's a great final gathering of mountain bikers before the snow begins to fly. This year will showcase some of the best trails the forest has to offer, not so coincidentally built by North Shore NEMBA's trail building gurus. Get ready to LOCK 'N LOAD!

REGISTRATION:

$10 for NEMBA members. $25 for the General Pubic. Free if you Join or Renew your NEMBA membership.

There will be arrowed courses for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. This year, there will be led rides for the BEGINNERS and KID level ONLY. All others will riders will follow the arrows!

INDUSTRY EXPO

JRA Cycles is back wrenching it up with 2 tents, a bunch of fleet demo bikes, giveaways and discounted merch!

Cannondale will join us with a broad range of 2019 demo bikes to take for a spin!

Wheelworks will be providing technical assistance and will have available bikes from YETI and BMC!

Crimsonbikes of Boston will be wrenching it up & have their demo bikes for you to check out!

Papa Wheelies with locations in Natick, Back Bay Boston, and Portsmouth will have techs available to get you running right, as well as demo bikes and other goodies!

SCOTT Bikes, one of the most innovative and longest running brands in the bike industry, will be there with a wide range of demo bikes for you to try!

Pedro’s is ONCE AGAIN BACK to keep everyone cleaned and lubed!

SNACKS/FOOD/VENDOR

CycleLoft will be grilling it up again.

Forza-G's “BBQ for a Cure” will have pulled pork sandwiches AND Chef Lee will have his SPECIAL entrée to help raise money for the PMC!

Nuun Immunity will again be on hand to help you hydrate and restore your body!

RX Bars exhibit will also be on hand to get you ready for the pre and post ride samples!

Maple Water:  cool and refreshing (maple) electrolyte drink(s) to replenish your body back!

Perpetual Motion Adventures:  Lauren Lasky, an independent travel consultant, will show you where your next bike adventure can be!

RAFFLES from North Shore NEMBA (in conjunction with the LBS)

JRA: TBD

CANNONDALE – 2019 Medium 27+ Cannondale Cujo 3.More fun. “Less Stress. With big grippy tires, stable geometry and a lightweight frame, Cujo just makes mountain biking easier!”

Crimson bikes: TBD

1 Up - USA: chance to win one of their BIKE RACK and a 1UP COOLER!

Highland Mountain:  (4) FIND YOUR RIDE gift card !!  (Includes full day pass, 1 hr session, bike rental and full face helmet and safety equipment)

Competition:  Best costume, bunny hop and trail boss contest!

2018 EVENT SCHEDULE


8:00 AM to 9:00 AM Vendor Setup
9:00 am to 11:00 AM Registration at NEMBA Tent
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Self-Guided Marked Course Opens
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Wicked Ride T-shirts, socks, koozies & RAFFLE TICKETS FOR SALE!
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Vendors Available

9:45 AM – Beginner ride (TBD)
10:45 AM –“Mellow” Intermediate with Hank Kells
------------------------------
11:00 AM Registration Closes
11:30 AM Fundraiser BBQ by Forza-G, Cycle Loft and LeeBo “Special”

12:00 PM  Johnny and the Machine will be on stage to play the Wicked blues

3:00 RAFFLE OFF PRIZES:  “Best Costume”, 1UP, Cooler, bikes, etc
3:00 PM Course Closed (Still able to finish ride)
5:00 PM Gates Closed & Locked - All vehicles OUT of Campground


The event will take place at the Campground at HaroldParkerStateForest.

133 Jenkins Road Andover MA

 

 

Location

Harold Parker State Forest

Chapter

North Shore

Trail

Event Leader

Frank Ming
wickedrideeast@gmail.com

Northeast MA

Russell Mill, Chelmsford

130 Mill Rd
Chelmsford  Massachusetts  01824
United States

Easy

40%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

10%

Description

This area is one of 10 parcels of Open Space in Chelmsford, Ma. It is the largest of the 10 yet is still quite small by comparison to many of the areas we ride coming in at 130 acres total. Total because approximately 12 acres is either under water in the form of a pond which can be used for fishing/canoeing, or taken up by the town's soccer fields. Keep in mind as you read this that although small, through the efforts of Merrimack Valley NEMBA, it rides bigger than expected.

 

A few yars ago the town's Open Space Stewardship, of which Merrimack Valley is a partner, asked us if we would be interested in designing and building mountain bike trails on the property. This coming at a time when the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail was in the beginning stages of construction the town was very interested in increasing it's diversity of biking and pedestrian trails. We naturally accepted the challenge and proceeded to outline what this would mean for the property. Approximately 4-5 miles of technical trail (singletrack) would be added to the existing trail system originally consisting of a couple miles of old carriage road and doubletrack.

 

This proposal was enthusiastically accepted by the Stewardship and the Conservation Commission, we were on our way. As an added note, part of our responsibilities in addition to the design and build of the trail system, was and still is, to work closely with the Stewardship in an effort to clean up the property, as there was a fair amount of illegal dumping in the back parking lot, assist in efforts to eliminate the illegal uses of the property, gps the property and be on a committee to develop a GIS based map of this and other properties and finally develop and install signage for user convenience and public safety. We had a lot to do!

 

After around around 18 months and we were about three quarters of the way to completion, although we all know these things are never complete. There is now nearly 5 miles of new singletrack, 6 new boardwalks, the site is considerably cleaner, illegal activity is almost non-existent and about half of the new signage is up. There are still several wet tread issues and small re-routes of old trail sections to deal with and we were hoping to be 95% complete by the end of that season.

 

For those of you who have not yet experienced Russell Mill, you will find the new trails familiar if you've ridden Lowell/Dracut State Forest. This is a State Forest that MV has been working on for a number of years with co-operation with the DCR. We have taken our philosophy there and applied it to Russell Mill. Fun singletrack which appeals to all levels of riders is what we are after and judging by the feedback we have received in the last couple of years we are confident that this has been delivered.

 

Russell Mill now sports 7 miles of trails ridden in one direction with enough connector trails that easily allow much of the system to be ridden forwards and backwards giving the potential for a 10 to 12 mile ride just at this site. One thing we have always attempted to include in our trail design is the ability to have enough of a different riding experience doing the same trail in reverse and make it easy to do so. We have learned a great deal from our great resources of trail design, NEMBA, IMBA, FOMBA and especially from the input of individual riders. We always try to incorporate Philip Keyes' "KISS" formula…KEEP IT SINGLETRACK STUPID.

 

With that said let me jump back to the part of the last paragraph where it said "just at this site". This is because one other unique thing about this property besides being fully supported by the local community and authorities is that it lies equidistant between two other great riding areas. Within, in both cases a little over a mile of "road work", is Great Brook Farm/State Forest in Carlisle where I know many of you have ridden for years and in the other direction Billerica State Forest.

 

Great Brook is known for being able to incorporate a 15+ mile solid intermediate ride into your schedule and allow for an ice cream/frappe stop to boot. An easy jaunt to the east is Billerica State Forest. Not known for an extensive or exciting riding experience, that will hopefully begin to change as MV gets more involved with the property. The DCR has expressed interest in having us work with them in evaluating the existing trail system and setting up a plan similar to what we have done at Lowell-Dracut. This would ultimately add another 7 to 10 miles of riding in the area giving the potential for 30+ miles worth of rides in the Chelmsford area alone, not to mention the ability to connect all the way to the PR in Bedford. Epic rides here we come!

 

Russell Mill is open all year round. We have a scheduled Friday night ride starting from the parking lot off Mill Rd., Chelmsford, Ma. Very much like the Tuesday night ride at Lowell/Dracut, the start time is 5pm and we swing back to the lot at approximately 5:45 for those who can't get there at 5. When the snow begins to fly there is a scheduled Friday night snowshoe walk at Russell. We have dubbed event this "Friday Night Lights". This, like our rides, is open to everyone, based on the premise that exercise is a good thing, being out in the woods is a good thing, beating down the snow on the trails is a good thing (we ride in the winter too), goes from 5pm to around 8:30, and is allowed and supported by the town. Great town!

 

Well hopefully this will create awareness and generate interest in MVs' latest trail project(s). Please feel free to check out the Russell Mill trails, whether you start at the lot or are extending a ride from Great Brook we hope to meet you out there sometime soon. As this is being written we are planning an Open House for the site on May 16th, hope maybe by the time you see this article you will have already taken the time to explore our newest endeavor and would consider hooking up with us on one of our rides or trail days.

 

Check out this video Youtube of the Pump Track!

 

Directions:
130 Mill Rd, Chelmsford
From route 3 in Chelmsford take exit 29 and head West. Take your first left on Mill Road and follow it 1.3 miles to the parking lot at the soccer fields

By Robert Giunta Read more about Russell Mill, Chelmsford

Local Shops

Seaside Cycle

Pedalin' Fools Mobile Bicycle Services

Links to Relevant Resources

Northeast MA

Maudslay State Park

87 Curzon Mill Rd
Newburyport  Massachusetts  01950
United States

978 465-7223

Easy

80%

Moderate

15%

Difficult

5%

Description

Maudslay has wide trails for biking, walking, xc skiing, and horseback riding. It borders the Merrimac River, so you can walk or ride along the western side of the park. Best to go early in the morning. Quite a few people jog thru the park. It also has some nice hills. All the trails are well kept. They fill all holes with bark mulch. Riding is best early in the morning when the park opens at 8:00AM as that is when the trails are least crowded. The park also has a greenhouse area with a nice maze of low cut hedges, but don't ride your bike here.
There is a kettle hole area refered to as the Punch Bowl. You may notice a path which runs about a forty foot down and up. This is not a trail; it is an erosion problem caused by park users who have not stayed on marked trails. Currently, this area is fenced off for habitat restoration. The park management and NEMBA request that you never ride in any area that is not officially open to bikes.

Bike trails are marked on trail maps that are available in the brochure box by the bulletin board in the parking area and at park headquarters.

The park does not open until 8AM and closes at sunset. Anyone in the park before or after park hours is trespassing. The park is open year however from November through March, a portion of the park is closed to protect the wintering habitat of bald eagles.

Anyone violating park regulations could incur a $50 fine. The goal of the park is for the park to be enjoyed by all of our visitors and it is important for the protection of the resource and everyone's safety and enjoyment that everyone abide by the rules.

Directions:
From I95, take Exit 57 for Newburyport/Newbury onto Rt 113 East. Travel 1/2 mile and turn left onto Noble St. Follow signs to the park.

 

By David A Joaquin & Robert Kovacks Read more about Maudslay State Park

Local Shops

The Bicycle Shop of Topsfield

Riverside Cycle

Seaside Cycle

Pedalin' Fools Mobile Bicycle Services

Buchika's Ski & Bike

Links to Relevant Resources

Northeast MA

Lynn Woods

150 Great Woods Rd.
Lynn  Massachusetts  01904
United States

Easy

20%

Moderate

20%

Difficult

60%

Description

Every local mountain biker should experience Lynn Woods! After living in the Boston Metro Area for three years, I have developed a list of thrity places within thirty minutes of the town of Arlington that I like to ride, some of them well known, many not known at all. Out of all of them, nothing is better then a day at Lynn Woods. Lynn Woods, as the name suggests, is nestled within the town of Lynn Massachusetts. For those who are unfamiliar with Lynn, it is a low income industrial town about ten miles north east of Boston. If you were to drive through the somewhat run-down center of town you would never guess that you were close to best mountain biking Massachusetts and even New England has to offer.


Lynn woods is quite large, although I am not certain, I would estimate it to be at least 2,000 acres. The park consists of three lakes, the largest of which (Walden Pond, no, not the one made famous by Thoreau), divides the reservation into two distinct sections. To the South of Walden Pond is a maze of fire roads and single-track that even after two years of riding, I still find confusing. The terrain on this side is mostly easy to intermediate, and a lot of fun to explore. For the explorer there are two places that are of particular interest; the stone tower, and Dungeon Rock. No more then a 1/4 mile from the main parking lot, directly up a long steep hill is a 5 story stone tower, built in the 1930s. From the top of this tower one can get a majestic view of the Atlantic Ocean as well as a clear shot of the Boston skyline ten miles to the south. The climb to the top can be an adventure in its self, and don't be surprised if you find a few not-so-polite local teenagers hanging out on the roof. Heading down the other side of the hill with the tower for another 1/4 mile or so you will encounter Dungeon Rock. Created by a treasure hunter in the 1800s, Dungeon Rock is cave blasted into and beneath an enormous boulder. As the legend goes pirates supposedly buried treasure underneath that rock, and some poor sap spent his entire life searching for it, by digging his way through solid rock. Although he was not successful, the treasure hunter did leave behind a very interesting piece of work. The entrance to Dungeon Rock is sealed with a cast iron door, that is supposed to be locked. However, every time I have been there the lock on the steel door was broken (probably a service provided by the same kids that hang out on t he top of the tower), and entry was possible. It's dark in there!

To the north of Walden Pond are the trails that make Lynn Woods unique. If you are new to the sport of mountain biking you probably won't want to ride on this side. To those who are experienced technical riders, you will never want to leave. The best way to describe the terrain is ROCKS! Yes everything from small loose gravel, to boulders the size of a small house. It is awesome. If you are new to this type of terrain it will take a little getting used to, but it will be worth it. Personally, I like meandering over the huge boulders that dot the landscape. For those who are interested just head up the hill towards to water tower, and follow the white dotted trail from there. The water tower can be easily seen from any clearing. This trail is nothing short of amazing. On a sunny Saturday, don't be surprised to pass fifty or more other riders in this area, it has become quite popular for good reason. Have a blast, and although it may not seem like it the first time you ride it, it is possible to ride the entire white dotted trail without falling.

Directions to Lynn Wood:
Get on I95 North. Take exit 44B for Lynn, Rt 129 East. This will dump you on a rotary, just continue to follow the signs for Rt 129 east. After you go about two more miles, a small road will go off to your right, which will be marked with a sign for the Larry Gannon Municipal Golf Course. Follow this road for about 200 yards until it dead ends into a parking lot with a baseball field on the side. This is the entrance to Lynn Woods. About 200 feet off the end of the parking lot will be the tail end of Walden Pond. To the left is the bulk of the reservation, including Dungeon Rock. To the right is the technical terrain that makes Lynn Woods awesome. Leave a lot of time and try both!

Note:

There are two maps at the top of this page.  The first is the Town's Lynn Woods map while the second focuses on the difficult "freeride trails" in the eastern section of the park.


Rules:
Mountain bicycles are prohibited on trails between January 1st and April 15th.
 

Other riding near Lynn Woods:
For those who like an adventure, the fun does not end within the confines of Lynn Woods. In the past few years, I have found a way to ride primarily off road from Lynn Woods to Salem Woods, which is some five miles away. The ride inbetween is some of the most challenging terrain I have yet been on. Although I do not want to give the whole secret away, I will tell those interested how to get started. On the North side of Walden Pond there is a set of powerlines that traverse Lynn Woods, anyone who spends anytime there knows what I mean. Get on the trail underneath them and follow it out of the reservation heading AWAY from Rt 1 (be weary of kids riding motorcycles). Eventually you will hit a residential road. The powerlines will cross over that road and continue on the other side. That section is impassable, do not bother to try to ride it. Turn right on that road, then take your immediate left. Go one block and you will be on Rt 129. Turn left and you will hit the powerlines again. You will be able to pick up the trail again at that point. After about 100 yards you will be on another residential road. Turn right, go about 100 feet to the end of the road. Turn right again. Go for about 500 feet and take a left. Follow that street for about 1000 feet to the end (it is a pretty serious uphill climb). You will come to a dead end, after which will be the same powerlines again. Get back on the trail and enjoy a fun and very technical ride. This trail goes on for quite awhile. Although I am not going to give any more detailed directions, those adventurous types that are diligent in following the powerlines, will eventually hit a large (500 acres) area of wooded land owned by Eastman-Kodak. Many of the trails here have been blazed by motorcycles and you will find various downhills with banked curves (pretty scary stuff if you can keep your hands off the brakes). This place is a lot of fun! From there it is possible to take a trail that will lead in the direction of Salem woods, but that is all I am going to tell.


By Chuck Joyce Read more about Lynn Woods

Local Shops

JRA Cycles

Back Bay Bicycles

Belmont Wheelworks

Cycle Loft

Seaside Cycle

Pedalin' Fools Mobile Bicycle Services

Links to Relevant Resources

Local Eats

Superior Roast Beef & Seafood

Northeast MA

Dow Brook Conservation Area

100 Mile Lane
Ipswich  Massachusetts  01938
United States

Easy

45%

Moderate

25%

Difficult

30%

Description

There are many numerous trails around the area, there is one main loop with trails verging off leading to other towns, and more trails. Right in the center of the main loop, there is a hill with three trails leading up/down it, one easy, one hard and one unrideable, going up, if you were to go down it, that's another story. The trails are nice and they meander along the town resevoirs, (swimming is prohibited) and out along numerous hills. the trails are mostly doubletrack, but offer many technical areas due to fallen trees and rocks strewn about, it's a really nice place for an afternoon ride. 


Directions:
On route 1A heading north, out of town, travel about three miles, at the intersection with Mile Lane, at the infamous "Clam Box", a really nice fried food restaurant, turn left onto Mile Lane. Park at the ballfield parking lot about 3/4 mile down Mile Lane. Ride the loop on the map and then explore the trails that you encounter.


Rules:
All trails are open to bicycles. No swimming in the resevoirs. The woods of Willowdale State forest are a short ride away behind Doyon School, on Linebrook Road.

By Jarrod Bartlett Read more about Dow Brook Conservation Area

Local Shops

The Bicycle Shop of Topsfield

Seaside Cycle

Pedalin' Fools Mobile Bicycle Services

Links to Relevant Resources

Local Eats

Clam Box of Ipswich

Northeast MA

Harold Parker State Forest

114 Jenkins Rd
Andover  Massachusetts  01810
United States

978 686-3391

Easy

30%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

40%

Description

Harold Parker State Forest is located in the towns of Andover, North Andover, Middleton and North Reading. The forest’s 3000+ acres have over 30 miles of old woods roads and singletracks. And the singletracks are some of the most enjoyable to be experienced in the region. The white-blazed Bay Circuit Trail goes through Harold Parker and links it to the nearby Charles Ward Reservation (The Trustees of Reservations) and the Boxford State Forest.

For many years NEMBA members have been active in the forest, repairing and upgrading its trails. I start most of my rides in the eastern section of the forest on Harold Parker Road where there are numerous small parking areas. Alternatively many riders start nearer to the center of the forest at the intersection of Jenkins and Harold Parker Roads.

The Lorraine Pond campground, which has 91 sites, is also centrally located and near to most of the forest's trailheads.

At least a few days will be needed to fully explore all of the trails that Harold Parker has to offer. And I'd suggest bringing a copy of the trail map so that you won't get too badly lost. The official DCR trail map doesn't show every one of the forest's trails. But at least all of the roads and major intersections are on it.

Every year North Shore NEMBA hosts the Wicked Ride of the East at Harold Parker. This is a challenging fun event that uses many of the best trails in the forest, including many that North Shore NEMBA has had a hand in maintaining. Be sure to check out the route map for this event.

For more information on Harold Parker, including camping and swimming visit the DCR's Harold Parker Website. This website now has three maps for Harold Parker.  A general map of the forest and two mountain bike specific maps that were generated as part of the forest's recent Resource Management Plan. These are the East Map and the West Map.

But the best way to get introduced to Harold Parker's trails is to explore. Go there, take off on a trail, and get lost. Then find yourself, and get lost again. You'll never be too far from a paved road; so cutting the forest up into pavement encircled blocks will keep things manageable. Not to mention provide you with many days of fun exploring. I particularly like the way the singletracks make use of all of the forest's best terrain. They wind around and over all of the forests' hills and provide you with lots of scenic photo opportunities along the shores of the forest's many ponds.


If you want to sample the best of the forest’s trails without having to find them yourself try following the course on the Wicked Ride of the East event map. Or attend this year’s event.

Everyone I know who rides at Harold Parker raves about the place. The trails seem endless. The terrain ranges from smooth buffed singletracks to some of the most technical cross country trails on the North Shore.

When I ride at Harold Parker I normally do one of three rides.

For the first ride I’ll park in the dirt parking lot on the north side of Harold Parker Road just west of Collins, Brackett,  Delano and Bear Ponds. I try to ride all of the singletracks and woods roads in this area as they loop around these ponds. In doing this I do not cross any paved roads. So if you get to one, turn around and continue exploring. I don’t have a preferred route, although some of the singletracks are much more fun when ridden down than they are as uphill climbs. If I have time I’ll finish on the trails to the south of Harold Parker Road that loop around the north of Field Pond. Actually, I always have time, as these trails are among my favorite trails in the forest. If you explore the trails to the east of Field Pond you’ll find one that leads into the back of the Lorraine Pond Campground.

Another good ride option is to park at the junction of Harold Parker and Jenkins Roads. Berry Pond Road also comes into this intersection. There is a large parking area here which is located pretty much in the center of the forest. From there I’ll choose one of the many forest roads to get deeper into the forest and then dive into any of the almost uncountable number of singletrack trails that lead off from them. A particular favorite among these is the technical singletrack that branches off from Harold Parker Road, which at this point has devolved into a dirt path. About 100 yards from the parking area turn right on the first singletrack. This trail is difficult and will serve as a great warmup for all of the other similar trails that you’ll encounter. Yellow diamond blazes mark the route to and around Salem Pond. Be sure to bring a copy of at least one of the maps mentioned above, as you will get lost without one.

For a third ride I focus on the trails in northeastern third of the forest. I’ll follow Berry Pond Road from the Jenkins parking lot to the crossing of the Bay Circuit Trail, and then take a right heading north. Following the white blazes and exploring additional singletrack spits you out on Harold Parker Road near Route 114. One can retrace the route back or continue behind Stearns Pond and Salem Pond for almost a 10 mile loop. But, at the northern end of this loop there is a vast array of convoluted singletracks that are almost too much fun to believe.

Riding in Harold Parker State Forest is a constant continuing challenge. Every time I go there I am awed by the trails that I find and surprised at how much fun I have. And, depending on the trails that I ride, how difficult they are.


In the winter I’ve encountered snow frozen as hard as Styrofoam here more than anywhere else. Frozen snow covers up all the roots and rocks that normally protrude from the ground and add it tends to make your ride very fast. But fast or slow, you’ll enjoy the trails at Harold Parker State Forest.


Rules:
Expect to find hunters during hunting season in many areas of the forest. However, there is no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays and the entire areas west of Jenkins Road in Andover and along Berry Pond Road are always closed to hunting.
The Lorraine Pond Campground is open from mid April to mid October.
Events  10/25/09 Kona Bicycles Mountain Bike Adventure Series   10th annual Wicked Ride of the East   http://www.mtbadventureseries.org/mtbadventure/

Local NEMBA Chapter
North Shore NEMBA  NS NEMBA Harold Parker article   By Jim Humphrey

Nearby NEMBA Shops  
The Bike Shop of Topsfield  Cycle Loft


Directions
From route 93 take exit 41. Follow 125 north (toward Andover), for about 4 miles to the State Police Barracks (on right). Turn right on Harold Parker Rd. There are many parking areas on this road and the Jenkins Road intersection is about one mile away. From that intersection turn right to get to the Lorraine Park Campground.

By Bill Boles & Dan Streeter Read more about Harold Parker State Forest

Local Shops

Bicyle Shop of Topsfield

Cycle Loft

Seaside Cycle

Pedalin' Fools Mobile Bicycle Services

Buchika's Ski & Bike

Links to Relevant Resources

Northeast MA

Groton Town Forest

90 Town Forest Rd
Groton  Massachusetts  01450
United States

Easy

40%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

10%

Description

Description:


The town of Groton got its name in 1655 a few years after John Tinker set up a trading post among the Nashaway Indians near the junction of the Squannacook and Nashua rivers.


When I'm riding in the Groton Town Forest I like to think that the trails that I'm enjoying aren't very much different than the trails that these early settlers explored. And that possibly I'm on some of the same trails that these long departed settlers and Indians used for hunting, trapping, fishing and to get from one village to another. And at times, in these woods, gazing over a seemingly remote river from a high bank, you may imagine yourself back in those earlier times too.

But, those early trail users didn't have the advantages that I do mounted as I am on a bright shiny trail bicycle.

The trails in the Gorton Town Forest are fast, mostly smooth, sometimes sandy and sometimes hilly. They flow in and out of the woods on a series of old woods roads and singletracks. You'll frequently find yourself cresting and then riding along the ridge of a drumlin that was left there by the last glacier. But then, a few minutes later, you're riding alongside a riverbed and ducking under low hanging branches. Too hot? Why not go for a swim in that river?

In all you'll find about 14 miles of trails in the forest. Liberally apply mosquito spray if you ride in the evenings in the summer, and I suggest carrying a copy of the trail map just in case you get lost. You can get an official copy of the map at the Groton Town Hall.

There are 6.4 miles of marked trails in the forest. They form a loop and they can be ridden in both directions. The marked loop is probably the best introduction you can get to the area. It stays pretty close to the outer boundaries of the forest. On your second and subsequent loops, begin exploring some of the many side trails that branch off the main trail and, in time, you'll have ridden, and enjoyed, everything. Oh! The side trails all connect back to the marked loop, and once you learn them, you'll be able to link together any number of good rides.

Directions:
From route 495 take exit 31 and follow route 119 (Great Road) until it becomes Boston Road and then Main Street in Groton Center. After the center bear left on route 225 where it splits off from route 119. Follow route 225 for a little over a mile and turn left on Town Forest Road. Follow it to the end, going past some new houses and park in the dirt parking area.

Cautions:
The Groton Town Forest is surrounded by private property. Respect the rights of property owners by not riding past signs that ask you not to. In early spring the trails can be pretty muddy. Protect them by not riding here until things dry out.


By Bill Boles Read more about Groton Town Forest

Local Shops

All Tuned Up

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Northeast MA

Flat Rock Hill

60 Mill St
Dunstable  Massachusetts  01827
United States

Easy

60%

Moderate

35%

Difficult

5%

Description

The best parking for Fllat Rock Hill is off Mill St in Dunstable. Mill Street is a short little road that starts and ends on Main St. It makes one sharp turn and right at the apex of the turn there is a sign for Flat Rock Hill. If you drive down into the field there is ample parking.

The trails at Flat Rock Hill go on for miles. Single track. Double track. Lots of flat stuff but - as the name implies - also some great hills. There are trails for all ability levels, something for everyone. Not all of the trails are on the MAP, but you'll get  in a good ride.

The backbone of the area is an old rail bed. It hasn't been converted into a bike trail, but it is pretty wide and flat. For whatever reason it hasn't been marked on the map but it runs from the Stone Arch Bridge down to Main St. The yellow and white trails run along part of it. All the easier trails lead off of it. Starting from the Mill St. parking area, if you follow the Red Trail and then the Salmon Brook trail, you'll get to the rail bed trail.

The southern end of the Salmon Brook trail looks like it ends at the brook. However, if you don't mind getting your feet wet, you can ford the brook and there are a bunch more trails on the other side. I'm not that familiar with those trails but they are probably worth a visit.

The Blanchard Hill trail (brown) is straight up/down. I think you would have to be super strong to ride up it, and super brave (i.e. crazy) to ride down it. The top of Blanchard Hill was cleared a few years ago so there is a nice view to western Mass. It's worth going up it, even if you have to (gasp) walk your bike.

The Yellow and White trails have you either going up or down. I'd say they are hard without being deadly (maybe).

The last thing I'll mention iare two more good options: Only a short road ride away is the Dunstable Rural Land Trust conservation land (marked as DRLT on the map). There's another whole network of (easier) trails there. It's listed as Fletcher Pond Trails on the NEMBA web site. From the Mill St parking area follow Mill St back to Main St, turn right, and about 3/4 mile down the road you'll see the small entrance to the DRLT on your left. It's across the street from Skytop Lane. The map shows a few different parking areas at the different entrances. The one on Mill St is the biggest. Room for everybody.

Lastly, Fletcher Pond is right across Route 111 A in Nashua New Hampshire's Yudicky Park.      Linking all three areas together would make for a really Epic Ride.

By Bill Boles Read more about Flat Rock Hill

Local Shops

Exeter Cycles

Goodale's Bike Shop

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