Southeast MA

Southeast MA

Willow Street

1 Ansel Hallet Rd
Yarmouth  Massachusetts  02673
United States

Easy

60%

Moderate

35%

Difficult

5%

Description

Willow Street / Exit 7

Location:
Willow Street Yarmouth MA


Many northern New Englanders looking for a snow and ice free area to ride in the winter or early spring head south to Cape Cod. Winters there are normally less wintery, more like New York’s Long Island, and as winter moves into spring it’s rare that the snow is too deep to ride in or that the sandy gravely soil that makes up much of the dirt on the Cape is muddy. Many riders check conditions by joining NEMBA’s Cape Cod Facebook Group and asking a local.

Most people heading for the Cape direct their cars to either the Trail of Tears in Barnstable or to Otis in Bourne and Falmouth. Others head farther down the Cape to Nickerson State Park. But one of the best riding locations on the Cape is also one of the least known. It’s at exit seven on the Mid Cape Highway, Route 6 and is commonly referred to as Willow Street. Confusing things Willow Street actually comprises three separate riding areas. All are located near the same exit and can be linked together to form about 55 miles of riding.

The first of these is located just a few hundred feet from the end of the exit ramp. When you exit the highway drive to the South side of the highway bridge and park in the dirt lot beside the train tracks. You’ll see a trail with a Cape Cod Pathways marker leading into the woods and that trail will lead you to over 20 miles of enjoyable hilly singletracks located in the Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area.

Going straight on this trail for about three miles will bring you within site of Phinneys Lane. If you turn right there, go under the highway and follow a dirt path up to the water towers you’ll find another trail on the north side of the highway that will take you back to the railroad tracks. This loop, called “The Highway Loop”, is about six miles long. But it misses almost all of the good riding in the area.

Instead take the second singletrack on your left and follow the most obvious trail. This will net you almost 15 miles of riding. Most of which will be fast and fun though there are a lot of hills to slog up. You’ll notice what looks like wide dirt roads. These are the legacy of a failed housing development on land that was later preserved as a wellhead protection zone by the town. Don’t try to ride on these roads, instead follow the singletracks that cross them. You may come across a trail leading around the Barnstable Airport. If you do keep following it until it leads you out to Phinneys Lane. Turn right at that point to get back to the “Highway Trail”

You’ve been riding mostly in the town of Barnstable. For your second adventure you’ll be in Yarmouth. From the end of the highway ramp head south on Willow Street for about ¾ of a mile. Turn left on Higgins Crowell Road and follow it for three miles until just past the Yarmouth Police Station where you’ll see a small conseravtion area parking lot at 307 Higgins Crowell Road. These are the Yarmouth Town Trails. Heading out of the back of the parking area you’ll discover over fifteen miles of trails. Some lead through the Horse Pond Conservation Area but most will take you on a long journey to the west and south of the Bayberry Hills Golf Course. After some exploration you’ll actually find yourself on a small hilltop overlooking the parking area by the Willow Street railroad tracks.

Another, shorter ride is located just across Higgins Crowell Road. That trail will first lead you around the Sandy Pond Conservation Area and then, as you explore, into a vast area where the locals have developed an extensive network of trails. Some of these trails do dead end in people’s back yards, but that’s what exploring is all about.

A third option is the extensive Greenough network located just north of the highway.

My guess is that one day will not be enough to explore the areas mentioned in this article. But here’s a good tip. While you’re on the Cape Cod NEMBA email list or Facebook page, ask a local if they’d like to join you for a ride. You’ll find that Cape Cod NEMBA folks are very friendly and usually more than willing to show off their favorite trails.

Accommodations and eating establishments are actually too numerous to mention. Do a Google search.

By Bill Boles

Adapted from a SingleTracks Magazine article. Read more about Willow Street

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Southeast MA

Whitney Thayer Woods

Howes Lane
Cohasset  Massachusetts  02025
United States

781-740-7233

Easy

80%

Moderate

20%

Difficult

0%

Description

Whitney Thayer Woods & Turkey Hill

Location:
Route 3A Cohasset & Hingham

Description:

Whitney Thayer Woods is aTrustees of Reservations property located in the towns of Hngham and Cohasset. Whitney Thayer abuts the Wompatuck State Park and trails interconnect the two properties.

Whitney Thayer has about 10 miles of trails. However most of the reservation's singletracks are closed to bikes. What remains is a long series of mostly smooth woods roads. Whitney Thayer is a great place to bring beginners as none of the trails are too difficult. In the winter, if adequate snow cover exists Whitney Thayer is also a great place to go cross country skiing. A map of the property is available at the TTOR website. And sometimes there are maps at the signboard in the main parking lot on route 3A. Turkey Hill has a seperate parking area also located on route 3A.

Most of my rides at Whitney Thayer are done while riding in the Wompatuck State Park. I find that the smooth rolling trails of Whitney Thayer offer a welcome break from Wompatuck's more difficult bony singletracks. However, I have spent more than one pleasant afternoon doing nothing but re-exploring Whitney Thayer's pleasant trails. I never get tired of riding at Whitney Thayer. It's far enough 'away' from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that when I finish riding I am refreshed and invogorated. That may change however. At some point in 2007 the "T" should complete an unpaved bicycle trail leading from the commuter rail station in Hingham to Wompatuck State Park.

Directions:
From route 3 take exit 14 and follow route 228 north until it intersects with route 3A, (About 7 miles) Turn right on route 3A and look for a parking lot directly across from a Mobil station. (About 2 miles)  This is about one mile after the parking area for Turkey Hill.

Cautions:
You may see a lot of pedestrians and lots of unleashed dogs. There is a sign in the main parking area that warns, "cars have been broken into in this parking lot."  If this concerns you park across the street from the main entrance at the shopping plaza.

By Bill Boles Read more about Whitney Thayer Woods

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Southeast MA

West Bridgewater State Forest

599 Spring St
West Bridgewater  Massachusetts  02379
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

West Meadows Pond WMA & West Bridgewater State Forest

Location:
599 Spring St, West Bridgewater

Description:
The West Meadow Pond Wildlife Management Area and the West Bridgewater State Forest abut each other just south of the Brockton line in the town of West Bridgewater.

The West Meadow Pond WMA is a very scenic spot. A large lake and dam are right next to the main parking lot. Hockomock River spills from that dam and leads to Mill Pond at the southern end of these properties. The West Bridgewater State Forest is one of those many nearly forgotten state properties. Few people have ever heard of it.

I enjoy riding here as it's very close to a major city, yet somehow it seems very remote. In fact, if you could somehow subtract the traffic noise from nearby route 24 you'd be sure that you were somewhere in the backcountry of oh, I don't know, northern Maine.

The original trails in the WMA are all doubletracks. At one time they were improved and solidified, maybe even improved to the level of dirt roads. But over the years they have degraded somewhat. No longer smooth, they have occasional puddles and exposed roots. The puddles however, retain firm bottoms for the earlier improvements. And you can ride right through the middle of most of them without encountering mud. The WMA has about 5 miles of these old woods roads.

In more recent years ATVs have created a network of trails that are not so stable. They wind through the woods oftentimes through deep boggy areas. (ATV's and all motorized vehicles are not allowed in these two properties.)

The West Bridgewater State Forest is best accessed from the West Meadow Pond WMA. Follow the road across the dam and then turn left, either right after the dam, or about a half mile later. The old roads in the state forest were never improved to the extent the ones in the WMA were. As a result the puddles are deeper and the bottoms of them are much muddier. In addition there are pools of standing water on many of these 'roads' the result of years of motorized use without maintenance.

In all the two properties have over 15 miles of trails. A very mellow ride can be had if you stay on the old roads in the WMA. Things get much more difficult in the state forest, and on the ATV trails.

I enjoy riding here in the summer when the spring's water has mostly dried up. It's also a blast riding here in the middle of the winter with studded tires after a period of below freezing weather. Then all the water will be solidified and you can easily ride most everywhere.

Expect to see a lot of waterfowl in and around the lake. And if you're a fisherman, cast your line into the water just above the spillway.

Directions:
From the north or south: Take Rte. 24 to exit 16 and head East towards West Bridgewater.  Go 1.1 miles and turn left on North Elm Street.  Go .9 miles and turn left on Spring Street. Follow Spring Street to the end, (it will turn into a dirt road.) Park anywhere in the dirt parking area.

Cautions:
It's wet and muddy in the spring or after an extended period of rain. Always bring plenty of bug spray during the insect season. Both of these areas are open to hunting during the Massachusetts hunting seasons. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sunday's.)

Submitted by Bill Boles Read more about West Bridgewater State Forest

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Cape Cod or SE MASS Ride

Event Date

Repeats every week every Wednesday 100 times .
2/19/14 9:00am

This is always a morning ride though the starting time may vary. It is a no-drop ride, usually lasting about 2 hours.

The location of the ride varies week to week. We will touch on as many great riding areas in SE MASS and Cape Cod as we can.

Contact me for location and start time. These rides are always dependent on conditions. Read more about Cape Cod or SE MASS Ride

Location

TBD, Cape Cod or SE MAss

Chapter

State

Massachusetts

Ride Level

Advanced-novice
Intermediate

Ride Types

Ride Style

XC

Ride Leader Name

Bill Boles

SE MA NEMBA Tuesday Ride, Foxborough

Event Date

Repeats every week every Tuesday 200 times .
2/7/17 6:00pm

This is intended to be a Mellow-Intermediate ride. It is less technical and more social than the Thursday Ride. But, occasionally the pace picks up.

It is always a no-drop ride.

The route varies every week. 

The ride is always dependent on conditions. It starts at 6:00 PM and normally runs until about 8:00.

The ride always starts at the William O. Hocking Jr. Trailhead on Foxborough conservation land at 106 Main St Foxborough, MA.

Email me with any questions you might have. Read more about SE MA NEMBA Tuesday Ride, Foxborough

Location

Foxborough, MA

Chapter

State

Massachusetts

Ride Level

All Levels

Ride Types

Ride Style

XC

Ride Leader Name

Iain Crerar

Southeast MA

Shawme-Crowell State Forest

42 Main St
Sandwich  Massachusetts  02563
United States

508 888-0351

Easy

30%

Moderate

60%

Difficult

10%

Description

Shawme Crowell is a 700 acre State Forest located in the town of Sandwich just over the Cape Cod Canal on the Cape. The park is best know for it's campground. There are almost 300 well maintained campsites. The Forest has about 5 miles of paved and dirt roads and about 10 miles of trails. The trails are very well maintained and trail markers abound. These trails are, as a rule, not very technical. There are a couple of steep climbs, but mostly the trails are rolling in nature, fast and a lot of fun to ride. Get a map at the Forest's Welcome Station and you won't get lost.

 

The best place to access the trails is at the back of the forest near the camper's dumping station. From there you will see one trail heading off into the woods, another right behind the utility shed and a third a short distance away across a clearing. I suggest starting with the one across the clearing. Expect to enjoy yourself here. A good rider could cover all of the Forest's trails in a couple of hours, but with one or two exceptions they are just as much fun in both directions.

 

There are a lot of deer in the forest, and the State has installed a tick killer / deer feed station, to limit them.

 

Notes:
Be sure to check yourself for ticks after every ride. You may find that some passengers have adhered to your clothing.

 

Directions:
From the Cape Cod Canal Follow Rte. 6 over the Sagamore bridge to exit 2 and the intersection with Rte. 130 in Sandwich. Follow Rte. 130 into Sandwich and follow the State Forest signs 3 miles to the Forest entrance which will be on your left.

 

By Bill Boles Read more about Shawme-Crowell State Forest

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Southeast MA

Rocky Woods, Taunton

1 Range Avenue
Taunton  Massachusetts  02780
United States

Easy

20%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

30%

Description

Rocky Woods in Taunton has over 30 miles of tight, twisty fairly technical singletrack. There are far too many trails to ride in one day. Some of the trails can be muddy and a few are overgrown with vegetation. But in many places local trail advocates have built wooden bridges to get you through the mud. You can ride here all year long save for the early spring when many of the trails will be too muddy. Rocky Woods is also home to some good rock climbing.

It would be very easy to get lost in Rocky Woods but fortunately many of the trails are marked. And by following the colored markers you'll get a good introduction to the area. While most of the trails are singletracks you'll find a few old woods roads too. If you follow them out to local streets you'll get an idea of just how big this area is. Expect to spend more than a few days finding all the trails here. And bring a copy of this map. It will help a lot.

The singletracks here were in large part made by motorcyclists. Expect to see them out on the trails.

Directions:
From Taunton Center head west on route 44. You can park behind Curley's Pub. This is about a quarter of a mile past North Walker Street on route 44. The trailhead is behind the building next to the dumpster.

But I usually park at the bowling alley about one quarter of a mile beyond Curley's at the corner of Range Ave. To get to the trails from there head up Range Ave and turn right on Rocky Woods Street. (A degrading dirt road that looks like a trail.)

By Bill Boles Read more about Rocky Woods, Taunton

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Southeast MA

Rocky Gutter

34 Rocky Gutter St
Middleborough  Massachusetts  02346
United States

(508) 759-3406

Easy

80%

Moderate

15%

Difficult

5%

Description

At last a place to ride that isn't hard.    At last a place to ride that doesn't have any hills.

Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area is located in Middleborough just off route 495. The area consists of 2954 acres and is managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. This land is managed for hunting fishing and wildlife viewing and there are over 15 miles of trails and dirt roads that can be enjoyed on a mountain bike.

As I stated above the riding here is pretty easy. This is a perfect place to ride if you don't want to beat yourself up, if you are introducing a new rider to the sport, or are riding with your kids.

From the parking area near the metal gate I'd suggest following Rocky Gutter Road to the far end of the park. (About 2.2 miles.) If you do you'll notice many trails and old woods roads leading off Rocky Gutter Road to the north and south. A good rule of thumb here is that any trail that looks used probably loops back to Rocky Gutter Road at some point. While any trail that doesn't look used probably dead ends someplace. Most of the best riding is located on the north side of the road. (That's your left as you ride out of the parking area.) The south side is much larger, but it has fewer trails as it's mostly a wetland.

One good ride consists of riding to the far end of the park and then on your way back taking your first right into the woods on a well used doubletrack. From this point if you keep taking left turns you'll eventually get back to Rocky Gutter Road much closer to your car. As you do this you'll notice a number of well used right turns leading off into the woods. Take them and you be extending your ride with additional loops.

The most difficult trail that I found was on the South side of the road not too far past the management area's only powerline. Follow it and you'll eventually come to an old ATV trail that leads out of the management area. But, this trail does not lead back to the main road. So if you ride it you'll be doing it as an "out & back".

One thing that strikes me every time I ride here is the solitude. I have never seen anyone out on the trails. Or even on the dirt road. Another thing is the quite. Stay on the north side of Rocky Gutter Road and you won't hear any traffic noise from Route 495 or anyplace else. And jet planes rarely fly over. You almost get the impression that you're riding someplace in northern New England so remote seeming is this area.

As I said all levels of riders can enjoy most of the park's trails. None require any advanced skills or high levels of fitness. Better riders of course will cover ground faster. But unless they're intent on riding challenging terrain even very good riders will have a lot of fun here too.

Directions:

From the north or south take Route 495 to exit 3. Head north on Route 28. Take your first right on Miller Street. And then turn right on Rocky Gutter Street. The paved road will turn into a dirt road and right before a metal gate you'll see a parking area on your right.

Cautions:
Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area is managed primarily for hunting and fishing. So during hunting season there will be a lot of hunters there. I would suggest not riding here during hunting season. After all you'll have the trails to yourself for most of the rest of the year. Massachusetts Hunting Season (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)

By Bill Boles Read more about Rocky Gutter

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Southeast MA

Pratt Farm

110 East Main St
Middleboro  Massachusetts  02346
United States

Easy

50%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

10%

Description

Pratt Farm has been a town owned conservation area since 1986. It is trail dense for such a small area. It boasts excellent trails for beginners, and has enough singletracks to keep most riders happy. In all there are probably 8 miles of trail in Pratt Farm. And more nearby that you'll discover as you explore. Though you'll have to spend a bit of time here to find everything.

Some of the trails are smooth and easy to ride. But many are root laden and force you to keep your eyes on the trail and not on the surrounding woods. That's too bad as Pratt farm has some very scenic hardwood forest stands and a few small ponds and streams that abound with wildlife.

One of my favorite trails is the "roller coaster" it starts at the top of a small hill, and if you let yourself go fast enough you can clear the uphill that follows without pedaling. You'll know it when you see it.

In the central part of the farm there's an obscure singletrack. It's pretty hard to find in the fall after the leaves have dropped off the trees. But it winds around and over the farm's only hill. It's probably the farm's most technical trail as it's narrow, somewhat overgrown and has plenty of fallen trees to overcome. The key to finding it is to go to the top of the farm's biggest hill on an old woods road. When you're there the singletrack will be right in front of you going left and right.

For an introduction to Pratt Farm's trails leave the parking area and at the first intersection turn left and follow the loop marked out with red trail markers. This will give you a good introduction to the area and on your second loop try exploring the many side trails that you found the first time around. I always enjoy my rides at pratt farm. Although I don't spend a lot of time here the trails keep calling me back.

              For a dog's impression of Pratt Farm go here.

The Middleboro Conservation Commission welcomes bikes. But they do request that everyone joins in a common effort to maintain the trails. To that end I always ride here with a small folding saw and hand lopper. That way I'm able to clear most of the deadfalls and overgrowth that I encounter.

Directions:
From route 24 in Middleborough take the route 44 exit and head East.
              Turn right on route 105, East Main Street, heading towards Middleborough center. Continue 1 mile to the parking lot on your left.

Cautions:
Lots of pedestrians use this area. Especially on weekends. Use cautiion, keep your speed down and we'll always be welcome here. By late spring you will find a lot of poison ivy growing near the old mill site. Use caution or avoid that trail.

By Bill Boles Read more about Pratt Farm

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