Submitted by Bill Boles
- Mill St., Foxboro
Mountain Bike Adventure Series Ride September 25 2011
The Foxboro section of the F. Gilbert Hills State Forest in Foxboro, Massachusetts offers one of the best riding experiences in eastern Massachusetts. The 810 acres of woodlands are densely forested with a variety of hardwood stands and contain a spaghetti-like maze of trails. The rocky gravelly earth, derived from a glacial till, is well drained, rarely muddy, and has little sand. Drumlins provide an interesting variety of abrupt elevation changes. There are no paved roads, campsites, or lakes. This forest is basically just trails.
A number of interesting stone structures are found in the forest. Scientists and historians disagree as to their origins.
Foxboro State Forest abuts Foxborough town conservation
land. Some of the trails in the forest enter this area and bicycles
are welcome there. This area has seen years of off-road
motorcycle activity. The trails range from rough dirt roads and
degraded jeep roads to miles upon miles of difficult singletrack. The
trails take advantage of the best of the forest's elevation changes,
scenery and natural terrain. They are a gas to ride. The dense woods
provide a shady, usually dust free riding experience. There is little
mud after April, and it's cool under the trees in all but the hottest
part of the summer. Here you will find the challenges of the Blue
Hills or the Middlesex Fells without the air pollution and the
constant traffic noise.
- Deadfalls can be a problem in the early spring and after a summer windstorm. Fortunately the forest's many trail users join together to speed their removal.
As a result of a GOALS planning process, an
extensive network of marked trails exists in the forest. Designations include
trails for hikers, horses, mountain bikes, and motorcycles. With the
exception of small sections of the hiking trail we are welcome on
all of the forest's marked trails as well as the other woods roads,
The Foxboro State Forest mountain bike trail expands upon the
existing motorcycle trail. It starts out easy and then gets
progressively harder until just before the end when it terminates with
a 3/4 mile dirt road ride. It's 9 miles long.
There is also a shortcut. "The Family Loop", leads back to headquarters after 2.5 miles.
All of the above mentioned trails are marked and copies of the
DCR's forest map are available at forest headquarters.
The F. Gilbert Hills State Forest is divided up into three
sections, Foxboro, Wrentham and Franklin. Locals refer to each section
by the name of the town that it's in, rather than its formal name. Of
the three, I feel that Wrentham has the most technical challenge,
Foxboro has the most people, and Franklin is the
- The DCR publishes a map of the Foxboro section of
the park. Copies are available at the signboard at forest headquarters. A copy
of the DCR map is available online.
A GPS map is also available. The
ride on the MTB loop may be extended by turning right on Messenger
Rd. at point 11 on the map, taking a left onto the Warner Trail,
proceeding North, then West, then South, and returning to the
multi-use trail back at Messager Rd. just Southwest of point 11.
These trails, and many others, are clearer on the GPS map.
- To get there, take exit 14 from Mass. Route 495.
Head north on Route 1 to your second intersection, Thurston Street.
From there follow the state forest signs to forest headquarters or park at either of the two metal state forest gates that will be on your left.
Fair warning... the parking lot at forest headquarters is usually
filled on weekends. It's best to try and park somewhere else. Another
good place to park, and the site of the future main parking lot for
the forest, is about another 1/2 mile north of Thurston Street on Route 1. Just
after Myrtle Street on your left look for a small paved road on your
right. This is High Rock Road. The new parking area will be located
right near Route 1. You can park there now or you can follow High
Rock Road to the top of the hill where there is a large parking area
near a communications tower. By parking here you will avoid the dirt
road section that returns you to forest headquarters, and also most of
the forest's other trail users. High Rock Road is also a much better
place to park on weekends, mornings and evenings when the gate at
forest headquarters will be locked.
Events Kona Bicycles Fox Racing Shox Mountain Bike Adventure Series September 25 2011
Nearby NEMBA Shops & Links International Bicycle Centers Bike Barn Dave's Bike Infirmary Wheelworks Landry's EMS The Bikeway Source SEMASS NEMBA BV NEMBA Greater Boston NEMBA Sheldonville Bicycle Repair
- You will be sharing the trails in this forest with many other trail users. Be sure to yied the right of way to hikers and especially equestrians.
Expect hunting in the late fall and early winter. Except on Sundays, there is no hunting in Massachusetts on Sunday.