Difficulty-- Easy:30%, Moderate:40%, Difficult:19%, Caution:1%
Wompatuck State Park in Hingham Massachusetts offers an extremely varied riding
experience to area mountain bikers.
Wompautuck is bisected by Union Street. In the past most of the off road bicycling was
done on the right side of Union Street where the majority of the park's unbroken woodland
exists. But, in the last few years the park's staff, aided by area mountain bikers, has
been hard at work creating an entirely new network of singletrack trails on the left side
of the park in some areas recently reacquired by the State.
`Wompy' as the locals refer to it, is a great place to ride. It contains the greatest
number and variety of singletracks in the close-to-Boston-south area.
Some of the singletracks, especially the newer ones, are fast and swoopy. While some of
the others remind one of long distance trials sections. The latter are constantly busy as
you never seem to go in a straight line for more than 50 feet or so, and never seem to
stop hopping logs, dodging trees or riding over rocks.
Prospect Hill is the largest hill in the forest. It has 4 routes to the top, three of
which are singletracks. And one of these has the longest section of switchbacked
singletrack in the state.
One of the old singletracks has been closed however. It seems that this singletrack
went right through the middle of an area that, unknown to anyone, had unexploded land
mines. While riding on this trail was a real blast, straying off of it could have caused
another kind of blast. (This area is now fenced off until it's certified as mine free.)
Wompy has a large campground with 450 sites. There's a 10 mile paved bicycle trail that
is also a favorite of area roller bladers. And many miles of additional, flat, automobile
free paved roads that attract familes with young children.
Wompy has hosted a great mountain bike race every year since 1997. It's called The Landmine Classic. The NEMBAFest will be held in the forest on June 11, 2006.
Wompatuck is one of the sites in the NEMBA/MERLIN Trail
Care Series. In addition to building bridges and erosion control projects, like
the state's, `longest switchback trail', TMS volunteers are actively involved in creating
that extensive system of new singletrack.
Wompatuck State Park abuts Cohasset's Whitney Thayer woods, a Trustees of Reservations
property that allows mountain biking on a network of well maintained gravel paths. One of
Wompy's trails leads right into Whitney Thayer, and covering both areas on the same day
would make for a very lengthy ride.
Currently, most of the new singletrack is marked with orange paint splotches and
streamers. However, when the project is completed, things will be more clearly marked with
arrows and signs.
Wompy's trails can be wet in early spring. (For a better riding experience, it's best
to head further south during mud season, like for instance to the Myles Standish State
Forest in Plymouth/Carver Mass.)
In the winter cross country skiiers and snowmobilers abound at Wompatuck. Snowmobilers
have free reign in the left portion of the forest and most skiers stay on the right.
No matter what the season, Wompy's trails are used by a lot of different kinds of trail
users. So expect to meet a lot of non-bikers out on the trails.
Wompatuck State Park was originally created to house a World War II munitions depot.
Farm and forest lands in the towns of Hingham and Cohasset were bought up by the
Government and the existing residents were displaced.
After the war a large portion of the depot was returned to the State and turned into a
state park. Many miles of paved `depot roads' still lace the park especially on the left
side. Additionally lots of cement ammunition bunkers and revetments dot the landscape. In
recent years more land has been returned to the State as the Federal Government continues
to clean up hazardous waste.
Even with the remnants of all of this military development Wompatuck has a lot of
trails. And even more are in the works.
If you live in the close-to-Boston-south area, you already know about the Wompatuck
State Park. If you don't, it's a good place to check out. It's also the site of quite a
few of the `South Shore' rides in NEMBA's Fun Ride series.
To get there, leave route 3 at exit 14 in Norwell and head north towards Hingham. Go
for about 3 miles and turn right on Free Street. Follow Free Street to Union Street at the
Maps are available at forest headquarters which is on your right about 1,000 yards in
from the gate.
Check the NEMBA homepage for upcoming NEMBA/MERLIN Trail
Care Series dates. The norm is that we start at 8:30, work til just after noon,
grab a snack, and then go for a ride. Why not join us?