Southeast MA

Southeast MA

Massasoit State Park

1 Massasoit Park Rd
Taunton  Massachusetts  02718
United States

(508) 644-5522

Easy

40%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

20%

Description

Massasoit State Park is located just a few minutes from route 495 in Taunton, Massachusetts. It's densely forested and has a lot of trails. Massasoit has one lake and three ponds. There is a campground with over 120 sites and a public beach. Massasoit has a parking lot for equestrians in the southern end of the park, but most people choose to park near the main entrance off Middleboro Ave. The park is well utilized by mountain bikers. It’s rare to go there and not see at least a few cars with bicycle racks parked in the lot. Local shops have held weekly rides there for years and Massasoit has seen more than a few mountain bike races.  The park has a year-round park supervisor that is very supportive of mountain bikers.  In 2019 the campground was re-opened and the swimming beach was added.  Additionally, the dam near the campground was rebuilt.  In as much, the trail through the campground had to be closed.  Please do not attempt to ride the old trail through the campground.  It is closed year round!  A re-route is being planned and will hopefully be completed in the spring of 2020.  When you find yourself at the campground, please just simply take any paved road or paved campground road to your next destination.

Massasoit can be ridden all year long except when deep snow makes the trails impassable. There are at least 15 miles of trails at Massasoit, including a few miles of dirt roads. Most rides end up being 8 – 12 miles in length and it’s easy to loop in a route.  There are no long, extended climbs at Massasoit but many of the singletracks will have a number of short steep punchy climbs. These are made more difficult by loose soil, sand, rocks and exposed roots and are sure to make your heart rate climb. Most of the trails are not overly technical and many are rolling singletrack with tight corners. Although most trails are rated intermediate, expect to find a few difficult sections, mostly steep climbs, making short hike-a-bike sections not unusual.  It will take a good rider at least a couple of days to thoroughly explore Massasoit.

Arguably, the most fun trail in the park is the one along the south side of Lake Rico.  There is also a twisty, turny section of trail though a grove of tall white pines on the southern most section of the park.  The best way to finish any ride is to follow along the entire trail that runs parallel to the main road back to the HQ.  All of these trails shouldn’t be missed.

Massasoit lies right on the line between the sandy gravely soil of the Cape Cod area and the more rocky earth of northern Plymouth and Bristol counties. As a result, the trails drain quickly, and the spring's mud season is very short. A good rule of thumb is, don’t ride here if you wouldn’t ride around on your lawn.  The park supervisor takes mud season very seriously and will have a chat with you if you if he thinks you are damaging the trails. 
               
Directions:
From the north or south: Take Rte. 495 to Exit 5 in Middleborough. Take Rte. 18 South to the first intersection where there is a yellow flashing light. Turn right onto Taunton Street which becomes Middleborough Ave. Follow signs to the park.
From Boston: Take Rte. 24 south to Rte. 44 east, follow signs.

Cautions:
Be careful when riding near the main trailhead. Massasoit’s trails are very popular and are used by numerous walkers as well as by mountain bikers. You may encounter families with kids and dogs, slow down when you do as kids and dogs are very curious. Also, yield to equestrians when you see them. Read more about Massasoit State Park

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Southeast MA

Lansing Bennet Forest

630 Massachusetts 53
Duxbury  Massachusetts  02332
United States

Easy

80%

Moderate

19%

Difficult

1%

Description

The Lansing Bennett Forest is one of Duxbury's many conservation areas. It was named for Dr. Lansing Bennett who was the chairman of the Duxbury Conservation Commission from 1967 to 1979.

The forest's 344 acres host about 4 miles of trails including a section of the 200 mile long Bay Circuit Trail.

The trails are for the most part smooth and open. There is one steep hill and one section along Phillips Brook, near an old trout hatchery, that can be muddy in the springtime. Most of this mud however, has been covered by boardwalks.

 

The trails, with the exception of the Bay Circuit Trail, which is a through trail, form a loop. A few side trails lead out to nearby streets.

 

The trails have directional markers, in different colors, but it won't take you very long to explore the whole area.
Following the Bay Circuit Trail in either direction can extend your ride almost endlessly.

 

There are two good places to park. My favorite is at Osborn's Country Store on Route 53. A trailhead for the Bay Circuit Trail and the Lansing Bennett Forest is right across the street. Alternatively you can park in the forest's main parking area. A few hundred yards south of the store turn left on Cross Street. Then take your next left on Union Bridge Road and continue until you see a parking area on your left. There is limited parking there, but there is a kiosk that normally has maps of the property.

I don't consider Lansing Bennett to be a "riding destination" it's too small for that. But it does contain some very pleasant trails that I utilize on much longer rides in the area.

Lansing Bennett would be a good place to introduce new riders to the sport, and a refreshing interlude if you're exploring the Bay Circuit Trail.

Directions:
From the north or south: From Route 3 take exit 10, Route 3A in Kingston. Head South and turn right on Route 53. Go about 4 miles and you'll see Osborn's Country Store on your left.

Cautions:
You may see people out jogging on these trails. Also, many people walk their dogs here.

By Bill Boles Read more about Lansing Bennet Forest

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Southeast MA

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest

58 Mill St
Foxboro  Massachusetts  02035
United States

508 543-5850

Easy

35%

Moderate

35%

Difficult

30%

Description

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. With the exception of a small picnic area, 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, singletracks etc...

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 least utilized.

Map:
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 also available online. 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.

Directions:
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.

Rules:
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.

By Bill Boles Read more about F. Gilbert Hills State Forest

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Southeast MA

Freetown -Fall River State Forest

800 Slab Bridge Rd
Assonet  Massachusetts  02702
United States

508 644-5522

Easy

35%

Moderate

25%

Difficult

40%

Description

This article was written over 15 years ago. Little has changed since then save that an insect infestation has decimated the hardwood tree population.  You'll see MANY dead trees in the forest and there are frequent deadfalls on the trails.  You can help by carrying a small folding saw with you when you ride or by reporting large deadfalls to the Forest's staff. I am always impressed when riding here at how diffrent the riding is. There are very few smooth buffed trails to ride on. Instead you are continually challenged by an almost unending series of roots and small stones. Don't get me wrong, the trails are fun, but they are challenging and you can't relax. Parts of the motorcycle trail, as mentioned below, have long sections where you'll have to walk. If you spend a few days exploring the Freetown Fall River State Forest you'll put together your own "best routes to ride". And you'll have a great time doing it.

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Freetown/Fall River State Forest is located mostly in the town of Freetown Massachusetts. The 6550 acre forest has been a Mecca for area mountain bikers since the sport began.

The stoney gravelly soil drains quickly and does not promote the formation of bogs or mudholes. After a rainstorm there is a lot of water in the forest but in most cases you can drive right through it on a firm bottom.

An extensive network of somewhat degraded dirt roads sees a lot of use from motorized vehicles, very little from horses and seasonal use by snowmobilers and nordic skiers. This is one of the few places in Southeastern Massachusetts where you'll find dogsleds. In all but the warmest weather the dogs will be barking around the forest as they train for the winter dogsled season. You may also come across hunting dog trials. If you do, you'll see small groups of dogs running through the forest with numbers painted on their sides and wireless transmitters on their collars.

What brings all these people to F/FR? It's the trails. They're wonderful. They go everywhere. You can get big time lost. You can be out in the woods all by yourself. You can explore to your heart's content. Even hammerheads are happy here. Wow!

As always, trail courtesy demands that we stop for oncoming horses. When overtaking horses we make verbal contact first, and only pass at the equestrians direction. We never overtake walkers without giving them advanced verbal notice and even then we pass going only slightly faster than they are. The crowded nature of the F/FR trails demands our best behavior.

This is a very remote area. You will need to pick up a map and some directions at the ranger station. Non trail activity in the forest consists of a small picnic area at forest headquarters that has an in-season spalsh deck, and hunting season.

GOALS (Guidelines For Operation And Land Stewardship) planning, expanded the the existing trail system. The 22 mile motorcycle trail, which was about 50% on dirt roads, was moved off graded surfaces almost entirely. There is an expanded hiking trail network, a dogsled trail, a horse trail and a snowmobile trail. This was also one of the first DEM areas to have an official mountain bike trail. The trail, which is 11 miles long is aimed at the beginner/novice rider. It starts at forest headquarters and loops around on some old dirt roads and doubletracks. It's a very pleasant, though non-challenging ride that expands slightly upon the dogsled trail. More experienced riders are encouraged to venture into the remoter areas of the forest. They will, for instance, be able to ride upon the almost endless singletracks that make up the new motorcycle trail. (A 22 mile long singletrack? Come on? You gotta be kidding!)

And speaking of the singletracks, many are VERY difficult to ride. One that I'm thinking of as I write this consists of a mile plus long section of exposed stones with very little dirt between them. The motorcycle trail in particular has many miles of difficult trails. But, while there a lot of difficllt trails in the Freetown/ Fall River State Forest. Ther are quite a few very mellow singletracks too.  You'll just have to explore to find them.

One negative of this area is mosquitos. On evening rides during the bug season you'll have extra encouragement to keep moving. (Mosquitos rarely bite moving bicyclists.) A good mosquito repellant, or one of those electronic bug-aways helps a lot.

Directions:

To get there leave route 24 at exit 10 in Assonet. Head towards Freetown, and follow the state forest signs into the forest.

By Bill Boles Read more about Freetown -Fall River State Forest

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Southeast MA

Dighton Rock State Park

93 Bayview Ave
Berkley  Massachusetts  02779
United States

508 822-7537

Easy

95%

Moderate

4%

Difficult

1%

Description

It says on the DCR's website that the Dighton Rock State Park has mountain biking. And it does, sort of. The 85-acre park has about 2 miles of trails. They are flat and except for an occasional root poking through the ground, very smooth. Most of the trails are wide enough for two people to walk side by side, and the only singletracks quickly lead out of the park.


All that being said, Dighton Rock State Park would be a lot of fun for families with young kids. Dighton Rock's very flat trails lend themselves to singlespeed or BMX bikes with small wheels. And the 2 miles of trails shouldn't be too much for most kids.


Dighton Rock has a nice picnic area, and a good view of the Taunton River. It is close to Route 24 and it's a pleasant place to visit and to relax in. Quite a contrast to the nearby Freetown-Fall River State Forest.

As an added bonus there is a museum that displays "Dighton Rock" a flat sided boulder that once rested near the shore of the Taunton River. The rock is covered with petroglyphs, carved designs, which many feel predate Columbus and indicate early European visitors to the area.


Directions
From route 24 take exit 10 turn right at the end of the exit ramp and follow the signs.


Cautions
Expect to find pedestrians, kids and slow moving dogs in this area. Especially on weekends.

By Bill Boles Read more about Dighton Rock State Park

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Southeast MA

Destruction Brook Woods Preserve

210 Slades Corner Rd
Dartmouth  Massachusetts  02748
United States

508-991-2289

Easy

80%

Moderate

18%

Difficult

2%

Description

Destruction Brook Woods is a 280-acre property owned by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT). The property contains approximately 8 miles of well-marked trails and a few more miles of unmarked trails. These multi-use trails are relatively smooth and easy to ride, which make them more ideal for novices. If you are looking for very technical and challenging trails, then this is not the place for you, but if you are looking for a fun, easy to moderate ride with nice scenery, then this is the place to come. Be sure to check out the historic Davoll's General Store before and/or after your ride.
Typical Sign Markers

Directions
To parking lot on Slade's Corner Road: Take the Faunce Corner Road exit 12 on I-195 for those traveling east bound, and exit 12A for those traveling west bound. From the intersection of Faunce Corner Mall Road and Route 6, go south on Old Westport Road, then bear left onto Chase Road to its end. Go right on Russells Mills Road and follow 1 mile to Russells Mills Village. At Davoll's General Store, take a right onto Slades Corner Road. The Destruction Brook Parking lot will be on your right after about 1 mile.

Cautions:
1. Please stay on existing trails only.
2. Please be considerate of other visitors and reduce your speed or stop upon approaching walkers, dogs, or horses.
3. Please respect any signs regarding trail closures or reserve closed areas.
4. No fires. No consumption or possession of alcohol. No hunting, trapping, or possession of firearms. No littering, including in the parking lot - and please carry out any trash you might find. No motorized vehicles of any kind. No removal of vegetation, rocks or any other material from the property. No paintball. No metal detecting. No conduct that disrupts the tranquility of the area or its enjoyment by others. No unauthorized commercial activities.

 

By Mark Frias Read more about Destruction Brook Woods Preserve

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Southeast MA

Cranberry Preserve

260 Pembroke St
Kingston  Massachusetts  02364
United States

Easy

57%

Moderate

37%

Difficult

6%

Description

Officially called the Cranberry Preserve, the trails located behind the Silver Lake Regional school complex are perfect for beginners and novice riders.  The trails vary from sandy double track to wooded single track.

There are a few short hills and a few stretches of trail with roots but overall, these trails will make for a nice short ride.  Note, poison ivy can be found growing on some of these trails.

Parking
Parking for riding here can be found behind the Silver Lake Administration building (during non-school hours) or in the public lot located off of Grove Street.  The trails are not marked well but it is easy to find your way around and there is a town generated map posted near the parking lot off Grove Street.

If riding here during school hours, it is advised that you not ride near the schools.

By Joe Basile Read more about Cranberry Preserve

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Southeast MA

Copicut Woods - Bioreserve

200 Indian Town Rd
Fall River  Massachusetts  02790
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

35%

Difficult

35%

Description

Copicut Woods is a 516 acre property managed by the Trustees of Reservations.  Billed as a gateway to the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve, Copicut Woods is not only a self contained trail network, but also part of the much larger trail network that comprises the 13,600 acre bioreserve.    The bioreserve was formed in 2002 and is one of the largest protected tracts of land in the state.   It includes Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife land, the Watuppa Reservation, Copicut Woods, Ridge Hill Reserve and other municipal and private conservation land.   All of the 50 miles or so of dirt roads and trails are open to bikes.

With the creation of the Bioreserve, a grant was secured to map and mark the trails.  The result is a very nice 16” by 24” map of the entire property.   Intersections have been marked and signed.  Unfortunately the map is not available online, but paper copies can be found at the Freetown ranger station and the Copicut Woods kiosk.  Fortunately NEMBA has permission to post a modified copy, which is included below.   The NEMBA map has had the boundaries between park management areas removed to make the map clearer and also several unmarked trails have been added.   This map is the most accurate and up to date.

Taken from the Wampanoag Indian language, Copicut means “deep, dark woods.”  The 5 miles of trails in the 516 acre “official” Copicut Woods reservation are generally wider double track that pass through the remnants of a 19th century farm.   Old stone walls and foundations are evident and the wide trails are generally flat and straight.   There is a detailed online map of this area available at the trustees Copicut Woods web page.

Copicut Woods

Although Copicut Woods has some nice trails, the true attraction for mountain bikers lies in the many miles of rugged singletrack that lie to the north.  These trails branch off of the Horseshoe trail at CH7 and head north towards the southern part of Freetown State forest.  Remote and technical, they deliver a backwoods feel, with no little noise and long, uninterrupted singletracks.   There is a lot of diversity in the many miles of trails.  There are bermed out old moto trails, smooth flowy sections and brutal rock gardens.  There aren’t a lot of long climbs, with the exception of the Copicut Hill Trail, which is one of the hardest trails around.  Much of the deep, dark woods were eaten by caterpillars in 2004-2005 and the evidence is everywhere, tangles of downed trees and newly formed meadows mixed with stands of huge old pines.  The trail network extends from north to south, allowing for a diverse variety of loops between Copicut Woods and the hunters lot of Freetown-Fall River State Forest.

The Copicut trails drain fairly well,  although some spots will be wet for a few days after heavy rain.   Motorcycles and horses are not allowed in this part of the Bioreserve, so user conflicts should be minimal.   Although the Trustees’ Copicut Woods parcel is not open to hunting, the land just to the north is very popular with hunters so precautions should be taken during all hunting seasons.  There are also a lot of mosquitos and deer ticks during warmer months so plan accordingly.  I recommend bringing a map as well as a multitool, spare tubes, pump, etc. as this is a remote area and some spots are beyond cellular service.

    Copicut Woods Map    Bioreserve Map (South)

Directions
Get directions from Google Maps
            
From Points North and West: I-195 to Exit 9 (Sanford Rd.) and turn left. Road bears right and becomes Old Bedford Rd. Next,take left onto Blossom Rd.; follow 1.3 miles.  Bear right onto Indian Town Rd.; follow for 1.7 miles to parking area (12 cars) on left; roadside parking also available.

 

By Jason Berube Read more about Copicut Woods - Bioreserve

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Southeast MA

Otis - Crane WMA

188 Nathan Ellis Hwy
Falmouth  Massachusetts  02536
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

20%

Description

The riding in the Bourne/Falmouth area is usually referred to as riding at Otis. The riding area abuts the Otis Air Force Base which has been officially closed to anyone except official personal since the events of September 11th 2001.

Most people don't realize that they are actually riding on Town of Falmouth Conservation Land and The Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area, which is not part of the base. Unfortunately, there is really no physical delineation between these areas. Most people ride Otis without ever crossing into base land or seeing military police. But, if you happen to be crossing a paved road and encounter a base official, they will ask you to leave, or perhaps escort you out. They are not out there patrolling, or looking for mountain bikers in the woods. If you see what looks like base housing or the National Cemetery you are no longer in an open riding area.

Cape Cod NEMBA is creating an accurate map of Otis' trails that will clearly define things.  It will be added to this page as soon as it is done.

Cape Cod NEMBA members do a lot of of the upkeep on Otis's trails. Here are a couple of pictures taken on a late winter Trail Care day where the emphasis was on removing winter deadfalls from the trails.

  

Directions

The best way to access the riding is from Route 151. There are a lot of trails in this area which do not go into base property. Parking is along Route 151 near the dirt mound on your left after you exit from Mac Arthur Blvd. (Rt.28), or 100 yards after that on your right. There is also parking about a mile away at the junction of Route 151 and Cloverfield Lane. From here, you bike to the end of the big field, cross the railroad tracks and enter the trails area.

The Crane Wildlife Manageent Area extends along route 151 for a few miles and there are many parking areas to choose from. You'll find many many miles of relatively easy trails to explore leading out of any of these parking lots. However, most people choose to park and to ride near the dirt mound. To explore the rest of the WMA head east along route 151 and park in any of the many well marked parking lots. Small parking areas are scattered along the north side of Route 151, from the Route 28 junction east to the Nickelodeon Theater. Locals park in a big lot on the west side of Sandwich Road. The Sandwich Road & Route 151 intersection hosts a Dunkin Donuts and many people meet or end their rides there.

The Eastern Ares of the Crane WMA

The eastern portion of the Crane Wildlife Management Area is located just to the north of Otis in the town of Falmouth. But unlike Otis’ unending singletracks Crane’s trails are mostly flat, and many consist of easy to navigate dirt roads. The singletracks, of which there are many, were created by The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game. They consist of mowed tracks that wind through the Pitch Pine and Scrub Oak woods. Created to provide hunters easy access to the deep woods between the fireroads, these singletracks are a perfect way to explore the woodlands and to get lost. Crane is big. At over 1800 acres you’ll ride here for many days before you can fully explore it and begin to link everything together. Expect to rack up big mileage when you ride Crane. There’s nothing to stop you and only an occasional sandy spot will slow you down. Crane is a perfect place to bring the family, or people with little riding experience as the mostly flat non-technical trails offer a great introduction to riding. Bring your camera. I’ve seen more wildlife at Crane than anywhere else on the Cape. And speaking of that wildlife, remember The Crane Wildlife Management Area is very popular with hunters in season.

Hunting season in Massachusetts runs from fall till spring and a complete list of dates is located on this website. However, there’s no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays, so during hunting season I do my riding at Crane on Sundays.


The Riding

The riding at "Otis" mostly consists of fast singletrack that run up, down and around a long series of drumlins that head north paralleling route 28 heading north. There are some very technical trails and some very long hills. Expect to spend a lot of time exploring. Most people think the Cape is flat. And since the maximum elevation on the whole peninsula of Cape Cod is about 265 feet tht's understandable. But, at Otis you'll do a LOT of short climbs - - - A lot.

 Crane WMA West Map   There are many more trails than are shown on the WMA maps.

Riding in the eastern portions of "Otis" on what most people call the Crane Wildlife Management area is much mellower. Crane WMA East Map

  Read more about Otis - Crane WMA

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Southeast MA

Blue Hills Reservation

695 Hillside Street
Milton  Massachusetts  02186
United States

617-698-1802

Easy

30%

Moderate

55%

Difficult

15%

Description

Note: In 2020 the Seasonal Closure was cancdelled due to the early spring.   There is a Seasonal Trail Closure in the Blue Hills during the month of March. The closure is designed to protect the trails during the mud season. Please respect the closure and stay off the trails till they dry out.

The Blue Hills Reservation includes 7000 acres of varied terrain. It ranges from woodlands to marsh to rocky hills. There is an extensive, well-marked and maintained trail system with miles of fire road, double and single track. There are great views of Boston and the south shore from several hill tops. Other activities available include hiking, swimming, canoeing and horseback riding. There is a designated swimming area at Houghton Pond as well as a refreshment stand. Great Blue Hill is the second highest "coastal mountain" on the Esat Coast. (A coastal mountain is any mountain from which you can see the ocean)


The terrain open to mountain bikers at Blue Hills consists of the Houghton Pond, Great Blue Hill and Ponkapoag areas. This represents about one-half of the total area of the reservation. Within this area, approximately 95% of the double-track and 50% of the single-track is open to cyclists. Although these trails represent perhaps 20% of the total trails at Blue Hills, the Blue Hills is big; there's a lot of stuff to ride here. Much of the double track is gravelly fire road but significant portions are rocky and quite challenging. The variety of single track is more limited than the double track but there are enough trails that even the experienced rider will not run out of challenging terrain.


The one lack at Blue Hills is that there is very limited novice terrain open to mountain bikers. The only really easy trails are the short loop around Houghton Pond and old 128 which is actually a paved road. Some of the double track is not difficult from a technical standpoint but it is still quite hilly. If you are not reasonably fit, you may want to build up your conditioning by riding someplace flatter for a while before trying the Blue Hills. See the map for an indication of the easier trails.


Equestrians and hikers are common in the Blue Hills. It's important to pay attention to what you are doing and be ready to stop at any time. It is very important that mountain bikers stay on good terms with the DCR if this and other DCR-operated properties are to stay open to mountain bikers. Riding safely and showing curtesy to other trail users is essential.


In winter, an alpine ski area operates on a section of Great Blue Hill. Check out the Friends of the Blue Hills. They help take care of the reservation and also plan a variety of activities including Mountain Bike fun rides.


Also see the DCR web site and the complete map of the Blue Hills..    


The DCR prints a Mountain Biking in the Blue Hills map designating trails that are open. It's available at the visitor's cebnter. It also highlights two designated mountain bike loops. Please keep in mind that the closed trails are marked in red. If you print the map on a black and white printer, you may not be able to determine which trails are open. You can pick up a printed copy of the map for free at the reservation headquarters.
This older version of the map has some trails highlighted in yellow. These trails have been selected by Bill Boles, a member of the Blue Hills Trail Watch as easiest trails with regard to both pitch and technical difficulty. Keep these trails in mind iff you are new to Blue Hills or riding with newer riders.

All of the trail intersections in the Blue Hills have number markers. By comparing the numbers with your map you'll know precisely where you are.


The DCR has a Newly revised DCR Blue Hills Reservation trail map and guide now availableat the Blue Hills Reservation headquarters at 695 Hillside Street in Milton and at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum at 1904 Canton Avenue in Milton.

 

I always introduce new riders to the park, “Nothing flat about the Blue Hills”….

That’s what I love about it. Lots of ups and downs. Climbing builds strength and tenacity, descents keep me focused on what’s down the trail. Climbing to the top of Buck Hill gives that great sense of accomplishment and worldwide view. Riding down that same trail, well, I lived through it, and it made me a better rider.


There are many miles of trail in the Blue Hills open to bikes. There’s lots of fast doubletrack, selection of fun singletrack, and a few quite rocky trails to practice your technique and session with friends. And there are LOTS of intersections. Every major intersection has a number on a tree that coincides with the map. When you’re looking at the number sign, you’re looking north. You can grab a map at the Blue Hills Headquarters on Hillside Street, Milton. There are two maps available: one MTB-specific(free), one bigger color/topo that shows the entire reservation ($2.00 honor-system donation, benefits Trailside Museum).


An easy way to get to know the Blue Hills is to follow the arrows. There are two loops. Both  start at the big Houghton’s Pond Lot on Hillside street. Look for the ‘Welcome Mountain Bikers’ kiosk in the front row of the lot. White arrows take you on appox 5-mile loop on the south side of Hillside street, with not any real huge hills but challenging nonetheless. The loose gravelly old carriage paths will keep you honest and encourage you to stay upright. Yellow arrows cross the street and start you right out with a ½ mile climb to ‘BreakNeck Ledge’. This ‘eliminator’ warm-up will determine who can hang (always more fun in a group). But hang in there, that’s where the fun starts. Another 4 miles or so that will get your blood flowing nicely. Each loop will take you from 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending on fitness level. Neither is very technical, and the terrain is mostly loose gravel and hardpack.


Both loops will take you right back to where you started. A few notes: the arrowed loops are only signed in one direction—once you get to know them, try them backwards. That way you’ll see more riders…If you decide to exit down Wolcott Path(see ‘eliminator’, above)at the end of a ride, there are a few overly-enthusiastic waterbars that will take you out at speed, so be careful….also that same trail is a very popular trail for hikers, dog walkers, and school field trips, so look WAY ahead before letting go of the brakes…. Another option, near the end of the Yellow, just before the last descent to the street, take a hard left, (after the last yellow arrow right) and follow that side-hill trail all the way back to the street. You’ll end up right across from the lot, and it’s a much nicer finish than riding the road back. The last little technical, downhill, rocky ‘groove’ section dumps you out onto the side of the road in the opposite direction of traffic, so again, use caution!


Another fun area to ride in the park is the Ponkapoag section. The green dot loop is now open to bikes! Experienced riders will appreciate the time to ‘spin’ on the dirt road sections, beginners and families will be happy that the loop is ‘relatively’ flat and wide.


Blue Hills is open to mountain biking all year with the exception of March, for mud season. See the dedicated DCR mountain biking map for the trails that are open to bikes. (Some trails are off-limits to riding and anyways would be impossible for most mortal riders.)

Once you’ve mastered those loops, start exploring. Oh, did I mention that you’ll be climbing a lot of hills?

For more info feel free to contact me, And keep an eye on the SEMass NEMBA email list and facebook page for scheduled rides, and events.
Steve Cobble


Directions
From Boston, take I93 South.
From points South, take I95 North to I93 North.
From points North or West, take I95 South (Rt 128) to I93 North (Rt 128).
Take exit 2B off I93 (Rt 128) on to Rt 138 North.
Take 138 north 1/4 mile to light with Mobil station on your left. Take a right at light onto Hillside St.
Travel 1 1/4 miles on Hillside St. to the Houghton Pond parking area on your right. There is plenty of parking in this lot.
Approximately 1/2 mile further on Hillside St. is the Reservation headquarters on your left next the State Police horse stable. You can stop here for a map but there is little or no visitor parking. Stop by on your way in for a map or just park at Houghton Pond and bike the 1/2 mile down the road to the headquarters.

Rules:

Ride on open trails only. The open trails are designated on the Mountain Biking in the Blue Hills map which is available at the reservation headquarters. Closed trails are marked in red on the map. There are also No Bicycle signs on trees marking the closed trails.

Mountain bikes are prohibited on trails in the month of March.

By Tom Abrogast, Ken Koellner & Steve Cobble Read more about Blue Hills Reservation

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