Southeast MA

Southeast MA

Copicut Woods - Bioreserve, Fall River

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, Fall River

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Southeast MA

Otis - Crane WMA, Falmouth

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, Falmouth

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Southeast MA

Blue Hills Reservation, Milton

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, Milton

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SE Mass

  • SE MASS NEMBA was formed in 1998 as one of NEMBA's first local chapters. We ride and steward trails accross Plymouth and Bristol counties, and also partner with the DCR at the Blue Hills and Cutler ReservationWe work closely with local land managers and do a lot of trail maintenance, especially in Wompatuck State Park, Marshfield Hills, Freetown/Fall River State Forest, Borderland State Park, The Blue Hills and the Foxboro section of the F. Gilbert Hills State Forest.

    In Blue Hills, SEMASS sponsors Trail Watch, volunteers on bikes and foot who patrol the trails handing out maps and assisting people who are lost, or who have broken down.

    If you live, or do most of your riding in our region, we hope that you'll join SEMASS NEMBA and help us make all of our trail experiences more fun.

    Also, support the bike shops that support NEMBA. Anderson Bicycle - Quincy, Bicycle Link - Weymouth, Bikebarn - Whitman, Cycle Lodge - Pembroke, Landry's Bicycle - Braintree, Mauls Bike Shop - Halifax, Sailworld - Buzzards Bay, Spark Bike - East Taunton, Union Bicycles - Attleboro

  • SE MA NEMBA Rides & Events

    Stay up to date on everyday riding and trails conditions by visiting our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/semassnemba/  SE MA NEMBA hosts many Rides, Trail Care events and Events.

    Click here for details

  • Blue Hills & Cutler Park Seasonal trail Closure

    Please respect the March Mud Season Closures at Blue Hills and Cutler Park. These closures are designed to protect the trails and will be dropped if conditions stabilize before the end of the month.

    Click here for details

  • Read Me

    NEMBA COVID-19 Statement

    Read the NEMBA 4/9/2020 status update on COVID-19

    Click here for details

  • NEMBA Executive Director Job Opening

    Click here for details

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