Hale Reservation, Westwood
Hale is a "living Laboratory" for the thousands of students and visitors that enjoy its remote woodlands every year. Hale hosts 4 lakes and more than 20 miles of trails. The trails here are fun to ride and interesting enough to keep you coming back for more.
Hale Reservation is a private, non-profit education organization that manages 1,137 acres in Westwood and Dover, Massachusetts. Maps and routes can be found at https://www.trailforks.com/region/hale-reservation/.
Hale has generously kept the trails within their reservation open to mountain biking. There is a tremendous variety of easy double track and intermediate single track throughout the reservation. Most riders park at the Cat Rock Parking Lot and start their rides from there. There are lots of kids, hikers, and dog walkers in the park. Please respect the shared use of this reservation.
Any rider that is looking for tech just need to take any number of small singletracks off the main trails and they will hit some of the most challenging technical trails in Southeast Massachusetts. Many of the trails traverse the day camps at the beaches, rope courses and lodges throughout the park. Please give active participants the room they need to continue their activities.
From Hale, the rider can connect to any number of different riding areas. Satan’s Kingdom is on the border of the area known as Sen Ki just south of Hartford Street. This area offers a 2-mile technical loop for the most accomplished riders and is well worth the trip if you like that sort of thing. Another notable technical singletrack is the trail called the Strawberry Hill Singletrack (not to be confused with the Strawberry Hill Trail). This 1 mile long technical trail offers challenges along the entire trail. At the completion of the trail, the rider will either love the challenges and turn around and head back for more, or humbly head to other areas of the park. On the northeast corner of the park is one of my favorite trails called Big Sucker. This trail starts out on the powerlines then dumps into the woods about a quarter mile from the start. Just in the woods it splits providing a left and right option. I prefer to go left as it offers more trail and a variety of challenges for the rider. This is a tough trail to navigate cleanly, but it doesn’t include the terrifying drops and rollers that the rider will find at Satan’s Kingdom.
Noanet Woodlands shares the western border with Hale and provides lots of easy carriage trails and a few flowy singletrack. Just to the southeast of Noanet, connected by public easement trails, is Rocky Woods and the Fork Factory Brook area where the rider will find a large variety of fun trails to explore. For the adventurous, the rider can connect Adam’s Farm from Fork Factory Brook for a long 20-mile ride or head over to Needham Town Forest to the north of Hale Reservation and continue to be challenged with lots of technical trails. Both Adam’s Farm and Needham town forest can be connected with not much more than a mile of paved roads.
Trailforks has added a large number of routes the rider can explore from the 2019 Turkey Afterburner Event. Check out any of these routes that include small, 2-mile family loops to epic connector trails to the adjoining parks.
Founded in 1918, its flagship programs include Hale Day Camp, Hale Summer Club, Education & Adventure Programs, Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures, and Intrepid Academy at Hale. Hale offers educational and recreational opportunities that develop self-confidence, inspire passion for learning, and encourage appreciation for the natural environment. For more information, go to www.hale1918.org.
The trails at Hale seem almost contradictory. On the one hand you can cruise around on the marked loops and enjoy a peaceful, scenic, interemdaite level ride. Venture onto the many unmarked singletracks and you will subject yourself to some pretty extreme and dificult trails.
I suggest bringing a copy of the map, and also the map for Noanet Woods since you may stray out of Hale and into it without realizing it.
Hale hosts a vast and growing network of trails that are open to the general public and to mountain bikers with the following exceptions:
All trails are closed from March 1st through April 30th. This is to prevent possible damage to fragile muddy trails in what is refered to at "mud season".
Mountain Biking is not permitted on any of the beaches while campers are using them. They are also not allowed on playing fields.
By Tom McKenna