Massasoit State Park
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. Although, in 2009, the campground was closed while much needed repairs to its electrical system were made. 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. Note: Due to budget constraints the park became unstaffed in 2011. You can still use it, but don't expect to see many DCR staff people there.
I ride at Massasoit all year long except when deep snow makes the trails impassable. There are a wide variety of trails at Massasoit. Grab a map at the entrance station or print one from the DCR’s website. Many of the park’s best singletracks are not on the map, but with it, you’ll know where you are and you can use it as a good guide to find everything. There are about 15 miles of trails at Massasoit, including a few miles of dirt roads. The park also has a few miles of paved road leading into and around the campground. There are a few miles of fairly mellow trails suitable for families, especially if you use the paved road as a connector. There are no long extended climbs at Massasoit but on many singletracks you'll encounter a number of short steep hills. These are made more difficult by exposed roots and are sure to make your heart rate climb. The trails are fairly busy. You’ll be dealing with gravel, roots, rocks, a little sand and many tight corners. Most of the trails are not overly technical and many are rolling singletrack. SInce the park 'closed' in 2011 many of the trails are starting to become overgrown. We always ride with a small folding saw and a hand held lopper. Why not do the same and help keep Massasoit's trails open and fun? Expect to find a few difficult trails, though these are not hairy enough to make a long travel full suspension bike necessary. It will take a good rider at least a couple of days to thoroughly explore Massasoit.
To get your explorations started check out this GPS ride map. This 11 mile route, highlights many of Massasoit’s best trails and is a great ride in either direction. There are many more miles of trails to explore beyond this route.
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.
All levels of riders can ride most of the park's trails, but a few do require some advanced skills. It may take you a while to explore all of the park's trails. After all 1500 acres is a lot, but it will be time well spent.
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.
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.
By Bill Boles