Wompatuck State Park
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, over the years the park's staff, aided by NEMBA and 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 5 routes to the top, four 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 has been fenced off and after a lot of work is 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.
The water from Mt Blue Spring is unsurpassed on the South Shore, and best of all, it's free.
Wompatuck is one of the sites in the NEMBA Trail Care Series. In addition to building bridges and erosion control projects, like the state's, 'longest switchback trail', TCS volunteers are actively involved in creating that extensive system of new singletrack as well as bridges like the most recent one pictured here.
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.
Wompy's trails can be wet in early spring. (For a better riding experience, you're better off heading further south during mud season, like for instance to Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth/Carver Mass.)
In the winter cross country skiiers and snowmobilers abound at Wompatuck. Snowmobiles have free reign in the left portion of the forest while 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. Check out this link for some pictures showing the historical military remnants still to be found in Wompatuck.
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 Southeast Mass 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 Forest's entrance.
Copies of the Friends of Wompatuck's map are at the park's Visitor's Center which is on your right about 1,000 yards in from the front gate.
Check the NEMBA homepage for upcoming Trail Care Series dates. The norm is that we start at 8:30, work until around noon, grab a snack, and then go for a ride. Why not join us?
Submitted By Bill Boles