Southeast MA

Southeast MA

World's End, Hingham

250 Martins Lane
Hingham  Massachusetts  02043
United States

781-740-6665

Easy

90%

Moderate

10%

Difficult

0%

Description

World's End is a 251 acre Trustees of Reservations property located on two islands and a peninsula that jut into the southern end of Boston Harbor. It is unique in that while it consists of islands, they are easily accessible from land. The trails consist of around 5 miles of old woods roads and dirt roads, all of which are open to bikes. Bikes are not allowed on the few, short singletracks.  The trails meander through stands of trees as they traverse four drumlins. They are gentle, rolling and a little hilly. A great place to go for a relaxed ride. Or, it could be the perfect place to introduce kids or new riders to mountain biking. On a hot, humid summer's day  World's End is normally refreshingly cool.    

World's End is noted for its scenic beauty. Jutting as it does into Boston Harbor it abounds in breathtaking views of the southern end of the harbor. Two windmills, used to generate electricity for the town of Hull are visible from the hilltops, and are quite stunning.  A walk on the shore will yield numerous varieties of seashells and you should see some Horseshoe Crabs in the water.  World's end would be ideal for a family picnic, especially if you bring bikes. Ive kayacked from the parking lot many times and the views of Hingham and Boston Harbor are spectacular.

No advanced skills are required to ride here, and all family members should enjoy themselves. I enjoy riding at World's End as it's the only place that I know of where I can be on my mountain bike, enjoying trails, while at the same time be surrounded by salt water.

Directions:

From the north or south: Take Route 3 to exit 14 and head North towards Hingham for about 7 miles. Turn left on route 3A and follow it for about .5 miles. Turn right onto Summer Street. Go straight across a main intersection with Rockland Street. The road will become Martin's Lane. Follow it for 0.7 mile until it dead ends at the entrance and parking area. World's End is open from 8:00 am to sunset every day.

Cautions:

Adults are charged a $4.50 day use fee, although TTOR members and kids get in for free. You'll probably see lots of pedestrians, kids and dogs. Also, yield to equestrians if you see any.

Submitted by Bill Boles Read more about World's End, Hingham

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Southeast MA

Wompatuck State Park, Hingham

197 Union St
Hingham  Massachusetts  02043
United States

781 749-7160

Easy

30%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

20%

Description

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.

NEW: There is an interactive map of Wompy's trails. Open this map in your phone and click on "show my position" from the dropdown menu and you'll see where you are in the park. There are also pre-planned routes and other features that you can enjoy.

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.)
 
There is an interractive map created by the Friends of Wompatuck and SE MA NEMBA. Copy it to your smartphone and You'll be able to "see" exactly where you are in the park as well as track your progress. The heart healthy trail as well as the last Landmine Classic route are pre-loaded. 
 
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.

Wompy has hosted a great mountain bike race every year since 1997. It's called The Landmine Classic and is the primary fundraiser for the Firends of Wompatuck.

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. 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.

Note: Wompatuck abuts the Whitney Thayer Woods, another great place to ride.

Directions:

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?

Facebook Pages:

The Friends of Wompatuck have a Facebook Page with a lot of current information.

There is also a separate Wompatuck Facebook Page.

Submitted By Bill Boles Read more about Wompatuck State Park, Hingham

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Southeast MA

Willow Street, Yarmouth

1 Ansel Hallet Rd
Yarmouth  Massachusetts  02673
United States

Easy

60%

Moderate

35%

Difficult

5%

Description

Willow Street / Exit 72 Formerly Exit 7

Location:
Willow Street Yarmouth MA


Many northern New Englanders looking for a snow and ice free area to ride in the winter or early spring head south to Cape Cod. Winters there are normally less wintery, more like New York’s Long Island, and as winter moves into spring it’s rare that the snow is too deep to ride in or that the sandy gravely soil that makes up much of the dirt on the Cape is muddy. Many riders check conditions by joining NEMBA’s Cape Cod Facebook Group and asking a local.

Most people heading for the Cape direct their cars to either the West Barnstable Conservation Area in Marstons Mills or to Otis in Bourne and Falmouth. Others head farther down the Cape to Nickerson State Park. But one of the best riding locations on the Cape is also one of the least known. It’s at exit seven on the Mid Cape Highway, Route 6 and is commonly referred to as Willow Street. Confusing things Willow Street actually comprises three separate riding areas. All are located near the same exit and can be linked together to form about 55 miles of riding.

The first of these is located just a few hundred feet from the end of the exit ramp. When you exit the highway go to the South side of the Route 6 overpass and park in the dirt lot beside the train tracks. That's a fwe of hundred yards north of the pin on this map. You’ll see a trail with a Cape Cod Pathways marker leading into the woods and that trail will lead you to over 15 miles of enjoyable hilly singletracks located in the Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area.



Going straight on this trail for about three miles will bring you within site of Phinneys Lane. If you turn right there, go under the highway and follow a dirt path up to the water towers you’ll find another trail on the north side of the highway that will take you back to the railroad tracks. This loop, called “The Highway Loop”, is about six miles long. But it misses almost all of the good riding in the area.

Instead take the second singletrack on your left and follow the most obvious trail. This will net you almost 15 miles of riding. Most of which will be fast and fun though there are a lot of hills to slog up. You’ll notice what looks like wide dirt roads. These are the legacy of a failed housing development on land that was later preserved as a wellhead protection zone by the town. Don’t try to ride on these roads, instead follow the singletracks that cross them. You may come across a trail leading around the Barnstable Airport. If you do keep following it until it leads you out to Phinneys Lane. Turn right at that point to get back to the “Highway Trail”

You’ve been riding mostly in the town of Barnstable. For your second adventure you’ll be in Yarmouth. From the end of the highway ramp head south on Willow Street for about ¾ of a mile. Turn left on Higgins Crowell Road and follow it for three miles until just past the Yarmouth Police Station where you’ll see a small conseravtion area parking lot at 307 Higgins Crowell Road. These are the Yarmouth Town Trails. Heading out of the back of the parking area you’ll discover over fifteen miles of trails. Some lead through the Horse Pond Conservation Area but most will take you on a long journey to the west and south of the Bayberry Hills Golf Course. After some exploration you’ll actually find yourself on a small hilltop overlooking the parking area by the Willow Street railroad tracks.

Another, shorter ride is located just across Higgins Crowell Road. That trail will first lead you around the Sandy Pond Conservation Area and then, as you explore, into a vast area where the locals have developed an extensive network of trails. Some of these trails do dead end in people’s back yards, but that’s what exploring is all about.

A third option is the extensive Greenough network located just north of the highway.

My guess is that one day will not be enough to explore the areas mentioned in this article. But here’s a good tip. While you’re on the Cape Cod NEMBA email list or Facebook page, ask a local if they’d like to join you for a ride. You’ll find that Cape Cod NEMBA folks are very friendly and usually more than willing to show off their favorite trails.

Accommodations and eating establishments are actually too numerous to mention. Do a Google search.

By Bill Boles

Adapted from a SingleTracks Magazine article. Read more about Willow Street, Yarmouth

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Southeast MA

Whitney Thayer Woods, Cohasset

Howes Lane
Cohasset  Massachusetts  02025
United States

781-740-7233

Easy

65%

Moderate

20%

Difficult

15%

Description

Whitney Thayer Woods & Turkey Hill

Location:
Route 3A Cohasset & Hingham

Description:

Whitney Thayer Woods is a Trustees of Reservations property located in the towns of Hngham and Cohasset. Whitney Thayer abuts the Wompatuck State Park and trails connect the two properties.

Whitney Thayer has about 10 miles of trails. The reservation's singletracks are now open to bikes after having been closed for some time. 

Whitney Thayer is famous as it has a long series of mostly smooth woods roads. This makes it a great place to bring beginners as none of the trails are too difficult. The singletracks are for riders with some experience as many are narrow, rocky and hafe some technical features.

In the winter, if adequate snow cover exists Whitney Thayer is also a great place to go cross country skiing. A map of the property is available at the TTOR website. And sometimes there are maps at the signboard in the main parking lot on route 3A. Turkey Hill has a seperate parking area also located on route 3A.

Most of my rides at Whitney Thayer have done while riding in the Wompatuck State Park. I've found that the smooth rolling trails of Whitney Thayer offer a welcome break from Wompatuck's more difficult bony singletracks. Although now, that distinction is augemented by the Whitney's singletracks.

I have spent more than one pleasant afternoon doing nothing but re-exploring Whitney Thayer's pleasant trails. I never get tired of riding at Whitney Thayer. It's far enough 'away' from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that when I finish riding I am refreshed and invogorated. That may change however. The "T" now has a stop right acfross the street from the entrance to an unpaved bicycle trail leading from the commuter rail station in Hingham to Wompatuck State Park. Which means that you could take the T from Boston avoiding a drive.

Directions:
From route 3 take exit 14 and follow route 228 north until it intersects with route 3A, (About 7 miles) Turn right on route 3A and look for a parking lot directly across from a Mobil station. (About 2 miles)  This is about one mile after the parking area for Turkey Hill.

You can also park at Weir River Farm.

Cautions:
You may see a lot of pedestrians and lots of unleashed dogs. There is a sign in the main parking area that warns, "cars have been broken into in this parking lot."  If this concerns you park across the street from the main entrance at the shopping plaza.

By Bill Boles Read more about Whitney Thayer Woods, Cohasset

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Southeast MA

West Bridgewater State Forest

599 Spring St
West Bridgewater  Massachusetts  02379
United States

Easy

30%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

West Meadows Pond WMA & West Bridgewater State Forest

Location:
599 Spring St, West Bridgewater

Description:
The West Meadow Pond Wildlife Management Area and the West Bridgewater State Forest abut each other just south of the Brockton line in the town of West Bridgewater.

The West Meadow Pond WMA is a very scenic spot. A large lake and dam are right next to the main parking lot. Hockomock River spills from that dam and leads to Mill Pond at the southern end of these properties. The West Bridgewater State Forest is one of those many nearly forgotten state properties. Few people have ever heard of it.

I enjoy riding here as it's very close to a major city, yet somehow it seems very remote. In fact, if you could somehow subtract the traffic noise from nearby route 24 you'd be sure that you were somewhere in the backcountry of oh, I don't know, northern Maine.

The original trails in the WMA are all doubletracks. At one time they were improved and solidified, maybe even improved to the level of dirt roads. But over the years they have degraded somewhat. No longer smooth, they have occasional puddles and exposed roots. The puddles however, retain firm bottoms for the earlier improvements. And you can ride right through the middle of most of them without encountering mud. The WMA has about 5 miles of these old woods roads.

In more recent years ATVs have created a network of trails that are not so stable. They wind through the woods oftentimes through deep boggy areas. (ATV's and all motorized vehicles are not allowed in these two properties.)

The West Bridgewater State Forest is best accessed from the West Meadow Pond WMA. Follow the road across the dam and then turn left, either right after the dam, or about a half mile later. The old roads in the state forest were never improved to the extent the ones in the WMA were. As a result the puddles are deeper and the bottoms of them are much muddier. In addition there are pools of standing water on many of these 'roads' the result of years of motorized use without maintenance.

In all the two properties have over 15 miles of trails. A very mellow ride can be had if you stay on the old roads in the WMA. Things get much more difficult in the state forest, and on the ATV trails.

I enjoy riding here in the summer when the spring's water has mostly dried up. It's also a blast riding here in the middle of the winter with studded tires after a period of below freezing weather. Then all the water will be solidified and you can easily ride most everywhere.

Expect to see a lot of waterfowl in and around the lake. And if you're a fisherman, cast your line into the water just above the spillway.

Directions:
From the north or south: Take Rte. 24 to exit 16 and head East towards West Bridgewater.  Go 1.1 miles and turn left on North Elm Street.  Go .9 miles and turn left on Spring Street. Follow Spring Street to the end, (it will turn into a dirt road.) Park anywhere in the dirt parking area.

Cautions:
It's wet and muddy in the spring or after an extended period of rain. Always bring plenty of bug spray during the insect season. Both of these areas are open to hunting during the Massachusetts hunting seasons. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sunday's.)

Submitted by Bill Boles Read more about West Bridgewater State Forest

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Southeast MA

Shawme-Crowell State Forest, Sandwich

42 Main St
Sandwich  Massachusetts  02563
United States

508 888-0351

Easy

30%

Moderate

60%

Difficult

10%

Description

Shawme Crowell is a 700 acre State Forest located in the town of Sandwich just over the Cape Cod Canal on the Cape. The park is best know for it's campground. There are almost 300 well maintained campsites. The Forest has about 5 miles of paved and dirt roads and about 15 miles of trails. The trails are very well maintained and trail markers abound. These trails are, as a rule, not very technical. There are a couple of steep climbs, but mostly the trails are rolling in nature, fast and a lot of fun to ride. Get a map at the Forest's Welcome Station and you won't get lost.

The best place to access the trails is at the back of the forest near the camper's dumping station. From there you will see one trail heading off into the woods, another right behind the utility shed and a third a short distance away across a clearing. I suggest starting with the one across the clearing. Expect to enjoy yourself here. A good rider could cover all of the Forest's trails in a couple of hours, but with one or two exceptions they are just as much fun in both directions.

For a trail map - Stop at the contact station near the main sentrance.

Notes:
There are a lot of deer in the forest. Be sure to check yourself for ticks after every ride. You may find that some passengers have adhered to your clothing.

Directions:
From the Cape Cod Canal Follow Rte. 6 over the Sagamore bridge to exit 2 and the intersection with Rte. 130 in Sandwich. Follow Rte. 130 into Sandwich and follow the State Forest signs 3 miles to the Forest entrance which will be on your left.

 

By Bill Boles Read more about Shawme-Crowell State Forest, Sandwich

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Southeast MA

Rocky Woods, Taunton

185 Rocky Woods St
Taunton  Massachusetts  02780
United States

Easy

10%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

60%

Description

Rocky Woods is best described as Rocky Woods.

Rocky Woods in Taunton has over 30 miles of tight, twisty fairly technical singletrack.

There are far too many trails to ride in one day. Some of the trails can be muddy and a few are overgrown with vegetation. While some others have disappeared due to under-use.  You can ride here all year long save for the early spring when many of the trails will be too muddy. Rocky Woods is also home to some good rock climbing.

It would be very easy to get lost in Rocky Woods but some of the trails are marked. Whike others still have arrpws from a recent off-road motorcycle event. While most of the trails are singletracks you'll find a few old woods roads too. These are open to four wheel drive vehicles and some are as difficult to ride as singletracks. If you follow them out to local streets you'll get an idea of just how big this area is. One of the jeep roads leads to what is best described as a pump track for 4WDs. It's fun on bikes too.

Expect to spend more than a few days finding all the trails here. And bring a copy of this map. It will help a lot.

The trails are not easy. But if you like challenges you'll find them here. Occasionally you'll even find yourself riding over Puddin' Stone, (congealed molten ava) a rarity in SE Mass.

The singletracks here were in large part made by motorcyclists. Expect to see them out on the trails.

Directions:
From Taunton Center head west on route 44. Head north on North walke rstreet to Rocky Woods Street. Where the paved road turns to dirt there's limited parking. Alternatively park about 3/4 mile west of that at Range Ave. Head up Range Ave and Your first intersection will be with the Western end of Rocky Woods Ave. it looks like a degrading dirt road that looks like a trail. But it's still a road.

By Bill Boles Read more about Rocky Woods, Taunton

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Southeast MA

Rocky Gutter, Middleborough

34 Rocky Gutter St
Middleborough  Massachusetts  02346
United States

(508) 759-3406

Easy

80%

Moderate

15%

Difficult

5%

Description

At last a place to ride that isn't hard.    At last a place to ride that doesn't have any hills.

Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area is located in Middleborough just off route 495. The area consists of 2954 acres and is managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. This land is managed for hunting fishing and wildlife viewing and there are over 15 miles of trails and dirt roads that can be enjoyed on a mountain bike.

As I stated above the riding here is pretty easy. This is a perfect place to ride if you don't want to beat yourself up, if you are introducing a new rider to the sport, or are riding with your kids.

From the parking area near the metal gate I'd suggest following Rocky Gutter Road to the far end of the park. (About 2.2 miles.) If you do you'll notice many trails and old woods roads leading off Rocky Gutter Road to the north and south. A good rule of thumb here is that any trail that looks used probably loops back to Rocky Gutter Road at some point. While any trail that doesn't look used probably dead ends someplace. Most of the best riding is located on the north side of the road. (That's your left as you ride out of the parking area.) The south side is much larger, but it has fewer trails as it's mostly a wetland.

One good ride consists of riding to the far end of the park and then on your way back taking your first right into the woods on a well used doubletrack. From this point if you keep taking left turns you'll eventually get back to Rocky Gutter Road much closer to your car. As you do this you'll notice a number of well used right turns leading off into the woods. Take them and you be extending your ride with additional loops.

The most difficult trail that I found was on the South side of the road not too far past the management area's only powerline. Follow it and you'll eventually come to an old ATV trail that leads out of the management area. But, this trail does not lead back to the main road. So if you ride it you'll be doing it as an "out & back".

One thing that strikes me every time I ride here is the solitude. I have never seen anyone out on the trails. Or even on the dirt road. Another thing is the quite. Stay on the north side of Rocky Gutter Road and you won't hear any traffic noise from Route 495 or anyplace else. And jet planes rarely fly over. You almost get the impression that you're riding someplace in northern New England so remote seeming is this area.

As I said all levels of riders can enjoy most of the park's trails. None require any advanced skills or high levels of fitness. Better riders of course will cover ground faster. But unless they're intent on riding challenging terrain even very good riders will have a lot of fun here too.

Directions:

From the north or south take Route 495 to exit 3. Head north on Route 28. Take your first right on Miller Street. And then turn right on Rocky Gutter Street. The paved road will turn into a dirt road and right before a metal gate you'll see a parking area on your right.

Cautions:
Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area is managed primarily for hunting and fishing. So during hunting season there will be a lot of hunters there. I would suggest not riding here during hunting season. After all you'll have the trails to yourself for most of the rest of the year. Massachusetts Hunting Season (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)

By Bill Boles Read more about Rocky Gutter, Middleborough

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Southeast MA

Pratt Farm, Middleborough

110 East Main St
Middleboro  Massachusetts  02346
United States

Easy

35%

Moderate

55%

Difficult

10%

Description

Pratt Farm has been a town owned conservation area since 1986. It is trail dense for such a small area. It boasts a few excellent trails for beginners, and has enough singletracks to keep most riders happy. In all there are probably 9 miles of trail in Pratt Farm. And more nearby that you'll discover as you explore. Though you'll have to spend a bit of time here to find everything.

Some of the trails are smooth and easy to ride. But many are root laden and force you to keep your eyes on the trail and not on the surrounding woods. That's too bad as Pratt farm has some very scenic hardwood forest stands and a few small ponds and streams that abound with wildlife.

The TrailForks Map currently shows most of these trails.  The town map above has them all.

In the central part of the farm there's a used-to-be obscure singletrack. It winds around and over the farm's only hill. It's one the farm's most technical trail as it's narrow, somewhat overgrown and has plenty of fallen trees to overcome. The key to finding it is to go to the top of the farm's biggest hill on an old woods road. When you're there the singletrack will be right in front of you going left and right.

For an introduction to Pratt Farm's trails leave the parking area and at the first intersection turn left and follow the loop marked out with red trail markers. This will give you a good introduction to the area and on your second loop try exploring the many side trails that you found the first time around. I always enjoy my rides at pratt farm. Although I don't spend a lot of time here the trails keep calling me back.

              For a dog's impression of Pratt Farm go here.

             Town of Middleborough Pratt Farm Info Page.

The Middleborough Conservation Commission welcomes bikes. But they do request that everyone joins in a common effort to maintain the trails. To that end I always ride here with a small folding saw and hand lopper. That way I'm able to clear most of the deadfalls and overgrowth that I encounter.

Directions:
From route 24 in Middleborough take the route 44 exit and head East.
              Turn right on route 105, East Main Street, heading towards Middleborough center. Continue 1 mile to the parking lot on your left.

Cautions:
Lots of pedestrians use this area. Especially on weekends. Use cautiion, keep your speed down and we'll always be welcome here. By late spring you will find a lot of poison ivy growing near the old mill site. Use caution or avoid that trail.

By Bill Boles

  Read more about Pratt Farm, Middleborough

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Southeast MA

Myles Standish State Forest, Plymouth

222 3 Cornered Pond Rd
plymouth  Massachusetts  02360
United States

508 866-2526

Easy

50%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

10%

Description

Sprawling across the southern sections of Plymouth and Carver, Myles Standish State Forest is the largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts. MSSF offers five camping areas, tucked into the forest or set along the edges of four of the park's 16 ponds.

All are beautifully maintained and a section of the Charge Pond area is set aside specifically for horse camping. Two day-use areas offer picnicking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, miles of paved bicycle trails, 35 miles of equestrian trails and 13 miles of hiking trails take visitors deep into the forest, which includes one of the largest contiguous pitch pine/scrub oak communities north of Long Island.


The forest's 14,635 acres are laced with hundreds of miles of trails, paths, fire breaks, paved roads and dirt roads. Some of the pathways in the forest actually predate the Pilgrims. There's also a 22 mile paved bicycle trail.

Mountain bikes can ride anywhere in the forest except on pond shores. Particularly attractive are the busy bicycle trail and the 28 mile horse trail. There is a very popular 6 mile marked singletrack loop that begins in the forest's central parking lot.

The horse trail is currently 28 miles long. A few of its trails are composed of loose sand but most are great for mountain bikes.

The forest's trails can form an endless number of rides. Maps showing the forest's extensive trail system, including many of the roads and trails that are not part of any trail system are available at forest headquarters. But, there are mny more trails than those shown on any published map.

Riding opportunities in the Myles Standish State Forest, range from wonderfully deserted smooth forest roads to endless doubletracks, to barely defined singletracks and game trails where you'll spend a good part of your time walking. You can expect lots of Pitch Pine and Scrub Oak, small hills, sand, a little mud and no rocks. Some of the forest's trails may convince you that you are riding in the "Miles of Sandish State Forest." With a little experience though, you'll soon learn to avoid them. Most of the trails are quite ridable and lots of fun.

The paved bicycle trail follows natural terrain and runs all through the forest. This makes it a fine reference point for traffic-free forest exploration. It's also good for short cutting the longer off-road sections.

A couple of cautions.... Get off the trail whenever you hear a motorcycle coming. Motorcycle riders go very fast and they don't expect others to be out on the trails. Currently Myles Standish's trails are closed to motorcycles and ATVs but you may see some. Bring lots of water. There is no potable water available except in campgrounds and at forest headquarters. You might consider riding the marked trails until you become familiar with the layout of the forest. Always carry a map. Nearly 15,000 acres, surrounded by a lot of other open space, can make it very easy to get lost.

Myles Standish State Forest is great in the winter due to a normal lack of snow and an abundance of frozen sand. Which almost seems to turn the "Miles of Sandish" sections into pavement.

It's a good place to ride in the early spring during the "mud season" as the generally sandy/gravelly upper Cape soil tends to dry out first. In warmer weather there are over 600 campsites, many on lakes where you can swim.

Myles Standish State Forest has become the destination of choice for winter riding in Southeastern MA.

When the snow is deep, the only riding is on packed snowmobile trails which support bikes quite nicely. Studded tires are optional. On mixed snow/dirt/ice conditions, studs are nice and the only places where riding is difficult to impossible are where the snow has drifted and not been packed down by snowmobiles.

But, most of the time in the winter there is no snow in Myles Standish. In a normal winter, the usually sandy conditions that occur on about 15% of the trails and make them less than optimal in the summer, are gone and the sand is frozen hard. Which makes for good riding everywhere.
                       
Directions:
Myles Standish State Forest is located in southeastern Massachusetts.

From the north: Take Rte. 3 south to exit 5, turn right onto Long Pond Rd. (west) and continue for about 3 miles to the park entrance on the right.

From Rte. 495: Take Rte. 495 to exit 2 (South Carver) and the intersection with Rte. 58. Take Rte. 58 north on Cranberry Rd., follow signs.
             
The central trails parking lot is located at the junctions of 3 cornered Pond and Upper College Pond Roads.

Rules:
All trails are closed during Deer week, on a few Saturdays, and on all holidays during hunting season.  Check with the DCR for hunting dates.

By Bill Boles Read more about Myles Standish State Forest, Plymouth

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