Massasoit State Park, Taunton
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. 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. The park has a year-round park supervisor that is very supportive of mountain bikers. In 2019 the campground was re-opened and the swimming beach was added. Additionally, the dam near the campground was rebuilt. With the renovations the trail through the campground had to be closed. Please do not attempt to ride it. It is closed year round! A re-route was being planned and will hopefully be completed in the spring of 2020. If you find yourself at the campground, please just simply take any paved road or paved campground road to your next destination.
Massasoit can be ridden all year long except when deep snow makes the trails impassable. There are at least 15 miles of trails at Massasoit, including a few miles of dirt roads. Most rides end up being 8 – 12 miles in length and it’s easy to loop in a route. There are no long, extended climbs at Massasoit but many of the singletracks will have a number of short steep punchy climbs. These are made more difficult by loose soil, sand, rocks and exposed roots and are sure to make your heart rate climb. Most of the trails are not overly technical and many are rolling singletrack with tight corners. Although most trails are rated intermediate, expect to find a few difficult sections, mostly steep climbs, making short hike-a-bike sections not unusual. It will take a good rider at least a couple of days to thoroughly explore Massasoit.
Arguably, the most fun trail in the park is the one along the south side of Lake Rico. There is also a twisty, turny section of trail though a grove of tall white pines on the southern most section of the park. The best way to finish any ride is to follow along the entire trail that runs parallel to the main road back to the HQ. All of these trails shouldn’t be missed.
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. The park supervisor takes mud season very seriously and will have a chat with you if you if he thinks you are damaging the trails.
The dominant tree seems to be the White Pine. White Pines have a lot of surface roots as you'll discover as you ride over an uncountable number of them.
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.