.This description is for an excellent cross-country ride that hits some very good technical sections. It's really meant for experienced technically savvy riders. The main loop of trails, excluding this entrance and the Howard Ridge area, are better suited for novice/intermediate riders.
Start at Linden Street entrance nearest Lyman St.(shown on the map below) , not the main entrance on Smith Rd, and not the Devine Trail entrance. There is a small parking area that is unmarked.
Head down the hill and bear right. Multiple trails will converge to an uphill trail. This will bring you to a very technical section around a pond (bend around the pond bearing right) and then a sick climb, quick left and immediate right and another sick climb. Once at the top of the hill you will converge with the main circuit of trails. From here you will stay right and head down the hill and then make a left onto Berlin Rd. trail. Cross brook then up technical section then left and stay straight until end (no trespassing sign), take left and stay straight /bear right until bisect Mentzger trail. Take right and go to end, left on to Sparrow Trail (very nice long technical rock garden) to Berlin Rd. trail take right and fly to end ( short section of double track). Take right on to Howard Ridge Trail. This loop is the best technical section here and will likely be more than the novice or intermediate can handle. Once on Howard Ridge you will be on top of a rock, you hucksters out there will find a nice drop straight off the rock, others go down right. Keep on Howard Ridge trail (bearing left) until Vernal Pool trail on left. Take this and take to top (very nice technical rock section heading out of a creek bed is quite a challenge to navigate cleanly). At top head right down South Gorge trail. Wind through woods and then trail will seemingly split, to the right is a nice double rock drop that is for technical riders only, stay left for easier way. To the left there are a few other trails and some rock drops which might interest some looking for that. Take a right down to the gorge. This is the most intense and technical section here. Tight, rocky, rooty and steep. If you are not a seasoned rider you will want to avoid or walk your bike down. Navigate the tight left downhill and then you have to shoot a tight gap between two trees and then a steep rock garden ensues with a big fall off to the right the entire way ( not a good place to fall). Continue down and then a right, left combo downhill to a narrow log bridge over a creek. Head up to the right and an excellent climb up the Howard Ridge trail will burn your quads. When back at Berlin Rd. trail intersection head down right and then first left and head up to South Overlook.
On a clear day you can see Boston and in fall the foliage is excellent. for those technical riders a right turn when approaching the overlook will bring you down a steep double pitched trail which is sphincter tightening, a fall to the left will be bad. At the bottom turn right and head back up Berlin Rd. trail and then another right will bring you back to the overlook. Turn around (facing away from the overlook) and head back straight and then right onto Tyler Trail. This is a fun, fast classic cross country trail with some technical features here and there. Take this to the end staying straight. You will end on Mentzger trail. Take right then quick left across rock wall and you will spill out on North overlook. Just before the overlook is a left trail that is not on the maps. Take this trail to the end and then a right turn will bring you down a big hill. A quick left and immediate right will bring you down the first climb of the day, bear right down the hill and around the technical pond section and out. This ride can be done in about an hour if moving fast otherwise 1.5hrs. It is a blast. Lots of ups and downs, lots of rocks and plenty of technical areas. After rain the roots and rocks can make the more technical downhill sections very dicey, particularly the gorge area. Be very cautious here because a fall in this section could be very serious. Enjoy!
By Brad Schaffer
The map shows the described route.
NOTE: The Northborough Trails system is mountain bike friendly with the exception of Cedar Hills and Sawink Farm. Please do not ride those trails. Trail maps and trail head locations can be accessed at the following url: www.Northboroughtrails.org. The trails are all similar in terms of terrain and are all good for novice to intermediate riders, with the exception of Mt. Pisgah.