BRUCE FREEMAN RAIL TRAIL:

ACTON-CHELMSFORD, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      June 27, 2018

Length:                Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; 11.8 miles.

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Lowell (Northern section); From Route 3 southbound, take exit 31 to Route 110. Turn left and travel under Route 3. Turn right into Cross Point. Follow the entrance and turn right. Park in Lot F. The trail heads through a tunnel under Route 3. From Route 3 northbound, take exit 30 to Route 110. Turn right on Route 110, then turn right into Cross Point. Follow the entrance and turn right. Park in Lot F. The trail heads through a tunnel under Route 3.

To start in Chelmsford (Northern section); From I-495 northbound, take exit 33 to Route 4 south. Just before the junction of Routes 4 & 110 turn left into the parking lot for the Chelmsford Center for the Arts. Trail parking here. From I-495 southbound, take exit 34 to Route 110 south. At the junction of Routes 4 & 110 turn right on Route 4, cross the trail, then turn right into the parking lot for the Chelmsford Center for the Arts. Trail parking here.

To start in Acton (Central section); From     Route 27 parking lot.

The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is being built along the former rail bed of the New Haven Railroad Farmington & Lowell Line. It passed through the communities of  Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. Currently the trail travels south from Lowell, through Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle into Acton. Future plans call for continuing the trail north into Lowell and connecting into the CONCORD RIVER GREENWAY . The next phases for construction will take place in Acton and Concord. For more information visit; BRUCE FREEMAN RAIL TRAIL . The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will also be a link in the regional 200-mile BAY CIRCUIT TRAIL .

Starting from the Lowell/Chelmsford town line at Cross Point;  

Note; Future plans call for continuing the trail north through Lowell. You'll notice the Mile Markers are marked as starting from this future extension 1.6 miles north.

The paved trail travels through a tunnel underneath Route 3 and continues southwest along the old rail bed. This section travels behind industrial and commercial areas along a shaded corridor. You'll pass by wooden Mile Marker 1.8 after 0.2 miles. You travel underneath I-495 where a cross-light takes you over Golden Cove Rd. Come to Route 110 at 1.3 miles. Turn left following the sidewalk to a cross-light. Cross Route 110 and turn left where you'll pick up the paved trail again. The trail now follows an urban corridor through Chelmsford. Just up an incline on your right is the Chelmsford Center for the Arts parking lot just before the intersection of Route 4 & 110 at 1.7 miles. Turn left to a cross-light, then right back to the trail. Check out the murals along the cement retaining wall next to a map board and Porto-Potty before head into the woods. The trail now travels through wooded wetlands leaving the urban setting behind. Beaver Brook flows along on the left before passing below the trail at 2.1 miles. At the 4 Mile Marker you'll spot an old granite RR Mileage Marker on your right reading 22 on one side and 4 on the other (4 miles to Lowell and 22 miles to Farmington). These old RR Mileage Markers are located every mile. Pass by the Bovey Woodlot (hiking trails) before crossing High St at 3.1 miles. Look left to spot an old RR Whistle Stop Marker. At the 5 Mile Marker is the 21/5 old RR Mileage Marker. Pass by the Chelmsford Swim & Tennis Club before traveling under a power transmission line at 3.9 miles.

Note; A paved spur trail on your left follows the transmission line up to Sunny Meadow Farm (community gardens) after 0.2 miles.

Cross Maple Rd at 4.2 miles. Refreshments are available at the Agway located here. Pass by Heart Pond Beach parking lot (Porto-Potty and playground) at 4.4 miles. The trail then travels along the pond and past all the "camps". Cross Greenwood Rd  into Westford at 5.3 miles as you parallel Route 27. Cross light over Griffin Rd followed by Route 27 then Routes 27 & 225 at 6.9 miles. The trail is now wider, with stone-dust for joggers and granite Mile Markers (every 1/4 mile) as you enter Acton at 7.2 miles. Ramp on your right leads down to the Route 27 parking lot. Map board. Cross light over Main St where a causeway takes you through Butter & Nashoba Brook Marsh. Pass by a couple of old RR Switching Levers before the trail turns off the old rail bed at 8.3 miles (9.75 Mile Marker) to bypass a lumber yard. Pass by a paved spur trail on your right leading to NARA Park.

Note; This paved spur trail travels along side a pond, passing by a boardwalk across the pond, then up a hill and around some sports fields to a parking lot at 0.4 miles. Stay straight through the parking lot and a Service road will take you through the park and past the beach to the NARA Park parking lot. Head left back to the pond where the paved trail continues out to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Head left to complete a 1 mile Loop or right to continue along the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

The trail returns to the old rail bed and follows along the park pond before coming to another spur trail on your right leading to NARA Park. At 8.6 you come to a granite post. Right leads to the NARA Park parking lot. Map board. Cross Route 27 at 8.8 miles. Come to an old Mill site at 9.3 miles. Informational sign here, along with old stone foundations. Cross a bridge over Nashoba Brook, where the brook parallels the trail. Green, steel arched bridge takes you up and over Route 2A at 9.9 miles. Old RR Whistle Stop Marker on your right. Cross Brook Street where you'll find a parking lot and map board on your left at 10.3 miles. You now follow a commercial corridor on your left with marsh on your right. Places to grad refreshments along here. Just past a Dunkin Donuts on your left is the PEDAL POWER BIKE AND SKI shop. At 10.7 miles is the old 12/14 RR Mileage Marker. Pass by Ice House Pond on your right before crossing Concord Rd at 11.4 miles. Look right for another old RR Whistle Stop Marker. Cross Wetherbee St, passing by the old 13/13 RR Mileage Marker before the trail currently ends after 11.8 miles. Map board. The trail will continue south into Concord in the future.

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CLICK HERE FOR MAP

CLICK HERE FOR CHELMSFORD-WESTFORD MAP

CLICK HERE FOR FUTURE TRAIL MAP 

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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