MARBLEHEAD RAIL TRAIL:

MARBLEHEAD, MASSACHUSETTS

SALEM BIKE PATHS:

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

SWAMPSCOTT RAIL TRAIL:

SWAMPSCOTT, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      June 4, 2022

Length:                Marblehead Rail Trail; Salem Spur; 1.5 miles to Salem Bike Path

                               Marblehead Rail Trail; Swampscott Rail Trail Spur; 2.1 miles to Swampscott Rail Trail

                               Swampscott Rail Trail; 0.3 miles 

                               Marblehead Neck Loop; 5.1 miles

                               Salem Bike Path; 1.8 miles

                               Washington Street Bike Lane; 0.4 miles

                              Salem Bike Loop; 2.5 miles

                              Salem Willows Park Loop; 2.3 miles

                              North River Canal Walkway Loop; 0.9 miles

Difficulty:            Marblehead Rail Trail; Easy. Flat, stone dust rail trail.

                               Swampscott Rail Trail; Easy, Flat, stone-dust rail trail.

                               Marblehead Neck Loop; On-road.

                               Salem Bike Path; Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

                              Salem Bike Loop; Easy. Mostly flat, paved trail w/some on-road & Bike Lane sections.

                              Salem Willows Park Loop; Moderate. Mostly flat w/a couple of hills and some on-road sections.

                              North River Canal Walkway Loop; Easy. Flat paved trail

Directions:

To start from Roundhouse Road parking lot [Marblehead/Swampscott Rail Trail]; From Route 128 take exit 39 to Lowell St and travel east towards Salem. Continue straight on Main St then Boston St. Turn right on Essex St then left on Jackson St. Follow to Jefferson Ave and turn right. Follow to traffic circle and turn left, then bear right on Loring Ave. Turn right on Lafayette St (Route 114) and follow into Marblehead. Continue straight on Pleasant St for 0.7 miles, then take a left onto Bessom St. There will be a public parking lot on your right on Roundhouse Rd. The trail starts left across the street at the yellow cable.

Note; MARBLEHEAD CYCLE is just up Bessom St.

The two trails that make up the Marblehead Rail Trail are abandoned railroad lines of the Eastern Railroad Company. The Salem Spur follows a line built in 1839 from Marblehead towards Salem. In Salem it becomes the Salem Bike Path, also known as the Mayor Anthony V. Salvo Bike Path. The Swampscott Spur follows a line built in 1873 from Marblehead towards Swampscott where it becomes the Swampscott Rail Trail. The lines were abandoned in 1959. Both trails start from the Roundhouse Road parking lot before splitting off just up the trail. 

The Swampscott Rail Trail, Marblehead Rail Trail & Salem Bike Path are part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path. 

MARBLEHEAD-SWAMPSCOTT RAIL TRAIL:

Starting from the Roundhouse Road parking lot [Marbletown]; Pass through the yellow gate and follow the stone-dust Marblehead Rail Trail underneath the Village Street Bridge. You come to an intersection by an electrical station after 0.2 miles.

Note; Heading right will connect to the Salem Bike Path.

Head left past the sub-station. This section of the Marblehead Rail Trail travels along a residential corridor and crosses Maverick St followed by Pleasant Street at 0.6 miles. Cross-walk, however, Use Caution as this is a well traveled road. 

Note; See Below for an on-road detour around Marblehead Neck from here.

After crossing Smith St you'll pass by Marblehead High School. At 1.6 miles the trail continues straight utilizing a paved driveway past Temple Emanu-El out to Clifton Ave. Across Clifton St the trail is partially developed consisting of a narrow hard packed dirt surface. Cross Rockaway Ave and after 1.9 miles you'll pass a side trail on your right leading to the Ware Pond Conservation Area . Look left to spot some old cement RR rail tie holders. Come to Seaview Ave at 2.1 miles where you cross over to Swampscott and the Swampscott Rail Trail. The stone-dust rail trail currently ends after only 0.3 miles at Bradlee Ave.

MARBLEHEAD NECK LOOP:

While you are in the area, I would suggest an on-road bike tour of Marblehead Neck. Very scenic. From Pleasant Street/Swampscott Spur head left on-road along Pleasant St. Take your second right onto Ocean Ave. After 0.7 miles you'll cross a causeway with a view to your left of scenic Lady's Cove/Marblehead Harbor and its 1,600 moored boats. This brings you to Marblehead Neck. Continue right along Ocean Ave. After 2.3 miles you'll pass a side trail that leads to Castle Rock before coming to the intersection with Harbor Ave at 2.4 miles. Continue right along Ocean Ave which becomes Follett St. This brings you to Chandler Hovey Park and its lighthouse at 2.8 miles. Great views of Salem Sound and the Massachusetts Bay. Return via Kimball St and Nahant St (one-way) back to Ocean Ave. Head right and continue straight onto Harbor Ave. This will bring you back to Ocean Ave and the causeway at 4.1 miles. Retrace your route back to Pleasant St and turn left to rejoin the Swampscott Spur after a 5.1 mile Loop. For more information visit;  MARBLEHEAD .

MARBLEHEAD RAIL TRAIL-SALEM BIKE PATH:

Starting from Roundhouse Road parking lot [Marbletown]; Pass through the yellow gate and follow the stone-dust Marblehead Rail Trail underneath the Village Street Bridge. You come to an intersection by an electrical station after 0.2 miles.

Note; Heading left will connect to the Swampscott Rail Trail.

Head right past the sub-station. This section of the Marblehead Rail Trail follows an open corridor along a power line. Pass by the hiking trails of the Hawthorn Pond Conservation Area followed by Tower School before coming to W Shore Dr at 0.8 miles. Cross-walk, however, Use Caution as this is a busy road. You now pass through Wyman Woods Conservation Area . Travel alongside Salem Harbor and across a bridge over the Forest River before coming to Route 114 in Salem at 1.5 miles. Turn right to access a cross-walk over this very busy road. USE CAUTION. This is the start of the paved Salem Bike Path, along known as the Mayor Anthony V. Salvo Bike Path. This residential corridor travels past Jackman Field, where you'll find a spur trail on your left that leads to an overlook of the Old Creek Salt Marsh. You then travel past Salem State University before a cross-walk over busy Loring Ave. BLUEbikes located here. Nice trail lampposts and benches. Cross Canal St at 2.2 miles where the trail follows an industrial corridor and soon parallels active RR tracks. Here the trail travels between the RR tracks and Canal St bringing you to Mill & Washington Streets after 3.3 miles. BLUEbikes located here. To continue into Salem cross Washington St on your right and follow the Washington Street BIKE LANE heading north (left). Come to *New Derby Street at 3.4 miles

Note; Heading right will take you along the Salem Bike Loop. This Loop will return you here via the Washington Street BIKE LANE heading south. See Below. You can also access the Salem Willows Park Loop from the Salem Bike Loop. See Below

Continuing north along the Washington Street BIKE LANE takes you through downtown Salem. You'll pass by Essex St on your right which is a pedestrian only walkway. Come to Bridge St after 3.7 miles. From here you can access the North River Waterfront Loop. See Below. The Salem Bike Loop also comes in from your right utilizing the Washington Street BIKE LANE south back to the Salem Bike Path.

SALEM BIKE LOOP:

Starting from the intersection of the Washington Street BIKE LANE & *New Derby Street; Head east along the New Derby Street BIKE LANE. Lots of places to eat. Cross Lafayette St and continue along the Derby Street BIKE LANE. Quickly come to the start of the Salem Harborwalk Loop on your right. Spot the EAST COAST GREENWAY sign. 

Note; You can do a quick detour along the Salem Harborwalk Loop and return back here. Follow the cement Salem Harborwalk Loop south to an inlet for Salem Harbor. Informational signs. Travel to the South Side and follow the trail east alongside the harbor out to Congress St. Head left back across the harbor to the North Side. Short set of stairs leads to pea stone which quickly takes you along a boardwalk west. Travel past Charlotte Forten Park on your right along the cement trail before retuning to the end of the harbor. Turn right and return to Derby St after a 0.3 mile Loop.

Continuing east along the Derby Street BIKE LANE you cross Congress St/Hawthorne Blvd. Come to the SALEM MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE on your right after 0.4 miles. Here you'll find a NPS Visitor Center w/restroom along with a map of Salem. 

Note; You can do 2 quick detours from here. The Central Wharf Causeway starts past the NPS Visitor Center heading south along a stone-dust path. Ends after 0.1 miles. Head along Derby St to the next wharf. Here the Derby Wharf Causeway travels south along a stone-dust path. You pass by the Friendship of Salem, a replica of the original merchant ship. The path then becomes gravel, making for a moderate bike ride. The causeway brings you out to the black & white 1871 Derby Wharf Light Station at 0.3 miles

Continuing east on-road along Derby Street (no more Bike Lane, but one-way w/slow traffic) are shops and historic houses. Quaint. Come to **Webb Street at 0.8 miles.

Note; From here you can do a detour along the ***Salem Willows Park Loop. SEE Below.

Across Derby St you'll pick up the paved Peter F. Tracy Walkway as it travels west through David J. Beattie Park. Small parking lot here. Cross Fort Ave and Szetela Lane brining you to Collins Cove at 1 mile. 

Note; The Salem Harbor Connector Path starts on your right heading north. This is also where the ***Salem Willows Park Loop returns.

The trail continues west along the southern end of Collins Cove. Come to Collins St and Collins Cove Beach

Note; If you head right up Collins St it will bring you to Collins Cove Park (playground & sports fields).

Head left across Collins St (cross-walk) where the Peter F. Tracy Walkway continues east alongside Webb St before Bridge St. The trail then travels through a residential corridor which brings you out to the Sergeant James Ayube Memorial Drive Trail after 1.4 miles.

Note; This trail continues north alongside Sergeant James Ayube Memorial Drive below left. It quickly ends after 0.2 miles at Skerry St.

Head left along the Sergeant James Ayube Memorial Drive Trail as it travels south alongside Sergeant James Ayube Memorial Dr. This brings you to Bridge St at 1.7 miles. Cross Bridge St and head right (north) on a narrow paved path back alongside Sergeant James Ayube Memorial Dr. This brings you to a circle with benches in the middle. Travel around this circle and continue south alongside some RR tracks. The North River is on the opposite side of the tracks. You'll travel past the Salem Train Station where the path follows a narrow sidewalk back out to Bridge St. Head right on-road (sidewalk available) to the intersection of Washington & Bridge Streets at 2.2 miles. 

Note; To check out the North River Waterfront Loop. See Below

Head left (south) along the Washington Street BIKE LANE as it travels through downtown Salem. This returns you to *New Derby Street after a 2.5 mile Loop.

SALEM WILLOWS PARK LOOP:

From the junction of Derby Street & **Webb Street; Head north along the Derby Street Separated BIKE LANE out to Fort Ave. 

Note; From here you can do a quick detour. On your right is the Footprint Power Salem Harbor Power Station. To the right of the entrance station you'll find the Footprint Power Loop Path. This narrow, paved path travels around the power plant. The trail splits, I stayed along the Outer Path. Nice gardens and intersecting paths. After 0.3 miles the trail ends just shy of Salem Harbor. I then returned along the Inner Path for a 0.6 mile Loop.

Here the Fort Ave Separated 2-way BIKE LANE heads North up a slight grade. Hold your nose as you pass by the sewer plant. After 0.6 miles the Bike Lane ends as Fort Ave bears left at an intersection. Continue on-road along Fort Ave (BIKE SHARROWS). Sports fields and parking lots along your left. Come to Bay View Ave and a large green sign for Salem Willows Park. Straight ahead are eateries and arcades (similar to an amusement park). Bear left to the paved Salem Willows Park Path (next to the blue Salem Willows Park sign). Continue north through the tree-lined park, past picnic pavilions and gazebos before coming to Juniper Beach. Head left around Old Hospital Point at 1.1 miles. Nice views of the ocean. The trail then turns South alongside Rams Horn Channel. Come to Restaurant Row (road) and continue south on-road. Again the sports fields and parking lots are along your left. Pass by Dead Horse Beach and come to Memorial Dr. Keep right up the sight hill past Camp Naumkeag where the road is now downhill. Come to an intersection and keep right along Szetela Lane. After 2.1 miles you'll pick up the Salem Harbor Connector Path on your right. Check out the marker next to the benches for an unmarked grave for an old hospital. Lots of sculptures as this trail follows alongside Collins Cove. Come to the end of the cove. Here you'll pick up the Salem Bike Loop as you complete the Salem Willows Park Loop of 2.3 miles

NORTH RIVER CANAL WALKWAY LOOP:

From the intersection of Washington & Bridge Streets; Continue west along Bridge St and just past the Salem Train Station spot a ramp. Travel down this ramp (walk bikes) to the Salem Train Station parking lot. Head left along a BIKE LANE, then left again along a BIKE LANE. Spot a paved trail on your right that crosses the RR tracks. Follow this trail past the North River on your right (this is where the river is diverted underground) up to North St where you'll find another BIKE LANE. Head right to reach a cross light, then follow the BIKE LANE back along North St. Take your first right down Green Trail (no sign) just before the bridge. This brings you down to the North River Canal Walkway after 0.4 miles. The paved North River Canal Walkway Loop travels west alongside the North Side of the narrowed North River. You'll come to a pedestrian bridge over the river which you must take as a business blocks access ahead. Head right, west, alongside the South Side of the river. You come alongside some RR tracks as you cross back over the river to Leslie's Retreat parking lot at 0.8 miles. Another short section of the trail heads east along the North Side of the river, but is then blocked by the same business. Return to the South Side of the river and Loop back east. Bear right at the fork (left returns you to the pedestrian bridge) and pass by a gazebo and Dog Park before coming to the Green Trail parking lot at 1.3 miles. Travel out Green Trail to where it turns left. Look right to spot a gap in the fence where a trail take you across the RR tracks to Bridge St and head left. 

Two Options: 

    1. Continue on-road along Bridge Street to Washington Street where you'll pick up the Washington Street BIKE LANE.

    2. Turn left along a BIKE LANE and return to the Salem Train Station ramp up to Bridge Street & Washington Street where you'll pick up the Washington Street BIKE LANE.

Note; Plans are in the works in Salem to extend the North River Canal Riverwalk west to Peabody, where it will connect to the planned Peabody Riverwalk. See Map Below. Future plans would then connect the Peabody Riverwalk west to the Independence Greenway, also in Peabody.

Peabody's Riverwalk funding including in bill 

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CLICK HERE FOR MARBLEHEAD RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR SALEM BIKE MAP

CLICK HERE FOR BORDERS TO BOSTON MAP

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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