METHUEN RAIL TRAIL:

METHUEN, MASSACHUSETTS

SALEM BIKE-PED CORRIDOR:

SALEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       June 7, 2014

Length:                 Methuen Rail Trail; 2.4 miles

                              Salem Bike-Ped Corridor; 5 miles (Currently 2.5 miles developed)

Difficulty:            Methuen Rail Trail; Easy. Flat hard packed gravel rail trail. Mt bike recommended.

                              Salem Bike-Ped Corridor; Easy. Flat recycled asphalt rail trail. Mt bike recommended as the recycled asphalt is a bit bumpy.

Directions:

To start from Manchester Street Park in Lawrence; From I-93 take exit 46 to Route 110 east. Bear left on Woodland St and follow to a traffic circle. Follow around to Manchester St, traveling underneath the old RR bridge and take your first left into the Park. Note; There are no Park entrance signs.

To start from the Railroad Street parking lot in Methuen; From I-93 take exit 47 to Pelham St and head right (east). At the 5-way intersection bear right on Railroad St. The large dirt parking lot will be on your left.

To start from the Main Street Municipal parking lot in Salem; From I-93 take exit 2 to Pelham Rd and head east. Pelham Rd becomes Main St. Just before Route 28 the parking lot will be on your right next to Central St.

The Methuen Rail Trail & Salem Bike-Ped Corridor travel along the rail bed of the former Manchester and Lawrence Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad. They are  part of the regional Manchester- Lawrence Recreational Rail Trail which includes: The Windham Rail Trail , Derry Rail Trail , Londonderry Rail Trail and South Manchester Rail Trail to the north in New Hampshire and the Lawrence Rail Trail to the south, which has not been developed. You can also access the Spicket River Greenway from Manchester Street Park in Lawrence. The Salem Bike-PedCorridor is part of the state wide Granite State Rail Trail, a proposed 120-mile trail extending from Methuen MA to Lebanon NH. The GSRT forms a "backbone" with many other rail trails connecting to it. Heading east, the Freemont Branch starts in Windham while the Portsmouth Branch starts from Manchester. West of Manchester, the rail trail goes over the Hands Across the Merrimack Bridge toward Goffstown and New Boston. Another series of rail trails connect to the Lakes Region via Belmont and Laconia. Each rail trail is a local project. See; GRANITE STATE RAIL TRAIL. For more information visit; METHUEN RAIL TRAIL .

Starting from Manchester Street Park in Lawrence, MA; A sign board and picnic tables are located here. From the parking lot travel past the community garden and playground along the paved trail to a promenade that overlooks the Spicket River with the old Arlington Mills across the river. This paved trail with a wide white stripe is part of the Spicket River Greenway's northern endpoint in Lawrence. It heads right. A short section of this trail continues straight which is where you head. Just before a an old RR bridge that crosses the river turn left and follow a stone-dust trail back alongside the park and up an embankment. This will bring you up to the old rail bed just shy of 0.4 miles. To your left is the old double track RR bridge across Manchester St. This is where Lawrence has future plans for the Manchester & Lawrence Rail Trail. Heading right from the bridge the Methuen Rail Trail consists of hard packed gravel as it travels above the river and old mills along your right. Travel underneath Oakland Ave and across Union St before passing by the old Methuen Railroad Depot (1907). You then pass by the Railroad Street parking lot after 1.5 miles. A tunnel takes you underneath Osgood & Lowell Streets. After crossing over the Spicket River you enter a Bird Sanctuary and leave the town behind. Travel underneath Route 213, then an old wooden road bridge at 2.1 miles. Travel past a large marsh and just before Hampshire Rd you'll pass by the NH border post to your right as you enter Salem, NH. The trail ends after 2.8 miles. 

Cross Hampshire Rd (Use Caution; No cross-walk) to continue north along the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor. Re-zeroing mileage. The trail surface consists of recycled asphalt, which makes for a slightly bumpy ride. Future plans call for paving the trail. Pass by an old RR Mileage marker at 0.2 miles on your right reading M23/L4 (Manchester 23 miles/Lawrence 4 miles). Straight, open corridor between woods and marsh on your left and commercial to your right. Cross Kelly Rd at 1.1 miles (Use Caution; No cross-walk/Head right for a cross-walk) where the trail now along Route 28. Again, Use Caution; No cross-walk past the plaza entrance. Come to Cuff Crossing Rd at 1.8 miles where the developed section of the trail currently ends. The old rail bed continues along Route 28 crossing busy Route 38 at 2.2 miles (Use Caution; No cross-walk). Cross Main St at 3.2 miles (Use Caution; No cross-walk) and you'll pass by the old Salem RR Depot, which is now a Transportation Museum

Note; To your left just up Main Street is a Municipal parking lot.

Here the trail is paved as it travels through an open plaza past a pergola and fountain. Past Willow St the trail reverts to recycled asphalt at 3.4 miles. This section is a bit more isolated as it travels alongside a large marsh and along a causeway. Come to Old Rockingham Rd at 3.9 miles. Past here the trail is undeveloped hard packed dirt as it travels along a narrow wooded corridor paralleling Route 28. Cross Range Rd and come to the Windham town line and the southern end of the Windham Rail Trail after 5 miles.

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CLICK HERE FOR METHUEN RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR SALEM BIKE-PED CORRIDOR MAP

 

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