TOPSFIELD LINEAR COMMON:

WENHAM RAIL TRAIL:

GRAND WENHAM CANAL:

TOPSFIELD-WENHAM, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       October 05, 2013

Length:                 Topsfield Linear Common; 2.2 miles

                              Wenham Rail Trail; 1.3 miles

                              Grand Wenham Canal; 1.9 miles (Loop; 4.9 miles)

                              Swamp Walk; 0.3 miles

Difficulty:             Topsfield Linear Common/Wenham Rail Trail; Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail. 

                              Grand Wenham Canal; Easy. Flat hard packed dirt & grass path. Loop; Moderate. Paved path with some on-road sections, hills.

Directions:     

To Start from the Park Street parking lot; From I-95 take exit 51 to Endicott Rd/Washington St east. Turn right on River Rd, then left on Prospect St. Turn left on Main St followed by a quick right on Park St. The parking lot is along your right. 

To Start from the Route 97 parking lot; From I-95 take exit 50 to Route 1 north. After about 2 miles turn right on Salem Rd. Take your first left on Wenham Rd and follow to Route 97. Continue straight on Route 97 and you'll quickly come to the parking lot on your right where the trail crosses the road. 

For the Grand Wenham Canal; See directions above. Continue down Park St, then left on Summer St. Right on Route 97. After you pass by the Route 35 junction look for Cherry St on your left. Follow Cherry St for about 1 mile and turn left up a dirt road (If you hit Old Town Way you've gone too far). This will bring you to the Canal Pumping Station. Note; I describe the this trail as a spur off the Wenham Rail Trail.

The Topsfield Linear Common, Danvers Rail Trail & Wenham Rail Trail  follow the rail bed of the old Danvers & Georgetown RR which was chartered in 1851. In 1855 this line merged into the Newburyport RR and in 1860 it became part of the Boston & Maine RR/ Newburyport Branch. All three trails are part of the regional BORDER TO BOSTON TRAIL , an emerging 28-mile shared use trail linking eight communities from the New Hampshire border to Bostonís North Shore. The Grand Wenham Canal may be accessed from the Topsfield Linear Common. For more information visit; TOPSFIELD LINEAR COMMON & DANVERS RAIL TRAIL .  

Starting from the Park Street parking lot along the Topsfield Linear Common; A map board and old RR equipment is located just north of the parking lot.

Note; Heading north the stone-dust trail crosses Main St and passes by the old Topsfield Station. After passing by Proctor Elementary School (Porto-potty located here along with a playground) the trail currently ends at Washington St after a 0.3 miles. Future plans call for continuing the trail north to Boxford.

Heading south the trail is paved through the parking lot until you cross Summer St where it turns to stone-dust as it travels along an open corridor. Look to your left after crossing Summer St to spot an old RR Mileage Marker reading B24/N18 (Boston 24 miles/Newburyport 18 miles). USE CAUTION as you travel across busy Route 1 at a 0.5 miles. The trail briefly travels along a stream before crossing Route 97 at 1.1 miles. Again USE CAUTION crossing this busy road. Just past the yellow gate look left to spot another old RR Mileage Marker reading B23/N17. Cross an old RR bridge over the Ipswich River where you'll find an informational sign. Another 0.2 miles and you'll pass a hidden dirt path on your left, just across from a tiered wood barn. 

Note; This path leads to the Grand Wenham Canal. SEE BELOW for trail information.

Enter the Wenham Rail Trail section at 1.9 miles where the trail continues as stone-dust. A cross-light takes you over busy Route 97 at 2.5 miles where you'll find a small parking lot. The trail now travels through a marsh along a causeway. At 2.8 miles you'll come to a map board and the entrance to the Swamp Walk. Here you'll find a map of the regional BORDER TO BOSTON TRAIL , as well as, information on the EAST COAST GREENWAY . Bike racks are located behind this map board.

Note; A 0.3 mile hiking trail (the Swamp Walk) loops around the marsh along a dirt path and boardwalk, returning to the rail trail further south. 

After leaving the marsh behind and entering the woods you come to the start of the Danvers Rail Trail at 3.2 miles which also consists of stone-dust. The Danvers Rail Trail travels 4.4 miles to the Peabody town line where it continues as the Peabody Rail Trail for another 0.8 miles before ending at Lowell St. From Lowell St you may access the Independence Greenway via an on-road connection.

GRAND WENHAM CANAL & LOOP:

From the Topsfield Linear Common follow the narrow dirt path 0.1 miles and you'll come to the Grand Wenham Canal. An old crumbling bridge is located across the Canal. Turn right and follow the hard packed dirt & grass path alongside the canal. The path is flat and out in the open. Across the canal is the Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary, so you'll spot plenty of birds along the way. After 1.9 miles you come to the Canal Pumping Station and a parking area. Here you can cross over the canal and bike along the opposite bank if you wish. To create a Loop follow the road out to Cherry St and head right along a narrow paved path that parallels the road. Just a slight uphill grade in spots. You'll come to Route 97 after 3 miles. Turn right along another paved path alongside the road. When you reach Daniels Rd the paved path ends. You may either continue on-road or cross over to a paved path along the opposite side of the street. After you reach the top of a small hill the road heads down where it meets up with the Wenham Rail Trail at 3.9 miles. Turn right and follow the stone-dust trail back to the Topsfield Linear Common and your start point after a 4.9 mile loop.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR TOPSFIELD LINEAR COMMON MAP

CLICK HERE FOR DANVERS RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR GRAND WENHAM CANAL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR BORDERS TO BOSTON MAP

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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