BORDER to BOSTON TRAIL; NORTHERN SECTION:

BOXFORD RAIL TRAIL:

BOXFORD, MASSACHUSETTS

GEORGETOWN RAIL TRAIL:

GEORGETOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

GROVELAND COMMUNITY TRAIL:

GROVELAND, MASSACHUSETTS

James J. Fiorentini BRADFORD RAIL TRAIL:

Brian S. Dempsey HAVERHILL RIVERFRONT BOARDWALK:

BRADFORD/HAVERHILL, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      August 02, 2023

Length:                Bradford Rail Trail; 0.8 miles

                              Haverhill Riverfront Boardwalk; 0.6 miles w/gaps.

                              Groveland Community Trail; 2 miles

Difficulty:            Bradford Rail Trail; Easy. Flat paved rail trail. 

                               Haverhill Riverfront Boardwalk; Easy. Flat boardwalk. 

                              Groveland Community Trail; Easy. Flat paved rail trail.

Directions:     

Starting from the S Elm Street parking lot in Bradford for the Bradford Rail Trail [Western End]; From I-495 take exit 107 to Route 113 and head east to downtown Haverhill. Turn right over the Comeau Bridge crossing the river to Bradford. Turn left on S Elm St. The parking lot is located on your left, at the rear between two businesses.    

Starting from Shanahan Field parking lot in Groveland for the Groveland Community Trail [Northern End]; From I-495 take exit 107 to Route 113 and head east crossing the Merrimack River to Groveland. Take an immediate right along Main St and travel 0.6 miles. Parking lot on your right. From the parking lot you'll need to travel south on-road along Main St to the trailhead on your left after 0.2 miles.

The Border to Boston Trail is an emerging 28-mile shared use trail linking eight communities from the New Hampshire border South to Bostonís North ShoreSee; BORDER TO BOSTON TRAIL

The Border to Boston Trail; Northern Section starts from the NH border and travels South and consists of the Eastern Marsh Trail in Salisbury and the Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport, which are part of the Coastal Trails Network . A gap exists South from the Georgetown Rail Trail in Georgetown and Boxford Rail Trail in Boxford where the trail is mostly still undeveloped. They all 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

Note; From the future Georgetown Rail Trail, when complete, you'll be able to access an old Rail Spur Line that traveled Northwest that includes the Groveland Community Trail in Groveland & Bradford Rail Trail in Bradford. Also, across the Merrimack River, you can access the Brian S. Dempsey Haverhill Riverfront Boardwalk in Haverhill.

The Border to Boston Trail; North Central Section continues South and consists of the Topsfield Linear Common in Topsfield, the Wenham Rail Trail in Wenham, the Danvers Rail Trail in Danvers & the Peabody Rail Trail in Peabody. They all 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. Also, in Peabody, the Border to Boston Trail utilizes the Eastern Section of the Independence Greenway as it travels Southeast. Currently a gap exists between Peabody and Salem.  

Note; From the Topsfield Linear Common you can access the Grand Wenham Canal Loop Trail to the East and from the Danvers Rail Trail you can access an old Rail Spur Line that traveled Northwest that includes the Danvers Rail Trail; Northern Extension in Danvers & Middleton Rail Trail in Middleton. Also, from the Southern End of the Peabody Rail Trail in Peabody you can access the Western Section of the Independence Greenway as it travels Northwest.

The Border to Boston Trail; South Central Section continues South and consists of the Salem Bike Path in Salem and the Marblehead Rail Trail; Salem Spur in Marblehead which travels East. Then, traveling South, the Marblehead Rail Trail; Swampscott Spur & Swampscott Rail Trail in Swampscott. The Salem Bike Path & Marblehead Rail Trail; Salem Spur follow the rail bed of the old Eastern Railroad Company Line built in 1839. The Marblehead Rail Trail; Swampscott Spur & Swampscott Rail Trail follow the rail bed of the old Eastern Railroad Company Line built in 1873. Currently a gap exists South in Swampscott.

The Border to Boston Trail; Southern Section continues Southwest and consists of the Lynn Shore & Nahant Beach Reservation and traveling West, the Northern Strand Community Trail

The Border to Boston Trail is 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.

Border to Boston Trail; Northern Section:

Boxford Rail Trail:

This section is mostly undeveloped and is currently in the design phase as of 2023.

Georgetown Rail Trail:

This section is mostly undeveloped. Construction is planned to start Fall 2024 and run 2.4 miles from Georgetown Rd to Route 97. In Spring 2026 construction is planned for the Northern Georgetown to Byfield section.

The James J. Fiorentini Bradford Rail Trail and Groveland Community Trail follow the rail bed of the old Georgetown Branch Railroad, chartered in March of 1844 and later acquired by the Boston & Maine RR. Finally, the Pan Am Railway abandoned the line. The Bradford Rail Trail follows the Merrimack River to Groveland, where the rail line traveled southeast to Georgetown. Across the river in Haverhill, the Brian S. Dempsey Haverhill Riverfront Boardwalk will travel alongside the Merrimack River between the  Basiliere & Comeau Bridges. When complete you will be able to create a Loop utilizing both trails. Both trails are also part of the regional Merrimack River Trail, a planned Greenway along the Merrimack River through Massachusetts. For more information visit; BRADFORD RAIL TRAIL & Merrimack River Trail .

Haverhill Riverfront Boardwalk:

Starting from the Haverhill Dock parking lot in Haverhill [Western End]; A short Boardwalk travels East from below the RR Bridge (travels next to the Comeau Bridge) alongside the Merrimack River to Riverfront Park. Currently, as of 2023, a 0.2 mile gap exists to the next section. The Boardwalk then continues East from Elliott Pl, where you access the trail via stairs up to the top of the flood wall, alongside the Merrimack River to the Basiliere Bridge after 0.3 miles. Currently, as of 2023, a there is no link to the trail which continues on the east side of the bridge. The paved Riverfront Trail continues East alongside the Merrimack River to River Rest Park and out to Water St after 0.2 miles.

Further East, another short section of the paved Riverfront Trail, travels from Riverside Ave east through Riverside Park. Future plans call for continuing the paved trail along the Merrimack River east, behind Riverís Edge Plaza to the William H. Bates Veterans Memorial Bridge (Route 113). Funded 2023.

Bradford Rail Trail:

Starting from the S Elm Street parking lot in Bradford [Western End]; The paved Bradford Rail Trail travels East above the Merrimack River. Kiosk located at the trailhead. Benches & sculptures located all along the trail. Look left to spot an old RR Mileage Marker that reads G6/B0 (Georgetown 6 miles/Bradford 0 miles). Pass by an old RR Track Switch before coming to the Basiliere Bridge (Route 125) after 0.6 miles. Kiosk located here. A spur to your right leads up to the Basiliere Bridge. The trail continues underneath the Basiliere Bridge where you'll pass by an old Brakeman's Warning Pole. This consists of a rail in the shape of an upside down L, hanging over the center of the trail. The chains hanging down over the trail would hit the Railroad Brakeman, who was on top of the train and warn him of an upcoming bridge or tunnel. *See Below for history. Also past here are the remnants of some type of concrete bins used by the RR or most likely a RR customer. Pass by a spur on your left, down to the Crescent Yacht Club & Washington Landing Park, just before the current end of the trail between S River St and Railroad St at 0.8 miles. The old rail bed ahead has been built over. 

Note; Future plans will extend the trail Southeast to connect to the Groveland Community Trail.

Groveland Community Trail:

Starting from Main Street in Groveland [Northern End]; Map Board located here. 

Note; Future plans will extend the trail Northwest to connect to the Bradford Rail Trail.

The wide, paved Groveland Community Trail travels Southeast along the old rail bed following a power line. Slight uphill. Come to center St at 1 mile. Turn left out to Route 97, then travel right along a SEPARATED BIKE LANE to a cross-light. Trail continues along a residential corridor. Cross Ashcroft Terrace at 1.3 miles where the trail levels out. More isolated corridor. Come to King St at 2 miles and the current end of the trail. Map Board.

Note; Future plans will extend the trail Southeast to connect to the future Georgetown Rail Trail.

*Brakeman
Prior to 1888 when Westinghouse developed a reliable air brake, stopping a train or a rolling car was very primitive. Iron wheels, located atop cars, were connected to a manual braking system by a long metal rod. The brakemen, usually two to a train, would ride on top of the car. On a whistle signal from the engineer, the brakemen, one at the front of the train and one at the rear of the train, would begin turning the iron wheels to engage the brakes. When one car was completed, the brakeman would jump the thirty inches or so to the next car and repeat the operation to apply the brakes on that car. The brakemen would work towards each other until all cars had their brakes applied. In good weather, the brakemen enjoyed riding on top of the cars and viewing the scenery. However, they had to ride up there in all kinds of weather - in rain, sleet, snow and ice, as well as good weather. Jumping from one car to the next at night or in freezing weather could be very dangerous, not to mention the fact that the cars were rocking from side to side. Today, a train brakeman assists the conductor by throwing switches, hooking the train cars together and ensuring the safety of the train, passengers, and freight.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR BORDERS TO BOSTON MAP

CLICK HERE FOR BRADFORD RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR GROVELAND COMMUNITY TRAIL MAP

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

HOME PAGE