INDEPENDENCE GREENWAY;

PEABODY, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      July 14, 2023

Length:                Independence Greenway; Western Section; 2.9 miles

                              Independence Greenway; Eastern Section: 1.5 miles

                              On-Road Eastern & Western Sections Connector; 1.5 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from the Russell Street parking lot [Western End]; From Route 1 take the Lowell St exit and travel west. After 0.8 miles bear right on Russell St. Just before the end of the road at Boston St look left for the parking lot across from the trail head.

To start from Lt. Ross Park parking lot [Central Section]; From Route 1 take the Lowell St exit and travel west. When the road splits bear left on Johnson St. Just before you cross over a bridge turn left into Lt. Ross Park. A small street sign marks the entrance.

The Independence Greenway follows the rail bed of the Salem & Lowell Railroad, which was a branch line of the Boston & Lowell Railroad and ran off the Essex Railroad in Peabody to Tewksbury where it met the Lowell & Lawrence Railroad at Tewksbury Jct. The line was chartered in 1848 and opened in 1850. A gap exists in the middle of the trail where I-95 and Route 1 cut through the old rail line. An on-road connection joins the Eastern & Western Sections together. Just off this on-road connection is the start of the Peabody Rail Trail, part of the Border to Boston Trail .

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 Shore. See; BORDER TO BOSTON TRAIL . The Northern Section consists of the Clipper City Rail Trail and Eastern Marsh Trail in Newburyport and Salisbury which are part of the Coastal Trails Network . A gap exists in Georgetown and Boxford where the trail is partially developed. The North Central Section travels through Topsfield, Wenham, Danvers and Peabody. The Border to Boston Trail; North Central Section; Topsfield Linear Common, Wenham Rail Trail, Danvers Rail Trail & Peabody 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. The Grand Wenham Canal may be accessed from the Topsfield Linear Common. In Peabody you connect to the Independence Greenway . Another gap exists to the Border to Boston Trail; South Central Section which consists of the Salem Bike Path, Marblehead Rail Trail, & Swampscott Rail Trail. Another gap exists to the Southern Section which consists of the Lynn Shore & Nahant Beach Reservation & 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.

 

Note; As of 2023, there is a gap between the Eastern and Western Sections of the trail. Designs are in the works to complete this gap. See Map Below.

Map showing the two existing sections of the Independence Greenway on either side of I-95 in Peabody. The green-dashed line is the route of the current project to extend the trail from Lahey Medical Center across Route 128 to Endicott St with a separated shared-use path. The red dots represent another missing link, which is currently also in design.

Independence Greenway; Western Section:

Starting from the Russell Street parking lot [Western End]; Cross Russell St to a Map Board. Maps & informational signs all along the trail. The paved Independence Greenway; Western Section travels East through the woods and along the Ipswich River. After 0.6 miles the trail opens up as you follow a power line. A causeway crosses the Norris Brook Wetlands at 1.5 miles. Cross Russell St and enter a commercial corridor before crossing Lowell St at 2.2 miles. This brings you to a bench overlooking Crystal Pond on your left. At the edge of the pond are two headstones that describe the deceased as having been accused of witchcraft. Enter the woods, then cross a causeway between a large marsh. The trail travels underneath Johnson St where it turns north off the old rail bed.

Note; The old rail bed is now blocked by I-95, requiring a detour.

This brings you to the Lt. Ross Park parking lot at 2.9 miles.

On-Road Eastern & Western Sections Connector:

Designs are underway to close this gap which includes building a bridge over Route 1. See the red dots on the Map Above.

On-Road Eastern & Western Sections Connector; [Re-zeroing Mileage] This connector is on-road (narrow sidewalks available) and is not recommended for kids on bikes. From the Lt. Ross Park parking lot; Head North out the entrance to Johnson St and turn right. Traffic along this road is medium to low. There is no shoulder and a narrow sidewalk. Bear right along Lowell St, a high volume road. Again, a narrow sidewalk is available, however, a better sidewalk is available on the opposite side of the street. A slight hill takes you up past the Route 1 on-ramp then downhill where you travel underneath Route 1. Along the right side of Lowell St there is no sidewalk or shoulder. I recommend utilizing the left side of the street which has a sidewalk. 

Note; Just before you travel underneath I-95after 1 mile look left to spot a bench. Here, the Peabody Rail Trail heads north through a tunnel underneath I-95 . See: Border to Boston Trail .

After traveling underneath I-95 you'll pass by the Temple Bethel Cemetery. A narrow sidewalk runs along the right. Turn right down Peabody Rd. This is a residential road. After you cross over a culvert you'll come to the Independence Greenway; Western Section after 1.5 miles.

Independence Greenway; Eastern Section:

Starting from Peabody Road; [Re-zeroing Mileage] The paved Independence Greenway; Western Section continues East along the old rail bed. The trail follows Proctor Brook and a small marsh along your left. You come alongside Lowell St for a bit before traveling along Marble Meadows Conservation Area. At 1 mile the trail utilizes the sidewalk along Lowell St. Use the cross-light to cross Prospect St, then turn left and use the cross-light to cross Lowell St back to the paved trail. The trail travels behind residential backyards before ending at the Lehey Clinic parking lot after 1.5 miles, next to Route 128. If you continue straight along the road you'll come to the North Shore Mall.

Note; Future construction will extend the trail East where you'll cross over the Yankee Division Hwy, then back to the old rail bed where the trail will continue East along Proctor Brook to downtown Peabody. Slated for construction in 2024. See Map Below.

The left graphic shows a birds eye view of the project section that connects Essex Center Drive, the Route 128 underpass, and Northshore Road via a 10 foot shared use pathway with two 5 foot bidirectional bike lanes and two 2-foot buffers on either side.

A MassDOT slide from a virtual public meeting illustrates the planned route of the Independence Greenway trail project from Northshore Road near Route 128 to Endicott Street, along the banks of Proctor Brook. To avoid wetland impacts, part of this segment will be built on a boardwalk.

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