WACHUSETT AQUEDUCT TRAIL:
SUDBURY RESERVOIR TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: March 25, 2021
Length: Wachusett Aqueduct; 9 miles
Berlin-Northborough [Western Section]; 4.5 miles
Northborough [Central Section]; 1.8 miles
Southborough (Sudbury Reservoir Trail) [Eastern Section]; 5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate. Flat hard packed grass berm w/single track. Hilly in spots. Mt Bike recommended. Best time to ride the Aqueduct is in the Spring before the grass gets thick. Avoid after heavy rains.
For the Berlin Section [Western End]; Starting from North Brook parking lot; From I-495 take exit 67 to Route 62 west. After 3+ miles cross the RR tracks and the parking lot is on your left. To access the trail travel left up Derby Rd. You'll come to the green gate and start of the trail on your left after 0.2 miles. Note; You can also access the Lester Ross Dam Loop Trail from this parking lot. See Map Below.
For the Northborough Section [Central Section]; Starting from Casey Field parking lot; From I-495 take exit 63B to Route 20 west. After 2+ miles turn left on E Main St. Follow 0.7 miles to Casey Field on your left.
For the Southborough Section (Sudbury Reservoir Trail) [Eastern End]; Starting from Northboro Road; From I-495 take exit 62 to Simarando Rd and head left. Turn left on Northboro Rd and travel 1.2 miles to off road parking on your right by the pumping station. Trail crosses road just ahead.
The Aqueduct Trail System is an ongoing collaboration between the Mass Water Resources Authority and Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The focus is to identify and develop a connected trail system along the four aqueducts (Cochituate, Sudbury, Weston, Wachusett). As currently proposed, the trail system, when complete, will total 67 miles along three main corridors running roughly east west between Chestnut Hill and the Wachusett Reservoir in Berlin. Sections of the Cochituate Aqueduct Trail, Sudbury Aqueduct Trail, Weston Aqueduct Trail and Wachusett Aqueduct Trail have been opened to the public throughout various municipalities. See; Cochituate Aqueduct Reservoir , Sudbury Aqueduct Trail & Weston Aqueduct Trail .
The Wachusett Aqueduct Trail follows the path of the old Wachusett Aqueduct. Opened in 1905, the 9 mile aqueduct extends from the Wachusett Reservoir passing through Clinton, Berlin, and Northborough to the Sudbury Reservoir in Southborough. The Cosgrove Aqueduct, also called the Cosgrove Tunnel, forms part of the water supply system for the communities of the greater Boston. It is a man-made tunnel connecting the eastern end of the Wachusett Reservoir to the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough. The tunnel came on line in 1965, replacing the Wachusett Aqueduct as the main conduit used to deliver water from the Wachusett Reservoir.
I don't believe the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail is accessible in Clinton where the Aqueduct begins at the Wachusett Reservoir and travels through tunnels. Here you may access the Mass Central Rail Trail; Barre-Clinton .
Starting from Derby Road in Berlin; Travel past the green gate down a grass trail to reach the Wachusett Aqueduct (I believe the Aqueduct travels underneath Derby Rd heading north). Here the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail travels atop the the Aqueduct along a grass trail. A single track makes the going easier. To your left will be a RR Line just below a dyke for the Lester G Ross Dam. See Map Below for the Lester Ross Dam Loop Trail that travels atop the dyke. This open corridor follows the power lines. Pass by a stone Aqueduct Gatehouse after 0.5 miles before a sharp turn takes you across Linen St. Cross Jones Rd at 1.5 miles, followed quickly by Crosby Rd. Cross Belleview Rd at 2 miles and cross into Northborough. Travel up to and across Whitney St at 2.9 miles. Here the trail travels downhill underneath I-290 bringing you to some RR tracks. Caution; You'll need to carry your bike over the tracks. Come to an entrance road after 3.5 miles. Here an on-road gap of 0.5 miles starts. Head right out to and across Bearfoot Rd. Caution no crosswalk. Head left, the right along Colburn St and take your first right along Rice Ave. You'll pick up the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail again on your right. The grass trail travels atop the Aqueduct along an open corridor before returning to Rice Ave after 4.5 miles. On your right is the Edmond Hill Woods parking lot. Wachusett Aqueduct Trail Map Board.
Note; The trail continues across the road, however, as of April 2021 it is closed at the Wachusett Aqueduct Bridge (The Bridge is currently closed and fenced off).
To detour around this gap travel on-road down Allen St, crossing Hudson St. To your right is the spectacular stone arched Wachusett Aqueduct Bridge that crosses the Assabet River. Continue up Allen St to E Main St and head right. You'll pick up the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail on your right after 0.4 miles. Down this road on your left is the Casey Field parking lot in Northborough.
Starting from Casey Field parking lot in Northborough [Central Section]; Head right up E Main St along a narrow paved path to reach the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail on your right. Head right past the green gate along a grass lined berm. When you approach Route 20 after 0.2 miles bear left down and underneath Route 20. This open path follows a power line, with the occasional tree root. Cross Maple St at 0.5 miles where you travel past Bartlett Pond on your right. Come to a green gate on your left at 0.8 miles.
Note; If you continue straight the trail ends at a culvert, however, nice access to the pond.
Head past the gate up to Bartlett St and head right to a cross-walk. Return to the Aqueduct past another green gate at 0.9 miles. I haven't checked out this next section as the path was not mowed. It travels atop the Aqueduct following the power lines for about another 0.9 miles before ending at Bartlett Street. I don't believe the trail is developed past this point and is restricted because it crosses RR tracks. Gap between the next section in Southborough.
Starting from Ward Road [Eastern End]; Three trails w/markers follow this route. The blue Aqueduct Trail, the gold Sudbury Reservoir Trail and the rectangular Boroughs Loop Trail. Head past the gate along a gravel road. This brings you to a bridge over the Wachusett Open Channel at 0.2 miles.
Heading West; The Wachusett Aqueduct Trail follows along the southern side of the Wachusett Open Channel along a grass path w/single track. Mt Bike recommended. Best time to ride the Aqueduct is in the Spring before the grass gets thick. Avoid after heavy rains. After 0.6 miles you come to a stone Water Gate? Looks similar to a Lock. This was as far as I traveled. The trail continues west another 0.4 miles to the John J Carroll Water Treatment Plant. May be restricted past the Plant? You would then come to a service road after another 0.5 miles. Past here, RR tracks block the Aqueduct out to Bartlett Street.
Heading East; This section of the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail is also referred to as the Sudbury Reservoir Trail. The grass trail w/single track follows the Wachusett Open Channel underneath I-495 and out to Northboro Rd after 0.4 miles. Cross the road and continue past the green gate along the north side of the Channel. The trail is rooty in spots. Cross Northboro Rd followed by Route 30 at 1 mile. Stairs across road take you back down to trail. Mileage Markers begin here and are located every 1/4 mile. Come to Lynbrook Rd where the trail now follows the south side of the Channel. Come to a bridge across the Channel and a kiosk for the Beals Preserve at 1.4 miles. Come To Deerfoot Rd at 2 miles. Small dam here. Beautiful stone buildings (Burnett Mansion grounds) across the Channel. Informational signs. Bear left at the open field and come to Parkerville Rd. Head left across the Channel then turn right into Sharp Field (parking) at 2.3 miles where the trail follows the gravel road. Bear right back along the Sudbury Reservoir. Cross a small bridge, then skirt right around a sports field out to Middle Rd. Head right around a small inlet and the trail continues on your right following the power lines. Up on your left is the Southborough Rural Cemetery. Come to Route 85 where you'll find a Map Board and parking at 3.1 miles. Head right to a crosswalk (Caution high speed traffic) where the trail continues along the power line above the Reservoir. The trail then bears right off the power line.
Note; This is the roughest section of the trail with rocks and lots of tree roots. Narrow.
You will pass by a scenic rock outcropping jutting into the Reservoir. Nice spot to take a break. You emerge on Partridge Hill Rd after 3.4 miles. Head right down to White Bagley Rd. Head left.
Note; The narrow, rough dirt trail parallels White Bagley Rd to Route 30 along this section. If biking I would ride on-road (low traffic).
The trail returns to the road a couple of times to bypass small inlets. The third time to cross over some RR tracks. Head right through a Red Pine Forest where the trail heads left along the grassy power line. Emerge at Route 30 after 4.5 miles. Map Board.
Note; This is the current end of the Wachusett Aqueduct Trail. If you continue right on-road along Route 30 (narrow shoulder) across the Reservoir you'll come to Central St after 4.8 miles. Future plans call for the trail to head left up along the Reservoir and back out to Stony Brook Rd/Boston Rd (Route 30). The proposed Peninsula Trail (part of the Weston Aqueduct Trail) would be 1.6-miles and will serve as a future connection to Framingham’s Weston Aqueduct Trail. See; Weston Aqueduct Trail .
The Sudbury Reservoir Trail continues across Route 30 (Caution; No crosswalk or light). Head right and pick up the grassy, rooty trail as it follows the power line along the Reservoir. Come to a small peninsula that juts out into the Reservoir and the trail turns inland taking you up to Framingham Rd after 5 miles.
Note; You can return to Ward Road via an on-road route (only 3.3 miles vs. 5 miles). Cross Framingham Rd (Caution; No crosswalk) and travel up East Main St (low traffic) then down across Route 30 and along Main St at 0.5 miles. Places to get refreshments. Scenic route through town (sidewalk available). Pass by Fay School (1866) and pick up a paved path along your left. Come to Deerfoot Rd after 1.4 miles. Past here the path soon ends and the road narrows with no shoulder, so if need be you can rejoin the Sudbury Reservoir Trail left down Deerfoot Rd. After 2.1 miles bear right on Northboro Rd (less traffic) and cross over the Wachusett Open Channel where you may rejoin the Sudbury Reservoir Trail if you wish. Northboro Rd continues right just before I-495. Return to the Wachusett Open Channel after 2.9 miles on-road. Rejoin the Sudbury Reservoir Trail left back to Ward Road after 3.3 miles.
CLICK HERE FOR AQUEDUCT TRAIL SYSTEM MAP
CLICK HERE FOR NORTHBOROUGH SECTION MAP
CLICK HERE FOR EDMOND HILL WOODS TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR LESTER ROSS DAM LOOP TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR SUDBURY RESERVOIR TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR SOUTHBOROUGH TRAILS MAP
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT