A lovely, albeit short, rail-trail in northeastern Massachusetts, the 1.3-mile Amesbury Riverwalk (a.k.a. Powwow Riverwalk) is the first completed section of the Coastal Trails Network, linking the four communities of Amesbury, Salisbury, Newbury and Newburyport along former rail lines. The riverwalk will eventually connect with the Salisbury Point Ghost Train Trail
The Amesbury Riverwalk starts on Water Street in the Lower Mills district of downtown Amesbury. Approaching the trailhead, you'll first see the large Boston & Maine Railroad Depot and then the much smaller Salisbury Point Station, which was built in the 1870s by the rival Eastern Railroad. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the local economy revolved around the carriage building, involving more than 100 businesses, including 26 manufacturing companies. On display outside Salisbury Point Station are historical photographs of the mill yards, the railroad and the 1915 Annual Town Bike Race, showing men riding through Amesbury on high-wheeled bicycles. The trailhead also marks the future site of the Amesbury visitor center and a carriage museum.
The first third of the Riverwalk follows the bank of the scenic Powwow River. Keep watch for the area's abundant wildlife. The Powwow joins the Merrimack River in Amesbury, and both reach to the sea, making them rich habitat for a variety of birds and turtles, as well as beaver, mink and fishers. The trail briefly jogs across a road bridge via a sidewalk before it returns to the main railroad corridor and continues to parallel the river. Then the trail skirts a manufacturing company parking lot and loading dock before returning to a more typical, straight rail-trail route.
The onward trail offers a peaceful walk through wooded areas and neighborhoods, with only two road crossings before reaching the trail's end at Carriagetown Marketplace.
To reach the Amesbury trailhead, take Interstate 95 to Exit 58 for State Route 110 west. Turn right on Elm Street. In 2 miles, turn left on Water Street. The free municipal parking lot is on the left. The trail begins at the bottom of the hill.
To reach the Carriagetown Marketplace trailhead, take I-95 to Exit 58 for Route 110 west. At the second traffic light, turn right into the Carriagetown Marketplace parking lot. The trail starts on the far west end of the lot.