Assabet River Rail-Trail


Assabet River Rail-Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Middlesex
Length: 5.6 miles
Trail end points: Lincoln St. at Highland St. (Marlborough) to Wilkins St. (Hudson) and Sudbury Rd. to SR 62 (Maynard)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015946
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Assabet River Rail-Trail Description

The Assabet River Rail-Trail provides a forested escape from the surrounding urban bustle. Traveling 5.6 miles (with plans to expand it) the trail connects the towns of Hudson and Marlborough and parallels the scenic Assabet River. As of autumn 2012, the trail is in three disconnected sections between Marlborough and Maynard. The trail crosses the Assabet River five times, the last crossing on a refurbished, historical wrought-iron railroad bridge. The 12-foot-wide corridor makes an excellent cycling route—just take care maneuvering between bollards located at the intersection of trails and roads; they are closer together than most.

The trail begins along State Route 62 in Hudson, marked by a restored 1921 blue caboose across the road from an ice-cream store. Look for the trailhead parking area. Passing through downtown Hudson, the trail weaves through the awkward three-way intersection of Villa do Porto Boulevard, Broad Street and the South Street extension.

Returning to the rail corridor, you'll cross a wooden bridge, followed by more trailhead parking on your right. The forested trail here provides a welcome buffer from the surrounding residential and urban landscape. At mile 2.4, you'll cross the Marlborough town line through a tunnel. The onward trail skirts a main road north, passing the Boston Scientific medical research and corporate center before reaching Fitchburg Street. Be careful at this intersection, since there are no bike lanes and the traffic light cycle doesn't allow much time to cross.

Beyond the crossing, there are no bike lanes. Look for the trail sign after the intersection, and you will find yourself leaving the traffic behind. As the path diverges from the road, the adjacent landscaped swathes on both sides of the route shield you from the busy urban environment. Side trails connect to the Assabet along this stretch.

Eventually, the trail will extend uninterrupted to South Acton along the Marlborough Branch Railroad corridor, which connected the Fitchburg and Massachusetts Central railroad lines. The five communities along the corridor are working together to develop the rail-trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Wilkins Street trailhead in Hudson, take Interstate 495 to State Route 62 toward Hudson. Once in town, continue through the rotary to the parking lot on Wilkins Street.

To reach trailhead parking in Marlborough, take I-495 to State Route 20/Granger Boulevard toward Marlborough. Turn left on State Route 85/Bolton Street, left on Union Street then left again on Hudson Street. The parking lot is across from Kelleher Field and Jefferson Street.

Assabet River Rail-Trail Reviews

Nicely maintained trail with good parking at the Hudson trailhead. Not sure why it is called a river trail as any river is difficult to spot. Nice overlook of the reservoir halfway.

I can't believe I've lived in the 'boros for 16 years now and just got around to riding this trail. Given the weekend car traffic around here, it's a great way to enjoy the seasons and your bike without having to worry about getting splattered across the highway. It's gorgeous ride as it meanders through the woods and across the river. As Hudson has become kind of a hipster hangout these days, that end of the trail was a little congested with young families and fitness walkers. But hey, how could you deny anyone a walk in the woods on a beautiful Autumn afternoon? My point is, just don't plan on using the trail for a bicycle time trial in the middle of a nice day; somebody might get hurt and you'll look like an idiot in any event. If you're not in a hurry, the Rail Trail flatbread company in Hudson is a worthwhile stop for a snack and a beer.

A bit urban, like riding through people's backyards, but smooth and easy going. No bugs this time of year.


While there were several streets to cross on this trail (about 7 minor intersections that could be crossed easily and 5 intersections that required the use of a traffic signal to cross), the trail is nice and wide and very well paved. There are some very pretty stretches through the woods. If you start in Hudson, you'll ride uphill most of the way, so the return trip is a breeze!

Very nice and relaxing. Got their last week using car service while I was on a tour in that area and some fresh air was needed. The trees leaves start changing took lots of pics and met really nice people with big smiles on their faces.

This is a small trail that i love to bike on. VEry well maintained and good parking spots.

Lots of street crossing. Ice cream is available on route.

This place is a really great place for a run. If you park at Jefferson street in marlborough, you can run through the most beautiful parts of the trail. It's well maintained and very safe feeling.

I was just there recently..and do not recall seeing any facilities on this trail... though it starts at Hudson and ends at Marlboro so one could probably find facilities somewhere I suppose... anyway. the trail is not very long and pretty nice though there are a fair amount of major road crossings with crosswalk lights... so this was sort of a drawback for me... still a nice trail though... on the weekend there were also a lot of people walking and also walking dogs etc I would probably drive a little further and go to the Nashua trail in Ayer which is longer and less crossings etc.. but quite a bit longer trail at 25 miles round trip. Hudson is only around 10 miles round trip... hope this review helps some...thanks

Does anyone know if there are any handicap accessible restroom facilities at or near this trail?

I recently tried out this bike trail...It was pretty nice...though I did not much like the Hudson downtown crossing, a bit confusing at first to me..once you get past that part the trail is quite nice..and ends up in Marlboro. it is not that long a path but still a nice ride.. its pretty much all wooded with a few open spots here and there... also a few scenic spots.. l liked it quite a bit.... worth a try

Next time I am renting or bringing a bike! We walked and/or ran this trail and it was beautiful. I got the great pictures and we started every day we were there with it.

I googled the park listed and parked directly across from it in the municipal lot. You can link to the trail by going out the lot to the left or the right. The trail itself is clear and well maintained. I saw lots of families, walkers, bikers, and runners but the trail was never crowded. The stops at intersections were a little annoying but no real problem and you never have to worry about riding on the road with heavy traffic. All the busy intersections are well marked and have crossing signals. The trail is mostly paved with a tiny section of about 4 yards being a solid wood bridge. The only reason I say this could be a moderate trail is the distance and small hills, as if you start at the lot listed and complete the trail out and back you will go about 10 miles. And on the way out you will have good trail, mostly slight downhill, trail. Which means the way back will be at a slight incline. Not bad at all, there were children under 10 doing it!, but I mention it for a full description.

i drove from lynn to try this trail and am glad i did very scenic and well maintained the viw from the overlook was out standing and well worth it the people of hudson have done aterrific job of maintaining the trail and should be very proud the only negative thing is there is quite a uphill ride from sharon to marlboro but coming back was great

I started around Vila del Porto and rode 2.5 mi towards Marlborough, then turned around went all the way to the trailhead in Hudson, then back to my car for a total of 7.5 mi. So early in spring there were very few people, and there was quite a bit of leaf clutter on the trail. It's nicely paved and goes through lovely treed sections. Be aware that crossing Rt 85 has a crosswalk, but people do speed along that road. Otherwise, crossings typically have pedestrian lights and are well-marked.

Be also aware that from Hudson to Marlborough there is a relatively steady grade up. It's mostly a low grade, but your legs will get tired going uphill for so long. It's why I started in Hudson: so the ride back would be mostly downhill!

From my home in NE Bolton, I rode the Hudson/Marlboro section both ways and found the 20 mile ride delightful. I will post a picture or 2. Today, noting that the map shows it also in solid red, I set out for the Stow/Maynard part and was very disappointed to find it unpaved at the Sudbury Road entrance. It didn't look very road-bike friendly, so I returned home. A useful improvement to the map would be to have the surface indicated by color, dashed/dotted lines, etc.

A delightful half century:

...which incorporated the two larger currently open sections of the Assabet River Rail Trail (and the Reformatory Branch Rail Trail and the Minuteman Rail Trail).

The section of the ARRT between Maynard and Stow is 2.4 miles. It's part of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, and it offers a few glimpses of the river through the thick foliage and some small open areas that lead to the bank of the river. The trailhead is on Winter St. in Maynard, but it is not clearly marked. In fact, it looks like you're going onto someone's dirt driveway for a while. As you get further into the Refuge, the old railbed has been widened and turned into a dirt road. You'll see some cars driving along in this section. After this wider section the railbed narrows again to a one-lane dirt road, and it's in reasonable shape for a hybrid or mountain bike, but there are a few muddy spots, and the path can be a little overgrown. It is very passable, though, to Sudbury Rd. in Stow, where there is a locked gate to keep cars out (although cars can get in from the other side).

The railbed continues across Sudbury Rd., but it's well overgrown and didn't seem passable at this time (May 27, 2012), and I think the rails and ties are still in place at some point. From Sudbury Rd. I went on-road to pick up the paved section of the ARRT in Hudson (which people have written about in other posts).

The 5.6 mile length of this trail makes it perfect for a short afternoon ride. Excellent surface of fairly new pavement on the entire trail. Fairly scenic with a few very nice vistas, and rest areas with benches at several points. Just be aware the the trail is downhill all the way from Marlborough to Hudson. I started in Marlborough, and the grade didn't seem that steep as I was heading out. On the the return trip, I realized that even a moderate grade can be pretty demanding when you're climbing it for 5 miles without any level breaks. Maybe next time I'll start in Hudson, and get my work out on the way out, then enjoy the downhill coast on the return trip.

The friends-of-the-trails for the Assabet River Rail Trail is

You need to make sure you type your address in the space provided before getting the directions to the trail

Rode the trail on my bike yesterday and it was a nice ride. Parked in Hudsn in the Wilkins St lot and rode it to the end in Marlboro. It was approx 10.5 miles round trip. The trail is well marked and somewhat easy to follow except for 1 intersection when you stop and have to try to figure out which way to go. One section was under repair and had to ride in the street but not for long and you were back on the trail. It's a well kept and clean trail. Would ride it again.

"I've been trying to get to the Assabet River Rail Trail website for several days now and get a error message that the DNS server cannot be found. What's happening??


"Where is the website for this trail? When I click on the link I get advertisemet? I want to see the website...

Rode from Hudson to Marlboro & return. One bridge just about finished and another across the river on Rt.62 they just started the work on. Nice tunnel under Rt.209 and some very nice views. All nicley paved. Will be great when it is finished to Acton.

We live in Marlboro and riding from our house to the trail makes it a nice ride for after work. My only complaint is that people walking need to make sure they don't walk 5 or 6 across blocking both sides of the trail. Stay to the right...

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