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The Border to Boston Trail connects the communities of West Peabody, Peabody, Danvers, Topsfield, and Boxford in northeastern Massachusetts. The long-term goal for the trail is to continue it north to the New Hampshire border and south to the Boston suburbs, hence the trail’s name. When complete, the trail will span 28 miles.
The railroad that originally served the corridor from Peabody to Topsfield was built in the 1850s. It provided passenger service until 1959 and freight service until 1977. The corridor lay dormant until construction of the trail began in 2006, and it now serves as part of the East Coast Greenway, a connected network of trails that, when complete, will stretch from Maine to Florida.
Starting on its southern end at the border between Peabody and Danvers, this section of the Border to Boston Trail is known locally as the Danvers Rail Trail. Heading northeast, you will enjoy a quiet, somewhat wooded journey in a suburban atmosphere along a crushed-stone pathway dotted with wildflowers.
After riding 1.3 miles, you will come to Pine Street; if you turn right here and travel one block, you can visit the historical Rebecca Nurse Homestead and a reproduction of the Salem Village Meetinghouse to learn about the Salem witch trials. Rebecca Nurse was found guilty of witchcraft and hanged in 1692. The home and meetinghouse are open May–November.
From Pine Street, you have another 3.3 miles of riding before your next major attraction, the SwampWalk. Dismount if riding and enjoy a 0.3-mile stroll across boardwalks that take you on an immersive journey into the heart of the Wenham Great Swamp. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles, frogs, ducks, fox, deer, and turkeys. The horseshoe-shaped SwampWalk will deposit you back on the main trail.
Continue north and cross the Topsfield border, where the trail segment is now called the Topsfield Linear Common. In 1.3 miles from the SwampWalk, you’ll see an opportunity to hop on another trail off to the right. The 2-mile Grand Wenham Canal Path offers a scenic and peaceful side excursion along a canal built in 1917. Note that the Topsfield section permits equestrian use, though the Danvers section does not.
North of Wenham Road, the suburban trail transitions to a more wooded and secluded experience, and you’ll come across hiking trails that connect to the main trail. After crossing Washington Street, you only have 2.4 miles to go. In this final leg, the width of the path narrows and the surface becomes packed dirt, so this section is better suited for bikes with wider tires. The trail ultimately dead-ends as it approaches I-95.
The starting point on Lowell St. does not have parking. To reach Danvers Indoor Sports, which offers the nearest parking spot to the trail’s southern end, take I-95 S to Exit 50 and merge onto US 1 S/Newbury St./Newburyport Turnpike. In 2.8 miles exit onto MA 114 E/Andover St. toward Peabody. Head 0.5 mile east on MA 114, and turn right onto the unnamed street before the gas station. Danvers Indoor Sports is in the back of the commercial complex. Access the trail by going behind the building. The beginning of the trail is less than a mile away from the parking lot. From I-95 N, take Exit 47A for MA 114, and head 0.5 mile east. Turn right onto the unnamed street before the gas station, and follow the directions above to access the trail.
There is no parking at the northern endpoint either. The closest parking is available on Park St. between Main St. and Summer St., 2.5 miles from the trail’s terminus. To reach the parking lot from I-95, take Exit 50, and head north on US 1. In 2.4 miles, turn left onto S. Main St., and go 0.6 mile. Turn right onto Summer St. From Newbury head south on US 1 about 10 miles, and turn right onto High St. In 0.2 mile, turn left onto Summer St. The trail and the parking lot will be on your left.
Danvers trail is flat (like it was rolled recently) and very well maintained. Packed small cinder/gravel, it was already drained and dry less then 24 hours after a rain. South 2 miles does cross a lot of roads, though crossings are well marked and the cars are polite enough to stop. Personally, I'd skip the southern 2 miles and instead just keep going into the 'Topsfield Linear' trail. Both trails have a lot of sun....they're not very shady so consider that on a hot sunny day. My ride was during the week...very little traffic.
Combined with the Danvers and Peabody trails the result is a lovely ride through woods and wetlands. Plenty of parking at the Topsfield end. The trail is well marked and the street crossings all have crossing lights. The grade is nearly flat for an easy ride!
I walked the Danvers Rail Trail from the Peabody connector past the center of Danvers. Its in pretty good condition, has a stone dust surface, and good signage complete with mileage markers and maps along the way.
The trail runs through mostly industrial or commercial areas. There are crosswalk signals to allow crossing busy streets and the local police enforce it ( they actually pulled someone over when I was trying to cross and the car failed to stop for me )
Its connected at the southern end to a connector to the Peabody Rail Trail around the Lowell Street exit off of Route 1.
We love this trail and normally start in Peabody. Because of an injury we decided to start part way up at Choate Farm which is listed as an access point. It is actually a half mile from the trail over semi rough terrain- horrible for my injury. It would have been nice if a note had been made that it is not a direct access point.
I ride this trail on my road bike often. It is well-maintained, and has active street crossing signals where appropriate. (The town of Danvers really has its act together when it comes to safety.)
As you cross Main Street in downtown Danvers, you will see a handy bicycle shop, Western Cycles, right next to the trail.
About a mile away, heading towards Topsfield, there's a port-o-potty right on the trail behind the Danvers Agway, where there are also tools for working on your bike, as well as an air pump - all this right by a wide open play area, which includes swings for kids, young and old. (Another port-o-potty is being added closer to downtown Danvers, but it has not opened yet.)
As you head from the Danvers Agway, at Hamilton Rd, along the trail towards Topsfield you are immediately plunged in a very pleasant tree-lined/shaded rail trail that will take you by a very quiet, scenic and large swamp. There is also an off-shoot walkway which is presently being reconstructed/raised, since beaver activity has caused higher water levels, despite the current drought!
This trail will take you into and past downtown Topsfield, where there is another bicycle shop, and further down there is another port-o-potty.
As I mentioned, the packed gravel trail is well maintained, and is a pleasure to use.
We did park at the Indoor Sports Arena, and around the back, there was an entrance onto the trail.
Trail is stone dust over hard-packed earth, an easy surface for a hybrid biycle to navigate. It is very well marked with maps at intervals that tell you where you are on the trail.
Trail had other users, but not over-busy on the last weekend in August on a sunny, breezy day.
Didn't have a chance to do the Swamp Walk or check out Choate Farm; will save it for next time!
We accessed this trail from the Danvers Rail Trail to the south, and frankly, I couldn't tell where Danvers ended and Topsfield began, it was so seamless. Perhaps it was at the road crossing. Very scenic trail, hard packed earth with stone dust, in some places worn away. At the northern end, trail peters off into a hard earth footpath, just wide enough for one bike. But the grass is mowed and the trail is still maintained so we followed to the end, close to Route 95. Trail has great maps placed at intervals, showing the trail, and where you are on it. I will definitely be going back.
I took the trail to a job interview I had on rt114. I only traveled the first few miles. It was great alternative to the dangers of getting hit by a car on my bike and it was a straight and more direct route for where I was going! I have a mountain bike with narrow slick tires and I had a smooth ride on the crushed stone.
It is a well maintained hardback trail with helpful mileage markers. If we do the ride again, I think we'd skip the first 2 miles on the Danvers - the trail surface is good, but the scenery is not interesting and the road crossings are many in that portion. From mile 2.0 to the Wenham line around mile 4.3, the scenery is beautiful. Continuing onto the Topsfield Linear is seamless and well worth it.
We continued seamlessly onto a relatively short portion of the Topsfield Linear after riding north from mile 0 the Danvers Rail Trail en route to the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Both trails have good hard pack gravel and with the exception of a very short (0.1 mi) ride along busy Route 97 to reach quiet Perkins Row it was an excellent way to bike to Audubon. One mile on Perkins Row takes one to the Audubon entrance. If we do the ride again, I think we'd skip the first 2 miles on the Danvers - the trail surface is good, but the scenery is not interesting and the road crossings are many in that portion.
I drove her from the Residence Inn in Danvers Ma about 6 miles. Jogged on the trail for .25 miles to the rail trail. Signs on the trail were excellent. Ran in both directions on the rail trail and did a super tempo run in an excellent surface. Can't wait to return on my next visit to Ma. run! Friendly runners, hikers and casual bikers.
My husband and I started this trail last weekend at Lowell street Peabody. The first thing we came upon in less than 5 minutes was a baby deer looking us square on!! Beautiful. The trail was a little gravelly for about 1/2 Mile and then evened out into a very nice packed gravel. We loved every minute of it. We came upon the Danvers wenham swamp walk and spent about 45 minutes here before continuing on to Topsfield. After crossing route 1 we decided to turn around and head back. The signs were amazingly helpful and nice placement of benches if needed. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful space so close to home and easily accessible . This will be a frequent spot for us for sure. Also enjoyed the Peabody trail a few weeks ago but at 3 miles was a bit too short for a leisurely ride for a few hours.
Great Sunday walk on our fall stay-cation. Plenty of dunkin donuts around for iced drinks after 3 mile walk. Flat narrow crushed stone was wide enough in both directions. Plenty of family bikers, small and tall, couteous and friendly!
Parking? REALLY? We found 4 spaces at RT 97 crossing only so pulled the truck on shoulder.
Side trail to Grand Canal wasn't marked! Found it when a dog got loose and made a run for the swamp.
Turtles, heron, snakes, chipmunk visible. Planes overhead.
WAS RIDING THE TRAIL ON WEDNSDAY JULY 3 ANS AS ALLWAYS A VERY ENJOYABLE RIDE BUT WHAT MADE IT REALLY NICE WAS THERE WAS A BUNCH OF WILDLIFE I SAW THREE RABBITS AND A BUNCH OF CHIPMUNKS IT IS NICE TO SEE THE WILD LIFE COMING BACK WHICH MAKES THE RIDE EVEN MORE ENJOYABLE.
i have ridden this tril several times statring at lowell st in peabody and ending at the byfield line is a very nice scenic trail has some inclines coming north from peabody but very manageable trail is packed gravel and is easy to ride scenery is terrific! only two things at market street in downtown danvers traffic is very heavy be careful when crossing this st. and there are few drop offs that could use a railing.
trail is very well maintained and over all a pleasure to ride
The Danvers Rail Trail certainly is one of Danvers major gems. Between the interpretive signs, the scenery, and even the little wooden road name signs, the Danvers rail trail exceeds all expectations of what a trail can be.
I am not sure that greg724 and I was on this same trail. I have no idea what he is talking about. I have been on over a 100 trails mostly from Va to New England and this is not a long trail but a very nice trail. Last of all this guy has no idea how great a group that Rails to Trails really is. When I read such a bad review like this it makes me very upset. Greg724 if it is as bad as you think it is go and help do something about it. I rode this trail last fall in earl November and I thought it was a great ride.
I have been enjoying this trail since it opened but haven't been on it for a few months. I went out walking yesterday and was shocked and saddened to see all the natural habitat along the trail had been destroyed. Gone along with it are all the small animals, birds, flowers, and pleasant spring time smells that made you feel like you were out in nature. From growing up in this area I know that the wild grapes and blueberry bushes that used to line the trail have been there for 50 years at least. So sad to see it all destroyed. I also know that the railroad easement only extends a few feet from from the center of the trail, so I was shocked to see the land stripped for such a wide swath in each direction. I spoke to a land owner along the trail who started to cry when I asked about it. Now the trail is just a wide open, scar across the landscape. It is also unbearably windy, devoid of wildlife and much less safe, as the thorny tangled vegetation provided an effective natural barrier to human predators. Now Instead of watching cute rabbits and chipmunks scurry through the undergrowth, enjoying the scent of flowers or identifying bird calls, the only thing you can see, hear or smell are cars from nearby roadways. Very sad and very unimpressed with rails to trails. If I still lived in this town I would be very concerned about the qualifications of the conservation committee that is supposed to be keeping an eye on these things.
Took this ride from Topsfield Center to Lowell Street. Overall, it was a great ride and the limestone surface was perfect. It is always a good thing to be out on a bike trail in December. The only thing that keeps me from giving this 5 stars is the fact that some person (or people) apparently have decided that the I-95 overpass in Peabody is a swell place to toss out the old box TV. There were 5 or 6 scattered about!
Just over a year ago on a trip to the North Shore I did this trail and stated that the surface needed some work and it sure got it as now from end to end it has a great lime stone surface that is in great shape. The people of Danvers should be proud of this trail, great signage, mile markers each and every tenth of a mile, park benches and much more. There are a number of Street crossings but there all marked and I would say this is a family friendly trail. You can now go from Lowell St in Peabody to Rt I95 in Topsfield.
I did this trail a little over a year ago and like before it is a great trail. You can now go up though Topsfield and go all the way to I93, it is a little rough as it was only cut back this past summer and dose not have a good surface yet. The great part of this trail is that you can now to go all the way to Lowell street in Peabody, just over ten miles each way. The group that has put this trail together has done a great job and the crossings at Topsfield Rd and US 1 are two of the very best high volume intersection I have crossed in the past three years and about 5000 miles of Trails and over 50 different trails
Started journey from North Shore Mall. Once off Lowell St. The trail was quite enjoyable and the section through Wenham/ Topsfield was very scenic. I made it to the section that was no longer gravel and packed stone dust but field grass and it was a more difficult ride, can't wait for that to be completed. Overall a very nice and enjoyable journey.
Great to experience the local scenery around the Ipswich river on thru Danvers. Looking forward to when the trail is paved north towards Boxford, Groveland? Haverhill? The large station like building in Topsfield should see increased business if the trail opens up to the north. wouldn't a small Cafe be great in that location?
Fall foliage around the swamp walk was spectacular, the green swamp water was amazingly beautiful, blending with browns, reds, small blue flowers etc..
From the endpoint in Boxford to the Peabody line, what a fun trail. The first few miles from Boxford to Oak Drive in Topsfield are not completed yet, so the single track, bumpy grass path, was a challenge for my wife & I, who enjoy the smooth, paved rail trails we have become so accustomed to. Once into Topsfield proper, we were greeted to a well maintained, hard packed stone dust trail that was a pleasure to bike on. Rolling out of town, we passed behind the Legendary Topsfield Fairgrounds, then into the wetlands where the grackles welcomed us with a rousing rendition of bird chatter. We traversed the Swamp Walk and marveled at the expanse of boardwalk guiding us through such a beautiful and peaceful place. Back on the trail, we continued trough the overhanging archway of golden maples, and onto the Wenham section of rail trail. This short portion of the ride is a little more wooded, with a section carved through a length of rock ledge, providing yet another great photo op. We soon came across the Danvers Rail Trail marker, and not knowing if the trail ahead had been completed yet, we decided to find out for ourselves. This 4.3 mile of trail also continues with hard packed stone dust along its' length and is an easy ride to its' end. Though quiet and somewhat scenic at its' beginning, it slowly blends itself into the back streets and neighborhoods of the town of Danvers. One minor set back was the number of road crossings encountered and how close to one another they were. The intersections could use a little more attention to the curbings and bike trail crossing signage. Other than that, nice job, nice trail. Oh yes, and for you ice cream lovers, check out the stand at the Pine Street crossing. Total trail length, 9.2 miles.
We were looking for a trail, close to home, to enjoy an afternoon of foliage and fresh air, and so settled on the Topsfield Linear Common & Wenham Rail Trails. I knew they would also connect with the Danvers Rail Trail, but after reading its' reviews, was not sure what to expect. Much to our surprise, the Danvers Rail Trail turned out to be a very pleasant ride. Yes, there are many road crossings which could use more work, and there is one bridge we crossed that has a drop of ten to fifteen feet on either side with no safety railings, but other than that, the hard packed crushed stone path was easy to travel and the mile markers gave us a sense of accomplishment as we peddled by.
For you ice cream lovers, Somewhere near the Pine street crossing you'll find a little stand tucked in along side the roadway. The trail continued over busy route 114 and past the Peabody line, but there the crushed stone path ended and a courser stone trail continued which we found quite bumpy, so here we turned and headed for home.
From the Danvers Indoor Sports Arena headed north, the first 3.3 miles or so are not the greatest, but definitely doable on a hybrid. Lots of street crossing. Somewhere in that fourth mile, just after crossing Chestnut Street, there are two spots that are full of the large stones and even a sign that says "road closed". Walk over the stones with your bike and you will be rewarded with the most immaculate rail trail surface I have ever experienced. Beautiful trail!!! Mostly because it has been freshly resurfaced. More important, it keeps going into Topsfield for another 2.7 miles! Also, note that at the southern part of the trail, it continues at least another half mile south on a less-smooth trail all the way under the Rt 95, coming out at Lowell Street, which may actually be the best place to park as getting to the Danvers Indoor Sports Arena isn't the easiest.
Trail is very flat and straight. In several places the trail is under construction for 500 feet or more, with large broken stones underfoot (and not passable with a bike) as of 7/20/2013.
I'm sure that after the layer of stone dust has been applied (this summer??) it will be a decent, though not terribly scenic trail to ride. Right now, it is pretty rough with uneven gravel/dirt mixture, which even with the fairly wide tires of a hybrid, made for an uncomfortable ride. At points, the vegetation is encroaching from the sides of the trail. The trail was flooded out at Wenham St., forcing me back onto the roads, which wasn't a bad thing.
I re-joined the Wenham/Topsfield sections of the trail (north of Rt. 97) which did have stone dust and provided a much better quality ride through to the end in Topsfield Common. Came back to the starting point at Danvers Indoor Sports using all roads (97/35/Hobart etc).
I'll try it again next year when hopefully the condition is improved. Until then, there are too many better trails in the area to ride. For now, the Danvers Rail Trail is not yet ready for prime time.
An 18 mile round trip ride can be accomplished by starting at Lowell St. (no trail signs) in Peabody (Bonkers/CVS) at the southern end and continue through Danvers, Wenham while ending at Topsfield center at the northern end. Danvers has added crosswalks and fixed the muddy area after crossing Wenham St. After passing Choate Farm is the Danvers-Wenham Swamp walkway which loops around the Swamp. Trail continues across Rte97, passing along the Ipswich River and Topsfield fairgrounds, across Rte1 ending at Topsfield Center. All Rte97 and Rte1 crossings have crosswalks with solar powered flashing lights reminding drivers to stop. Best ridden with fat tires while the northern end tends to have a smoother surface. Overall a great ride with many food establishments in Danvers Center to satisfy those tastebuds.
The trail is great for walking, biking and cross country skiing from the Rte 97 entrance all the way to Danvers Agway for a round trip distance around 6.5 miles. The wooden nature bridges over the Ipswich River are now complete and the views are awesome. There is a large wooden deck you can sit, read, picnic and meditate on in full sun in the good weather. It's a place where you can clear your head, find some peace in your day, get away from technology. Put your phone on silent/vibrate and enjoy the quiet.
The scenery was gorgeous and the ground was even and good to ride a bike on. the only thing that was a bit stressful and not well thought out was some of the road crossings on the busy streets. The curbs were not lowered and there wasn't a pedestrian crossing.
Finally, I had the chance to walk the trail with my two dogs, Shadow (husky) and Murphy (coon hound lab mix). We began our trek at the entrance before McKinnon's Market in Danvers and headed North to the very end at 97. A beautiful Sunday afternoon. There was quite a good mix of families, bikes, dog walkers, runners, and walkers. It took me 2.5 hours - I believe it was because I stopped to talk to good friends from church I saw riding their bikes. And then the board walk de-toured me a bit, That is going to be lovely when finished. And chatted with assorted friendly travelers along the way - Oh ya - and the fall I took half hour into the trek. My dogs crossed my path, and not wanting to step on them I stepped over, they crossed again so I ended up leaping over and landing on my knees and arm. X-rays showed no broken bones, thank God, just stretched tends and muscle - but with all of the travelers that afternoon - Kind of funny no one was there when I took the leap over the dogs. I agree about crushed stone on the path - not to pave it because we need to have good drainage - crushed stone would be better for the dogs paws to walk on - the larger stones are sharp for the animals.
I did this nice little trail on a trip to New England. I did it on my Road Bike and because of the great surface I had a great ride. There is a very nice light at Topsfield Rd that lets Drivers coming down this road know that there are people about to cross the road. This is a family friendly trail as it is flat, straight and not to long. The crossing at Rt 1 is a little tricky but is manageable. The high light of the this trail for me was the building that looks like an old Train Station at Washington St. There are just a few parking spaces at Topsfield Rd end but a large number at the Washington St end.
On a recent trip to New I stopped off and did this Trail. I will start off by saying the surface really needs some work. You get hard packed to bone jarring rocks to sand. I did this on an old Mt Bike with a town & county tire. I would not do this trail no a Road bike as it is just to rough. It dose have a nice canopy most of the way. There are a lot of Street Crossings that are well marked from the trail and also from the street. There are mile markers every 1/4 mile. Because of the surface I do not think this is a great family trail.
A compacted stone dust surface was completed in the 4th quarter of 2011 from Washington St. Topsfield through the Wenham section to the Danvers town line where a rougher stone surface continues on through to Peabody. Danvers expects to install a compacted stone dust surface this summer (2012).
After passing the Topsfield Fairgrounds heading south the route becomes quite scenic passing over the Ipswich River and through the Wenham Swamp which is part of Audubon's Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. A good area to watch birds and beavers.
I run or bike this trail starting at Rte 97 and heading towards Danvers Square. The trail is nice, but REALLY needs to be paved. The crushed stone and dirt (and mud) are prohibitive to everyone enjoying the trail. It would be much more accessible and used if it were paved. Also, some parts are dangerous if you are walking or bike riding with small kids. There are steep drop offs and in one section, near the highschool, you go over a bridge=type structure, but there's a good 20'+ drop on either side without any fencing! The trail is pretty and it's great to have, but paving it would be great--I've been ankle deep in mud there! Safety issues have to be addressed as well. Plus some markers as you cross roads (like at the AGWAY store)--hard to find the trail start at the AGWAY. You have to walk through some woods before you see a sign for the trail head.
I've been on the bikeway in Peabody numerous times and it was great to see lots of different people on it--those in wheelchairs, electric scooters, bikes, running, etc. It's much more community-friendly than the Danvers one.
Couple of weeks ago parked at Hobart St Danvers Ma - looked liked an old station - walked south to Walmart on the trail and then back to Hobart St - really enjoyed the walk - more walkers than bike riders. Couple of days ago parked at Hobart St again and walked north to Choate Farm - very wet before Choate Farm - needs a little work. Today parked on Rte 97(alot of people do) walked south to the Swamp Walk which is really nice and then back north into Wenham for a little while - noticed alot of beaver dams, ducks and birds. Trail has been extended into Topsfield Center(across old Rte 1) - plan on doing that next weekend. Very nice trail with nice scenery.
Trail starts at Washington St. proceeds past the post office, crosses Rte1, past Topsfield Fair grounds, along the Ipswich River, over the river on an old railroad bridge, past a marshy area, crosses Rte97, passing more marsh, past the Choate Farm and continues on the Danvers rail trail. Trail becomes secluded after crossing Rte1. Topsfield end starts out as very hard packed gravel then transitions to stone dust and then to untreated railbed (after crossing Rte97) minus the crushed stones. Eventually came to a very muddy section in Danvers (approximately 4 miles) and turned around. Great riding on mountain or hybrid bikes with plenty of views of the Ipswich River and surrounding marsh. Expect plenty of birds in the warmer months. Compliments to Topsfield, Wenham and Danvers on there efforts.
Accessed trail from Collins St, rode <1mile south, trail ends behind Walmart, no access at the south end. Headed north crossing Maple St and Rte 62, turned around near Danvers high school. Based upon the trail description there was likely another mile to the Choate Farm Conservation area. Trail surface is a mix of gravel and half inch stone. Little bumpy on a comfort bike with fat tires, although another rider did pass by with a hybrid bike. Saw more walkers than bikers, even passed a baby carriage. Little disappointed that many street crossings had no crosswalks although people did stop.
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