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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.
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