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Danvers Rail Trail follows the historical Newburyport Railroad that used to carry goods and passengers between Danvers and Boston in the late 1800s. The abandoned corridor extends just over 5 miles from Peabody north through the heart of Danvers and on to State Route 97 at the Wenham town line, where it meets the Topsfield Linear Common and Wenham Rail-Trail. On the trail’s southern end, you can also connect to Peabody’s Independence Greenway.
About half a mile from the trail, you can visit the Choate Farm Conservation Area, established in the early 20th century and now featuring a peach orchard, open grasslands, places to picnic and woodland trails. Be sure to check out the Danvers Swampwalk, an elevated boardwalk across a large wetland area with observation platforms to enjoy the natural surroundings; reach it by going north on the rail-trail.
Signage along the route is planned to commemorate and share the importance of the railway to the surrounding towns. The rail-trail is still being developed so expect rough gravel and dirt surfaces.
The trail is easily accessible at the southern trailhead behind the Danvers Indoor Sports arena (105R Anderson Street) just off SR 114 near the intersection with I-95. Parking is available in the arena parking lot. About half a mile from the trail you can also park at the Choate Farm Conservation Area (401 Locust Street). Mid-trail, you'll find a parking lot on Hobart Street, just south of Maple Street in downtown Danvers.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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