Hanover Branch Rail Trail


Hanover Branch Rail Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Plymouth
Length: 2.6 miles
Trail end points: Monroe Street (Abington) and near Market Street and Manzella Court (Rockland)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7163658
Trail activites: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Hanover Branch Rail Trail Description

In the southeastern outskirts of Boston, the Hanover Branch Rail Trail connects the communities of Abington and Rockland. (Locally, the trail’s east and west halves are sometimes referred to as the Abington Rail Trail and the Rockland Rail Trail.) In the future, trail managers hope to extend the rail-trail west to Hanover.

The rail-trail follows the former corridor of the Hanover Branch Line, built in the 1860s by E. Y. Perry, a Hanover businessman who produced tacks. The railroad originally ran between Hanover Four Corners and North Abington before becoming part of the Old Colony Line in 1887. In the 1940s and '50s self-propelled cars for commuters ran on the tracks.

Much of the trail is forested and wildlife sightings are common.



Parking and Trail Access

A parking lot is available in Rockland at the intersection of Union Street and E. Water Street.

Hanover Branch Rail Trail Reviews

This is not a well maintained trail. The entry point from Hanover consists of a quarter mile over tracks which were never removed, so be careful if running and don't even try to ride. Once you get the crushed stone before entering Rockland, it's actually quite nice for a mile or so, then you have to deal with a few touchy street crossings and mud once you get to the final half-mile. Nothing really pretty to look at, but if it's dry, you'll have the trail to yourself for the most part and it is nice and flat. I'm glad it's there and it has potential, but it needs some serious TLC.

This is not a paved trail. It was a town project done very low budget. Actually it was more like a swap. Metal acquirement for trail clearing.
The portion with the trash and mud is between Plain St and Union (Rockland Center)this portion passes behind Rockland High School. Always trash when that age group is involved! Also a very high traffic area. There is a yearly clean up effort usually in May. Spring is a difficult time with water on most trails that are not paved, that portion is low lying and subject to water.
There is a parking lot in Rockland Center between Dunkin Donuts and Banner Restaurant. The trail runs right through there and the trail is nice from there on. It also backs up to the Colby Phillips Trail in Hanover. Use the link to South Shore Hiking Trails for more info on that.

Not maintained at all. It was never built properly to begin with and has had mud holes since it opened. I tried to navigate it today and was forced off the trail several times due to so much mud that I couldn't get around it.
There is trash and broken branches all over the place.
Don't waste your time here.


The trail is a bit hard to find, because there are no signs or designated parking areas. My map showed an abandoned rail road, which gave a hint about what section of it might be usagle. If you go to the wrong place, you find the rails and ties are still there, and it is to overgrown for anything but bushwhack hiking. The police station is about the only sensible place to park a car. The rails and ties have been removed, and what remains is a packed gravel trail, that goes to mud from time to time. There are half a dozen street crossings, which you have to be careful crossing, and some give the opportunity for parking, after you find them. Once on the trail, it is quite pleasant, almost totally flat, and makes a nice woods ride, excepte when there is snow.

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