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The 5.3-mile Independence Greenway makes for a pleasant ride, providing access to lakes, parks, and nature preserves. The paved pathway is located in the town of Peabody (pronounced by locals as “pea-biddy”), which is known as the Leather City thanks to its historical tannery industry. Be on the lookout for a variety of bird species, as well as the occasional snake sunning itself on the trail’s paved surface. For most of the ride, you will enjoy a natural setting; however, some neighboring homes are visible along the trail for a portion of the trip.
Starting at the northwestern trailhead on Russell Street, you’ll follow the Ipswich River on your left, followed by the Norris Brook Wetlands. In 1.3 miles, be aware that the trail passes along an Aggregate Industries quarry, where blasting occurs on Thursdays at 1 p.m. during the summer. One horn means blasting will commence in 5 minutes. If you hear two horns, make sure to move away from the area, as blasting is in progress.
In 0.9 mile from the quarry, after passing another trailhead and parking area at Russell Street and Norris Brook, you’ll pass the Crystal Pond trailhead on your left. In another 0.9 mile, the Lt. Ross Park trailhead, which includes a playground, baseball field, and soda machine, makes for a great break spot. Note that a gap of more than 1 mile exists between the Lt. Ross Park trailhead and the next trailhead at Peabody Road. This gap requires you to ride with traffic. Coming out of Lt. Ross Park, take a right onto Johnson Street, continuing onto Lowell Street in 0.5 mile, and turning right onto Peabody Road in just under 1 mile. Only experienced road riders should take this route; a sidewalk is available for walkers. This on-road route also connects to the Border to Boston Trail.
At the Peabody Road trailhead, the path follows Proctor Brook, as well as Lalikos Park and Marble Meadows Conservation Area on the right. As you near the end of the trail, you will begin to hear the buzz of traffic. There are a number of road crossings as well. Cross carefully at the busy intersection of Prospect and Lowell Streets. The trail ends at the Northshore Mall trailhead. With the trailhead’s namesake at the base of the trail, you can stop for a snack, bathroom break, or some retail therapy.
To reach the northwestern endpoint on Russell St. from I-95, take Exit 41 for Main St. toward Lynnfield Center/Wakefield. Turn right onto Main St., and go 3.6 miles. Continue on Boston St. 0.4 mile, then turn right onto Russell St. Parking will be on your right, with the trail endpoint located across the street from the lot, near the Ipswich River.
To reach the Northshore Mall trailhead from I-95, take Exit 45 to merge onto MA 128 N toward Gloucester. In about 2.6 miles, take Exit 25A toward Lowell St./W. Peabody. In 0.1 mile, continue right (west) onto Northshore Road. In another 0.1 mile, turn right onto Essex Center Dr., then take an immediate left to continue on Essex Center Dr. 0.2 mile. Parking and the trailhead will be on your right, just past the Lahey Medical Center.
Only rode section from Ross Park to Russell St. (about 6 mi round trip). Trail starts on the right side of the ball fields and has a bike "fix it" station with any tool you may need, as well as air. Trail is lovely with a mixture of woods, wetlands, and open areas. Two roads to cross but controlled with pedestrian lights. Warning sign from nearby quarry (?) indicating blasting on Thursdays at 1pm but only for small section of the trail. Ross Park has restroom stations on the right side of the ball fields.
Great trail, very pleasant and scenic.parking in Middleton is a bit small, but great access to the trail. Connecting to the second part of it can be challenging if you are not comfortable with traffic, despite sidewalk. I was fine but my wife was not too comfortable. But we did it and enjoyed ourselves. The trail actually connects with the one heading to Denver, another 5 miles trail. It was great!
My wife and I decided to ride the Topsfield / Wenham / Danvers rail trails today, and continued on from the Peabody line to the 95 underpass ending at Lowell Street. Here we usually turn around and head back. But today we decided to brave the traffic and head up Lowell Street to Johnson Street to the western section of the Independence Greenway, and I'm glad we did. Warning !! Stay on the sidewalk as you traverse Lowell St. and cross at the cross walks at the west Peabody fire station to get to Johnson Street. A little ways further, cross Johnson St. and go into the Lt. Ross Park, the Rail trail starts to the right of the ball fields.
The next three miles travel through woodlands, marsh and wetlands, occasionally coming alongside the Ipswich river. The trail is smooth and flat with only a few slight bumps, and the best thing is the absolute "quiet" with only a few homes or buildings along the way, you can really hear yourself think, or not, if you like. There are a couple of memorials dedicated to deceased veterans you'll come across along the way, all in a a very tranquil setting. Check this trail out, and enjoy the peace for yourself.. The trail ends at Russell Street, and from here back to Ross park is about three miles. Enjoy the ride !!!
We ride this trail often. The scenery is beautiful, the trail is paved and well marked. We saw a couple of deer recently.
Please keep the gas pipeline away....
i rode the trail from ross park it travels through crystal lake and is very scenic and a easy and enjoyable ride it is notvery long but is paved wit only a slight encline which makes it a easy ride for all ages
Did this short but nice trail this past weekend and it is a very nice trail. I did do the on road detour in my car after reading some of the reviews and wished I had road it as it is not as bad as some of the reviews. It is not Family friendly but for an adult it is not all that bad. Back to the trail, the north west portion is very nice and just under 3 miles long. The one thing that I saw and really liked was markers with the location if you had to call 911. I have been on lots of trails and this was a first. The south east part is 1.75 miles and has one not so good intersection. I did not run into many bikes but both sections where well used. Ran into a Senior Hiking group and a few joggers and lots of walkers. The City of Peabody has done a nice job.
Out on a fine 70 degree day. Parked near the
Eastern end near the hospital. Good parking, direct access to the trail. Trail is fully paved and marked with center line. Mostly people walking on the section near the hospital.
The off trail (on road) section is tricky.
Traffic on Lowell street is HEAVY at mid day. Made it thru westbound okay since there is some room at the shoulder, and a sidewalk if needed.
On the way back, eastbound, traffic was even heavier, and there is NO room on the shoulder on that side of the road under Rts 1 and 95. It would have been better to ride the left side of the road up on the sideway perhaps.
If I went back, I'd perhaps skip the section near the hospital. Parking at Lt. Ross park is good, and the trail westbound from there is scenic. There is also good parking at the west end, and at a cross street just out from the Lt. Ross park. A hotdog cart can be found sometimes at that parking spot, just before the quarry.
I went today as it turned out to be beautiful weather, mid 70's and clear, after rain all night long. This trail is nice but it is short. It is 6.2 miles not 7.4 miles which is a bummer because I coordinated a bike ride with other people and we like to go on long leisurely rides. You need to be careful because the trail goes on a a very congested busy road in the middle, but the trail prior to this is short, then after this it is longer. But it seemed to end just as we got started and comfortable. The on-road part is a turn off to do this trail again but it is good for families with little kids that wanna do some quick biking. Great scenery and fall foliage.
This is a very nice trail, well paved and scenic. We parked in the Lahey lot, no issue.
The problem is crossing under rt 95 on Lowell St, a very busy intersection with lots of cross traffic even mid day on a thursday. Perhaps the best thing is to skip the southern portion and ride up into MIddleton instead.
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