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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.
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