Independence Greenway


10 Reviews

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Independence Greenway Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Essex
Length: 5.25 miles
Trail end points: Russell St at the Ispwich River to Ross Memorial Park (36 Johnson St, Peabody) and Peabody Rd to Northshore Mall on Essex Center Dr (Peabody)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016009

Independence Greenway Description


The 5.25-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, the trail meanders through a natural setting; however, some neighboring homes are visible along the trail for a portion of the trip.

About the Route

The trail is currently in two segments and a short spur, but there are plans to fill in the gaps and extend the route.

Western section (2.9 miles; paved)

Starting at the northwestern trailhead on Russell Street, the Ipswich River is on the 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 1pm during the summer. One horn means blasting will commence in 5 minutes. If two horns are heard, 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, the trail passes the Crystal Pond trailhead. 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.

Eastern section (1.7 miles; paved)

At the Peabody Road trailhead, the rail-trail once again becomes an off-road route. From Peabody Road and continuing southeast, the trail follows Proctor Brook. It passes Lalikos Park, Marble Meadows Conservation Area, and Jacobs Cemetery. As you near the end of the trail, you will begin to hear the buzz of traffic. There are a number of road crossings, which provide access to the surrounding neighborhoods.  Cross carefully at the busy intersection of Prospect and Lowell Streets. The trail ends on Essex Center Road at the Northshore Mall, where you can stop for a snack, bathroom break, or some retail therapy.

Kristen Crowley Rail Trail (.65 miles; dirt)

Unconnected to either the western or the eastern section, this short spur trail picks up seamlessly from the southern end of the Danvers Rail Trail and continues south for less than a mile to Lowell Street (south of Goodale St and north of Bourbon St) in the City of Peabody.


The Independence Greenway is part of the Border to Boston Trail, a developing trail network that will stretch 70 miles between the MA-NH state line and Boston. The Border to Boston Trail is itself a part of the East Coast Greenway, a connected network of trails that will stretch from Maine to Florida when complete. 

Parking and Trail Access

The Independence Greenway runs between Russell St at the Ispwich River and Ross Memorial Park (36 Johnson St, Peabody); and between Peabody Rd and Northshore Mall on Essex Center Dr (Peabody).

Parking is available at both ends of both sections and along the route. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.

Independence Greenway Reviews

Needs Two Critical, but Expensive Links

I grew up in this area, and while the trail offers great views and an easy ride, two (2) huge barriers make this trail incomplete. The trail needs to cross US Route 1 and MA Route 128 to really be complete. Crossing Route 1 would link this trail to the Border-to-Boston Trail and crossing Route 128 at the Northshore Mall would allow the trail to continue into Downtown Peabody at Peabody Square and link to trails in Salem and points North. Both crossings used to have train tracks crossing the highways, but in both cases, the tracks across the highway were removed long before the trails themselves were built (the rail line was finally decommissioned in the 1980's, after an elderly driver was killed trying to beat the train as it crossed Route 1). Building the crossings would require constructing bridges to carry the highways over the trails, and require redesigning the adjacent interchanges (Lowell Street and Route 1, also Route 128 and Lowell Street) with the highways, a considerable expense that would cost tens of millions of dollars. The upside is that both interchanges are in desperate need of an overhaul, with traffic backups onto the highways at rush hour and stop signs at the tops of the ramps that merge onto the highways. That might have been acceptable in the 1940's, when these roads were built, but is intolerable now, with today's high traffic volumes.

Very pleasant

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

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!

Lt Ross Park to Russell St. section

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 !!!


Wonderful trail

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....

very scenic

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.

Western part more scenic

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.

Nice trail but not so great.

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.

heavy traffic

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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