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Nestled in the woodlands on the northern end of Merrimac in the far northeastern corner of Massachusetts, lies the beautiful Jay McLaren Memorial Trail. The town, once known as West Amesbury, had a thriving industry of horse-drawn carriage shops. To expand on this business, the West Amesbury Branch Railroad, a spur off the Boston and Maine Railroad, was completed in 1873. By 1972, the rail corridor was no longer used and eventually became the rail-trail.
Although the trail's surface is unimproved (primarily hard-packed dirt), walkers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers are welcome to enjoy its diverse views. The pathway travels for 2 miles from its busy southern end in town, continuing under a dense canopy of trees, along wetlands, and on through open farmland with horses grazing in the pastures at its northern end.
Parking is available at the trail's southern end at 61 Church Street (near the street's intersection with Abbott Street). Look for the wooden trail sign by the stone wall; a short pathway from the parking area will bring you to the rail-trail.
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