Northern Strand Community Trail

Massachusetts

Northern Strand Community Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Essex, Middlesex
Length: 5.6 miles
Trail end points: Air Force Rd. (Everett) and Beach St. (Malden); Laurel St. (Saugus) to Lincoln Ave./Boston St. (Saugus)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7460716
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Northern Strand Community Trail Description

Nearly 6 miles of the Northern Strand Community Trail, which follows the former Boston and Maine Railroad, are open to the public. Although this includes two disjointed trail segments, once Revere completes its portion of the Northern Strand Community Trail, the route will be seamless from Saugus to Everett.

The longer segment, which opened in 2012, runs west from the intersection of Beach Street and Lynn Street in the Boston suburb of Malden to Air Force Road on the border of the industrial and residential sections of the city of Everett. The route takes you through the heart of Malden and is convenient to many of the city's residents.

In Malden, the Northern Strand Community Trail also links several schools—including Linden School, Salemwood Elementary School, Malden High School and Madeline English School—with these residential neighborhoods, providing a safe route to school for many children. Trail users should be advised, however, that they will need to cross State Route 60 at Ferry Street near Malden High School at the trail's midpoint, as the trail does not feature a bridge or tunnel over the busy road.

The second segment of the Northern Strand Community Trail is located entirely in the town of Saugus, a little more than a mile northeast of the Malden section's eastern endpoint at Beach Street. This section of trail—also known as the Saugus Community Recreation Trail—begins at the intersection of Laurel Street and Mt. Vernon Street and takes trail users through residential areas of the town. A portion of the trail in Saugus—from School Street to Adams Avenue—has also been designated as  a portion of the national Purple Heart Trail in honor of America's veterans.

Like the section of the trail from Malden to Everett, the Saugus segment connects many houses with local schools (Belmonte Saugus Middle School and Douglas Waybright Elementary School), as well as Saugus' popular Anna Parker Playground. Near the eastern end of the trail at Lincoln Avenue/Boston Street, a pedestrian bridge was recently built where the trail crosses the Saugus River.

The ultimate goal of the Northern Strand Community Trail is to connect the northern Boston suburbs with Nahant Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, in the city of Lynn. In fact, the main organization responsible for the development of the trail is named Bike to the Sea, and this name occasionally serves as an alternate name for the trail itself.

In the future, it is hoped that the city of Lynn will begin construction on their portion of the Northern Strand Community Trail, which will link the trail with the sea.

Parking and Trail Access

Because the Northern Strand Community Trail is primarily intended for use by the residents of the towns it passes through, there are no dedicated parking lots. However, the trail passes a number of businesses (especially near the trailhead in Everett and in downtown Malden), whose parking lots may not have restrictions.

In Saugus, parking can be found at Anna Parker Playground. From there, you can pick up the trail on Essex Street. Alternatively, consider parking on city streets in Malden, Everett or Saugus. As always, be mindful of any parking restrictions and respectful of the rights and privacy of local landowners.

Northern Strand Community Trail Reviews

The previously disjoint segments are now connected. Very nice trail!

We went all the way to Nahant, partly on the future trail, partly on streets. The beach was a reward, but this last stretch is not so much fun on a bicycle.

I live in Swampscott and pick up the unimproved trail in Lynn on Western Ave across the street from McCarthy Glass. It's quite passable from there.

Since I use a mountain bike, the unpaved surface isn't an issue and in summer it's cooler than tar. But it would be much smoother if stone dust was used instead of (or in addition to) gravel.

In Saugus, the trail goes through really beautiful tidal marshes along the Saugus River. It's hard to believe you're in a semi-urban area. In fact that is true of the trail all the way down to the paved section starting in Revere.

The smooth paved section extends from just past scenic Rumney Marsh to the current end in Everett, and is a great safe way to travel off road. I'm looking forward to an extension into Boston.

All in all, a great recreational addition and also a great way to get to the bordering communities and from the North Shore to close to Boston. My deep appreciation to all that have worked on making this trail a reality.

I've used the Malden section of the Northern Strand Community trail many times. Because that trail is nicely paved, I have a fast, safe, and enjoyable ride. And I was super excited to learn that there were a few miles along my route to Marblehead available through Revere and Saugus. I'm riding an older Trek road bike. Yesterday I rode from Malden all the way to the terminus at Lincoln Street in Lynn.

Through Revere and Saugus it's a completely different experience. The surface is packed gravel which is both unpleasant (bumpy) and slow. I won't be using it again. Was anyone who actually rides a bike consulted when the decision was made to pave with packed gravel?

Accordion

Instead of ‘Rail-to-Trail’ I would offer ‘Gas-Pipeline-to-Trail,’ since most of the trail follows a natural gas pipeline, clearly marked with yellow poles every so often, and signs placed directly on the trail’s surface. I rode east from Somerville to check out this trail, entering via Medford St. I started by going south to the terminus in Everett, then turned around and headed back north. At the time that I rode it, the pavement ended at the Harley Davidson dealership, and the trail continued as dirt where the train rails/ties had been freshly removed as far as the eye could see. This new trail has a very smooth surface, as you would expect, but I wish it was a bit wider. The width was not a big deal when I rode it, since there were not many users (which I was surprised at, since it was beautiful July day). The users that were on it did not seems to follow any particular etiquette (stay to the right, etc.), but there wasn’t a painted center-line, or signs to educate users to this ‘rule.’ The surrounding environment is very urban and industrial, and I enjoyed travelling through an area I would not normally explore on a bike if it wasn’t for the bike trail. There are a few awkward intersections crossing busy streets (should I cross here, or at the nearby intersection?). I was yelled at once “get off the road” from a passing motorist as I was simply riding down a semi-busy street looking for a convenient place to turn around. It has been at least 10 years since the last time I was yelled at in the Boston area by an ‘uninformed’ motorist as I was biking, but I guess there will always be those few. In summary, I am always super excited about a new trail being constructed close to me, increasing the off-street biking opportunities. I think there is definitely room for improvement for this trail, but it is still new, and the users and the community needs time to get used to it. I look forward to rest of the trail being completed, and then riding all the way to the sea!

I just rode the entire trail today. I started off at the beginning in Everett. I rode the trail all the way to its end in Malden. After that I had to ride in the street for about a mile to get to the Saugus portion. The trail from Everett and Malden is surrounded by industry. However, except for passing through Malden Center, there is very little noise. Since it's new, it's incredibly smooth and flat. When I started there was virtually no one on the trail, but by the time I returned, there were some walkers and cyclists. I can see that this will be a great respite for the people of the area who are looking for a little quiet and exercise. The Saugus portion is packed gravel, and it was little rough on my hybrid. However,it mostly passes through wooded backyards and ends by going through a pretty March and terminating at a small park on the Saugus River. It was an interesting and different trail ride.

We did the Saugus portion. Parking was good at Anna Parker Playground.

We were surprised that the path was not paved. It was do-able, even for our kids (7,9,11) with their dirt bikes and mountain bikes, but did result in a couple of spills. The surface is a hard pack to loose packed gravel. It is fairly good and probably a bonus for a mountain bike, but less than ideal on a roadbike. The nice thing was that there were few other users.

That section of the path was probably 3 miles through residential backyards and some marsh. Crosses about 4 roads.

Not ideal, but we'll do it again and we'll look forward to when it is paved and connected to the longer trail.

although we had biked in the area many times we wandered over to the Malden end of this trail last week. it was a nice flat, fairly shady paved trail, but it did cross several one way streets in downtown Malden. of course the proximity to restaurants, and pit stops offers an advantage to Joy riders like us. We would recommend this as a nice quiet riding spot.

Its paved thank you.Work has been slow but its getting there.Mile from home have rode a few times unpaved and paved.Checked out Revere and saugus trail.Revere not done Saugus unpaved.Hope lynn hops on would be nice to ride out to Nahant Beach from Medford.Keep building those trails love them.Thanks TrailLink site and maps are great have used them from NH to DC

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Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
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