Old Eastern Marsh Trail


12 Reviews

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Old Eastern Marsh Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Essex
Length: 3.7 miles
Trail end points: MA-NH state line and north bank of Merrimack River by Gillis Memorial Bridge & Friedenfels Street
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6317352

Old Eastern Marsh Trail Description

Offering picturesque woodland and marsh surroundings, the Old Eastern Marsh Trail stretches for 3.7 miles between the MA-NH border and the north bank of the Merrimack River. The southern 2.3-mile section of the trail is also known as the Salisbury Rail Trail.

The Old Eastern Marsh Trail 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 East Coast Greenway, a connected network of trails that will stretch from Maine to Florida when complete. 

Following a former railroad corridor, the Old Eastern Marsh Trail is paved, flat, and wide enough for those on the trail to comfortably pass each other. There are mile markers and interpretative signage along the route. Along the northern portion of the route, there are signs for the East Coast Greenway and the Old Eastern Marsh Trail. Along the southern portion of the trail, there are signs for the Salisbury Rail Trail and the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway.

To access the northern end of the multiuse rail-trail, there is a 0.2-mile stone dust connector known as the Seabrook-Salisbury Trail Connector. The connector trail leads from the rear of the fire station parking lot (28 Collins Street, Seabrook, NH) to the north end of the Old Eastern Marsh Trail at the MA-NH state line. 

The northern section of the rail-trail passes though woodlands. Heading towards downtown Salisbury, it passes by the elementary school and Partridge Brook Park (100 Lafayette Rd, Salisbury). The park has restrooms, benches, parking, a new accessible playground, a skate park, and a fenced dog park with an obstacle course.

Continuing south through the woods, the trail crosses over US Route 1 via a pedestrian/cyclist bridge and then connects with Salisbury Point Ghost Trail at Lions Park (located at the dead end of Lions Way, off Gardner St). The park has restrooms, picnic tables, swings, a play area, and a variety of sport courts and fields. Follow the Ghost Trail to head west into Amesbury or continue south on the Old Eastern Marsh Trail towards the Merrimack River.

The rail-trail passes just west of downtown Salisbury and utilizes about a 0.2-mile quiet section on Gardner Street (sidewalk; no bike lane). 

Continuing south through a picturesque coastal salt marsh known as the Great Marsh, the route includes a tidal river crossing and a wooden boardwalk. The trail curves gently southwest and passes briefly through a wooded area, where the remnants of classic New England stonewalls are visible to the west.

The southern end of the trail is on the north bank of the Merrimack River, where parking is available in a lot off Friedenfels Street. It connects to the Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport via painted bike lanes on both sides of the Gillis Memorial Bridge. There is also a raised sidewalk on the east side of the bridge. If safety is a concern, Massachusetts allows biking on sidewalks (with some exceptions) whereas New Hampshire does not.

This beautifully landscaped trail was built in 2009, adding to an already impressive list of rail-trails in the area that form a convenient network of pathways throughout the coastal communities. An extension was completed in 2020, providing a safer route over Route 1 to the state line and connecting the trail to the Salisbury Point Ghost Trail. The Old Eastern Marsh Trail is managed by the Town of Salisbury and by Coastal Trails Coalition volunteers.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available near the north end of the trail in the Seabrook fire station parking lot (28 Collins Street, Seabrook, NH), which has a large water tower. Take the Seabrook-Salisbury Trail Connector from the rear of the parking lot 0.2 miles to access the northern end of the Old Eastern Marsh Trail.

Parking is also available at Partridge Brook Park (100 Lafayette Rd, Salisbury), at Lions Park (located at the dead end of Lions Way, off Gardner St), and at the southern end of trail in a parking lot off Friedenfels Street. 

Visit the TrailLink map for detailed directions. 

Old Eastern Marsh Trail Reviews

old eastern marsh trail

We rode it today 11/10/22, it was a 70 degree sunny November day. My son, who is disabled and I rode a tandem recumbent bike. We are trying to complete all the rail trails in New England. I have to say this was one of the most beautiful trails up to this point. The scenery changed all the time, from woods to marshlands to the Merrimack River. We will definitely do it again

Beautiful trail.

Great trail for a stroll. Paved and well kept. Woodland and salt marsh scenery. Lots of birds including Marsh hawks. Well marked along the way. Shady and sunny parts. Easy parking off Rte 1 in Salisbury.

Dog bags

The trail itself is wonderful, but there is a problem with people not removing their own dogs waist bags. I see them piled at the entrance, all along the trail and even hanging in the trees!! Come on people, as a dog owner andmyself, why would you feel it's anyone's responsibility but your own?

Great trail

Love walking this trail with my dog! The only thing that would make it even better is if they would put a trash barrel in the parking area and refill the dog waste bag dispensers more often (I always bring my own, but it would certainly encourage others).


Beautiful as far as we could go

We went on this trail at the end of August 2014 but the northern two-thirds was still closed. The part that we did do (up to mile 0.6) was in great shape and was very pretty. Even though the heart of the marsh is further to the northern part, there were some marsh views that we saw right off the trail that were really pretty. I expect the ones on the closed part are really beautiful. Once it is fully reopened this will make a great bike tour with the Ghost Trail and Clipper City trail with minimal on-road connections.

Update to Closure

Posted on the coastaltrails.org site:

The northern end of the Marsh Trail will reopen when the project is completed around mid August, 2014.

Still closed.

As a previous reviewer stated this trail was scheduled to reopen in May. I checked in early July and it was still closed.


The trail is closed from Milepost 0.6 to Mudnock Road until May 2014 for construction of the Town Creek Flood Control project.


I am familiar with Clipper City Rail Trail and always wanted it to be somewhat longer...well it is! After moving to Salisbury, I lucked-out by finding the Old Marsh Trail and the connector to the Clipper City Trail...and while the Newburyport trail is busyier and dressed up with artwork and other features, the Salibury Old Marsh Trail is all nature with lots of marsh views and is very peaceful. The only issue is that it does not have dog waste recepticles and many dog walkers leave their bags of doggie-doo on the rocks at the parking lot or on the trail. It is shamefull!! As a resident of Salisbury, I take it personally that people feel it is ok to leave toxic trash laying around this beautiful public place. Please take responsiblity for your pets if you choose to bring them and take the stuff out of the area so others can appreciate the trail sans dog waste.

Quite a find !!

On a day bike trip to Newburyport, with plans to scour it's back streets and historic neighborhoods, my wife and I decided to cross the Merrimack River via the route 1 bridge just for the fun of it. Once on the other side, we encountered the Salisbury Rail Trail Connector, (quite unique) which led us to the Old Eastern Marsh Trail. This short trail was nothing but nature at its very best, peaceful, quite, calm, with just a slight breeze rustling through the tall marsh reeds. The many birds and even a small black snake sunning itself on the hot top, made for a really enjoyable ride on this extremely well kept trail. What a gem.. This led us to another trail, the Salisbury Point Ghost Trail which we enjoyed very much and consider a great find. What a great day! Newburyport will have to wait...

My old stomping grounds

When I was a child my Grandmother owned a house just off of this trail. I was walking the rail bed before it ever became a recognized trail. Some of my fondest childhood memories were along this area watching sunsets, birds and hiking the general area.

Excellent walk with families or children. Birders will love it.

This is a beautiful walk or ride through the Salisbury salt marshes. Open spaces with an abundance of wildlife and birds surround you on this 1.4 mile trail. Halfway through the hike there is a resting spot with amazing view of the wetlands. A birders paradise, plus not as congested as Plum Island.

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