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The South Spencer Rail Trail runs for less than 2 miles from downtown Spencer to an area south of town near Spencer State Forest. The path, which is also known as the Depot Trail, occupies a former spur line of the Boston and Albany Railroad originally constructed in 1879.
Near the trail's southern end at S. Spencer Road, a hiking trail leads into Spencer State Forest's Howe Pond parcel, centered on its namesake water feature. The area was once an estate belonging to Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine. Within the park, trail users can connect to its extensive hiking network, including a portion of the 95-mile Midstate Trail.
Parking for the South Spencer Rail Trail is available at its southern trailhead on S. Spencer Road. From Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), take Exit 9 to I-84 and US 20. Once on I-84, follow signs to US 20 East to Charlton (Exit 3A) and exit. Shortly after the Center at Hobbs Brook, turn left onto State Route 49. Take the highway north to its end at SR 9, and turn right. Continuing on that road will take you into downtown Spencer, but trail parking can be reached by taking the first right onto S. Spencer Road. The trailhead is located just after Depot Road branches off to the right (before the active rail overpass).
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