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Level: Advanced
Length: 35 mi (56.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +579/566 ft
Total: 171 riders
 

Mountain Biking Harold Parker State Forest

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#1 of 218 mountain bike trails in Massachusetts
#139 in the world

Website says it has 35 miles of fire roads and trails. Has just about everything - some great singletrack, roots, rocks, technical stuff, doubletrack, singletrack, enough hills to make for some good climbs. Real fun place overall, lots of trails to explore.

First added by kuala_tahan on May 11, 2020. Last updated May 11, 2020. → add an update
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Getting there
Take 93 North to exit 41, follow 125 north (toward Andover), for about 4 miles to the State Police Barracks (on right). Turn right on Harold Parker Rd to Jenkins Rd. Turn left on Jenkins Rd, right onto Salem Rd, Headquarters is Approx 1-1 ½ miles on the left.
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Harold Parker State Forest Trail map

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MJB_MTB (on Oct 4, 2019)
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Dry (on Jul 30, 2020)
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Harold Parker State Forest videos

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MTB Harold Parker State Forest
 

Mountain Bike Trails Near Andover, Massachusetts

Intermediate | 12 mi
****
Beginner | 10 mi

Rider questions

Q: will i be able to do this trail ? ive never done a trail before but i am really comfortable with my mountain bike, i can do some wheelie and english hops but no bunny hops, thanks :)
A: You can, there a few trails at Harold, but it can leave you frustrated. How far do live away? If you live close, try it out, that's what mountain biking is about. I started there, and just struggled through it. If it is a drive, make it a goal for the end of summer.

Q: HI! I have 3 kids who aren't very experienced riders, my daughter is 10. Is there a good trail in the Boston area that she could learn on while my boys, also unexperienced, but boys, (12,14) could have fun too? Trying to find fun things to do as a family.
A: Bradley Palmer State Park would be good for this. The joy here is easy trails and open spaces (dirt roads through fields.) . The boys could ride off a bit and have fun on their own while you keep an eye on the young one.

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Reviews

  • Nathan Scanlan
    *****

    I've been blessed to have a park like Harold Parker so close to me, since I live in Tewksbury. It is one of the largest forests in the state, and the majority of the trails are super technical with several rocks, roots, sharp turns, hills, and bridges, so this is an awesome trail to test your technical skills. Along the road there is a scenic view of a pond where people can go kayaking, and there is a beach if you keep driving down. If you are a beginner or a newbie, I would not recommend Harold Parker being one of the first trails you ride, since it might be too technical. A great start, however, would be Ward Reservation, which is right above Harold Parker.

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  • Jimmy Christensen
    *****

    Follow the link below for an awesome highlight video of the Harold Parker State Forest. Do you like technical mountain biking with rock gardens and drops galore?! If so, Harold Parker State Forest is the place for you! Harold parker is one of the best spots in Massachusetts to test your technical skills. There are around 35 miles of trails that you can link together in a ton of different ways. Most of the trails require some pretty solid riding skills and there isn't much flow and speed to be had, but it still an awesome place to check out. I would definitely have a trail map handy on your phone as well. Once you cross a street or two it can get a little confusing. I post new videos from different spots around New England every Monday, so be sure to subscribe for more! https://youtu.be/YZ4jHl_vOB0

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  • MJB_MTB
    *****

    How could I not rate Harold Parker 5 stars? After all it is the reason I moved to Massachusetts. I used to come camping here years ago and fell in love with it, not only for MTB but hiking, kayaking, camping, etc. and decided to move closer to this special spot. Now, living just 1.5 miles away, it has become my regular riding locale. HP can definitely be a confusing place to ride for your first several times here. The only marked trail route is the yellow diamond trail but that captures just a small taste of it. There is a labyrinth of trails here that have taken me years of riding to get familiar with. Once you get to know the place, there are so many options to create different routes. There's really not any sustained climbing or descending, just lots of punchy ups and downs, with no shortage or rock gardens, super technical sections, some drops and lots of great trail layout utilizing the natural landscape of exposed ledge, rocks and stone walls to help you hone your skills. Take a ride here, get lost, explore. It'll be a good time.

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  • paddycp78

    Awesome trail, but very technical, I am a beginner and man this trail kicks my a$$. The rock gardens are plentiful, and I've dumped my bike a few times. I'm still at it, and trying every day, so it will get better. Learning a lot.

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  • paddycp78

    Awesome trail, but very technical, I am a beginner and man this trail kicks my a$$. The rock gardens are plentiful, and I've dumped my bike a few times. I'm still at it, and trying every day, so it will get better. Learning a lot.

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  • KeithD42
    ****

    It is very technical in spots but no real flow. There are many short uphill which lead to short downhills. Personally I do not find this kind of riding a lot of fun but not bad. I like a nice uphill that leads to a long downhill. I found Harold Parker to be challenging and had its spots I really enjoyed. Overall I would go back there but not make it my main trail.

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  • Nicdog33
    *****

    Hands down one of the best places to ride in the area. Always fun and challenging, you will leave a better rider!!

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  • Brian Hepburn
    *****

    I can easily give this place 5 stars because of it's ability to appeal to any type of rider. The large fire road that loops around almost the whole park is in itself a pretty nice ride with some good climbing spots. Then when you venture off the fire road you are in for the most technical riding in the area. I completely agree with the other reviewers who recommend bringing extra tubes, etc. It is also a little easier to get lost in a place this big so bring a map. The yellow diamond trail is one of the most interesting and fun trails I've seen. I couldn't even do the whole thing without getting off the bike a few times. All in all this place is a gem.

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  • schwei
    *****

    I really dig this place! It is an interesting combination of really rocky and flowy that I found to be really entertaining! Although there isn't much overall elevation change here is plenty of riding here to keep you entertained for a solid day of riding. Just make sure you bring your big boy pants, because this place is a technical challenge! I haven't made it through the whole park yet, but the yellow diamond trail has been the standout so far!

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  • rade8u2
    ****

    Bring map and spare parts this place is hard on your equipment. Rode it all fire roads, paved roads when lost to get reoriented and then the single track. That's where you need the spare parts. Wow there are some technical trails here. Drops of about 4 to 5 feet and tuff rocky rooty hill climbs and trails. If your looking for technical this is it. Bring extra tubes if your not tubeless maybe a hanger and definitely an extra chain master link or else youll be walking out as I did after you break a chain on one of the technical climbs.

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  • wmacdonald1969
    *****

    Went out exploring Harold Parker over past few weeks. For those who live in the Merrimack Valley and who often make the trek to Lynn Woods for super-technical single-track, save yourself the drive. The Yellow Diamond trail at Harold Parker is without a doubt a little piece of Lynn Woods right in the Merrimack Valley.

    Lots of ledge, rocks, bridges, super-tight single track and drops that test your intestinal fortitude.

    Ride it and enjoy. Wear your knee pads, and bring a spare tube for sure!

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  • bperrault0914
    *****

    05/24/12 - Rode Yellow Diamond and BCT this morning. After 2.5 days of continuous rain, Yellow Diamond was great, no issues. BCT had significant water retention, and in one case, a stream that had overflowed across the trail. Mosquitos real bad on BCT. Were a non-issue on Yellow Diamond. Excellent condition, it was a blast. Both very technical single track wth lots of slickrock. It was tough on a hard tail and I got tossed several times. Perfect now that sunrise is ~4:45am and sunset is very late. If you're a new visitor, the Mass DCR trail map shows the markers. Yellow Diamond trail markers are frequent and well posted. If you go out on BCT, you're largely on you're own, lots of good trails, but very few markers to get any sense of where you are.* Review edited 5/24/2012

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  • Thornburger
    *****

    My buddy told me this place was "flat" so I brought my ss, bad idea on my part since the great rock gardens made for a challenge on my ss. Like others mentioned, have a trail map, I didn't bring one and there were not any at the park.

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  • Fitch
    ****

    Same as Joe (below) -- except our computers said we did 17.8 miiles (NEMBA and their mile counters... hmmm)! The riding is great for those ready for the challenge. There's little signage, so a map and a route are essential, but the ground is hard packed and smooth, and the technical rock work is just a trip. Rock gardens, constant crossings, some great bridges, and more than enough to keep you on your toes. I wouldn't hit this if I was in the mood for XC, but if I wanted to get bumped around, this is a haven.

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  • joewoburn1953
    *****

    I rode here today as part of the wicked ride of the east. I did the intermediate route, 13 miles. It started out very smooth and then started to get rocky. for bout 5 miles it is al just 2-3 foot rocks. At one point there is an optional 5 foot drop. If you are a beginner there are fire roads that are very smooth and even paved but mostly this place is very challenging.

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  • cdegrenier
    *****

    HP is my favorite riding spot. There are two sides (apparently) - the "new" side and the "old" side. I frankly dont know which one is which but I park at Jenkins lot and go through the little open field, enter the double-track at the left corner and then take the first right and start cranking sweet single track with some really fun windy, tight turns and tons of boulders in the middle of the trail - great for technical fun. This single track crosses the fire road a couple of times...then you end up at a "T" - go right...this will bring you past "shotgun shack" and the trails just keep unfolding ahead...eventually you come to "The Loop" which loops the pond - I always go clockwise around - tried the other direction and didnt like it as much (creature of habit)...loop the pond and head back...**top secret new trail on the return trip**...after you finish the loop and re-enter the trail leading to the loop - look for a trail on your left before you drop off the big rock...follow that if you want some new, still developing trail...very fun...that crosses the fire road (have to ride the FR for a little while and the re-entry on the other side sneaks up)...the second segment of this trail is absolute fun.

    HP is for people (like me) who dont like a ton of climbing and prefer to crank fast along technical, winding single-track.

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  • eastwood
    ****

    Plenty of trails to explore! Rode from Berry Pond parking lot, rode north on the Bay Circuit Trail, lots of fun winding trails and some technical spots. DCR website posts trail map (which you can get at the park) as well as marked bike trails which they've categorized Least Difficult, Intermediate, Most Difficult.
    Even with map, can get lost, but you'll eventually run into roads wherever you are and can get bearings there if needed.* Review edited 11/14/2010

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  • paszko
    *****

    Great place to ride with tons of trails. Found myself lost several times however and ended up on tough hike trails which was annoying. * Review edited 8/8/2009

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