Best Bike Trails in Boston / Cambridge / Newton

There are few cities in the US older than Boston, and as it turns out, many of the mountain bike trails in the area pre-date the sport of mountain biking itself. Translation: expect to find former hiking trails that are as rocky as they are challenging in the Boston area.

Every trail on this list has been either directly or indirectly built, maintained, or influenced by the Northeast Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA). Hats off to the organized and involved local riders who make so many great, accessible rides available in the Boston area and beyond.

Harold Parker State Forest

Photo: Ojon

With 35 miles of fire roads and singletrack trails, Harold Parker State Forest is not for the faint of heart or the directionally challenged. But for those who like getting away from it all and exploring raw, rocky trails, Harold Parker can be a very rewarding experience.

Russell Mill

Photo: Fitch

The trails at Russell Mill are known for being some of the most entertaining in eastern Massachusetts, and they’re also some of the most beginner-friendly trails around. This 7-mile-long trail system is located just inside a 25-mile radius of Boston, though with traffic it can take an hour or more to access from the city.

Wompatuck State Park

#NEHSCA #wompatuckstatepark #nemba

A post shared by Neil McDaid (@neilmcdaid) on

While there isn’t a lot of climbing to be found at Wompatuck, the state park has pretty much everything else from flowy to tech, and from man-made bridges and jumps to roots and rocks. The 15 miles of trails are rated mostly intermediate and advanced.

Middlesex Fells Reservation

Photo: Fitch

Also known as “the Fells,” Middlesex Fells Reservation features an 8-mile outer loop that hugs the edges of the property. This diverse loop has it all–gravel roads, singletrack, short punchy climbs, and brief technical interludes. There are also plenty of singletrack trails branching off the main loop just begging to be explored. The Fells is located only about 7 miles from downtown Boston.

Landlocked Forest

Photo: subychristian

For beginning riders visiting the Boston area, the Landlocked Forest offers a good place to experience the forests of New England without getting in over one’s head. Located in the suburbs outside of Boston, the forest is a true gem so as always, be sure to ride respectfully.

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest

First ride this year! #fgilberthills #mtb #trails #bike

A post shared by David Robi (@starvingrobot) on

Thanks to its rocky soil, the trails at F. Gilbert Hills State Forest (aka Foxboro) tend to stay fairly dry year round. While the hills are short, don’t be deceived: these trails are rocky, technical, and can quickly take the steam out of even the most advanced riders. Ride all 11 miles in the park, and you’ve earned yourself a nice steak dinner.

Next up: Montreal, Quebec.

# Comments

  • PGH Rider

    Just an FYI for the Pittsburgh section of your article. PORC stands for Pittsburgh Off Road Cyclists. Your link takes you to Pittsburgh Offroad which is a motorized mud bogging/lift kit type of group. Additionally, PORC does not as a group build or maintain trails in Pittsburgh (maybe as volunteers for other other groups or illegally). The main groups that build and maintain trails are Trail Pittsburgh (http://trailpittsburgh.org/), the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy(https://www.rachelcarsontrails.org/), Allegheny Land Trust, Hollow Oak Land Trust, Allegheny County Parks, and the Mount Washington CDC. If you need help reporting on Pittsburgh mountain biking in the future, please let me know.

    • Jeff Barber

      Good catch on the URL and thanks for the shout out to other groups in the area!

  • kevindsingleton

    Two more excellent Pittsburgh singletracks are the Bavington trail, in Hillman State Park, near Burgettstown (southwest of Pittsburgh, search for “Haul Road Trailhead”), and the trails at Brady’s Run Park, in Beaver County, a little north of the airport.

  • juarez

    Cool article!
    It’s great to see other people writing about our quiet, humble riding area (Ottawa-Gatineau).

    Of course it’s FAT season here now. We have some crazy good shared single track is 2 riding areas, plus Kanata, Larose, and city trails.

    You can learn more about our fat riding areas here:

    Our local networks are growing by leaps and bounds too. Advocacy over the last 10 years is paying off and our Gatineau Park Trail Network will be growing exponentially as previously limited bike access is increased overall rate next 5 years.

    And we have a brand new riding area called Larose Forest that is multi-use, purpose machine built flow trail. Larose has BIG plans to expand and local riders love the first beginner and intermediate trails that are now open. (Did I mention how FUN these trails are?) The Larose management team has a BIG vision for the area.

    Larose Forest Primer:

    Have fun everywhere.


  • Downhill Mike

    Also got to add Durham Forest, Dagmar, Walker Woods and Glen Major. Its all can be connected together by bike in one day and easily has over 100km of singletrack.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.