Area biking trails and parks for all ages (Updated)

by beth on July 26, 2017

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Above: If you’re looking for someplace safe to bike, area options range from the Assabet Rail Trail to the kid friendly loop at Cushing Memorial Park (photos by Joao Melo)

Tomorrow is looking to be a beautiful day – perhaps a perfect one for a bike ride.

Some of you enjoy biking Southborough’s rural, scenic roads. I’ve never been comfortable with it, and I’ve been really nervous the few times we tried area roads with my inexperienced kids. (I swear I need to tattoo “Stay Right” on the backs of their hands!)

Last year, when my kids started nagging me to bike more, I started looking for better options. I shared what I learned with readers. Today seems like a great time to revisit that.

A friend introduced me to a wonderful mini trail for families with young bikers. Cushing Memorial Park in Framingham has nice walking/biking paths with a tot playground in the midst of the green. The loop choices are just over or under a mile – so not for serious biking. For me, it was a great place to test out the kids’ stamina and interest level before trying a longer trail.

Before that, when my kids were in the trike through just past training wheels stage, we used to enjoy the small bike trail loop in the EMC Park playground in Hopkinton.

Another friend said she enjoys Hopkinton State Park for biking with her daughter. You do have to share the pavement with cars. Still, it seems less treacherous than most of our narrow back roads or busy main streets.

My family’s favorite has ended up being the Assabet River Rail Trail. The trail winds through Marlborough, Hudson, Stow, Maynard, and Acton. My kids like to start in Marlborough, head to the Hudson end of the trail. On the return trip, we stop at a downtown Hudson eatery for their bribe, I mean, snack.

There other Rail Trails that may be worth taking a spin on – but they’re pretty far flung. (It looks like many of the projects to build out and link trails are still in the works many years after the process started.):

  • The Upper Charles River Rail Trail runs through Milford (and will eventually include Hopkinton and Ashland.)
  • While the Sudbury and Framingham part of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail isn’t set to open until next spring, riders can bike through the Lowell/Chelmsford area (Click here for trail map).
  • The Minuteman Bikeway passes through where the American Revolution began. Cycle through Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge.
  • The Mass Central Rail Trail has segments open but not nearby. The Central area includes Sterling, West Boylston and Holden. The Eastern part includes the Waltham, Newton and Watertown area. (If you’re headed to Western Mass, there’s a section open there, too.)

Do you have any favorite routes for biking? Share them in comments below.

Updated (7/27/17 10:00 am): I initially forgot to include the playground I used to take my kids to with trikes and bikes when they were tots, EMC Park.

1 Tina Noboleski July 27, 2017 at 6:25 PM

It would be amazing if Southborough would create something like they have at Cushing (in Feamingam) here if the town takes over the golf course. Would add a ton of value to everyone in the community.

2 Betsy Colby Davie July 28, 2017 at 9:18 PM

Wow, thanks for this post. We checked out Cushing tonight and it is a BEAUTIFUL park! I appreciate all of your tips on stuff to do with kids. We have taken advantage of several opportunities because you posted about them.

3 beth July 29, 2017 at 5:31 PM

Thank you so much for sharing that. I sometimes wonder if anyone is actually interested in the posts, since they don’t get comments. It’s nice to know that someone is reading them!

4 Kate July 29, 2017 at 8:27 PM

My dogs and I spend a lot of time at Cushing. It is great to have the water bubbler (and a dog bowl!) and waste bags provided in the park. If you go, take the time to enjoy the gardens and the homes provided for birds, mason bees (non-stinging) and other insects. A kind park employee let me check out the observation post, and explained how different insects create their homes.

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