Area biking trails and parks for all ages

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)

A few years ago, I was looking for area trails to bike on with my inexperienced kids. I shared my learnings with readers, plus information on trails around the region. I’m following up this summer with an update on the trails.

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 recommended Hopkinton State Park for biking with kids. 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 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. There has been very little progress since I first researched in 2017.):

  • The Minuteman Bikeway allows you to include some history with your recreation. It passes through where the American Revolution began. Cycle through Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge.
  • The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail now connects from Lowell, through Westford, to Acton. (It seems the Sudbury/Framingham section is still stuck in an early design phase.) Click here for trail map.
  • The Upper Charles River Rail Trail runs through Milford (and plans to eventually include Hopkinton and Ashland.)
  • The Mass Central Rail Trail has segments open but, unless you plan to mountain bike, nothing is completed nearby. Still, if you want to check it out, you can find the latest map here. (Be sure to hit the “?” on the lower left to open the key to see which sections are open to bikes and which aren’t.)

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

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