BRUCE FREEMAN RAIL TRAIL:

LOWELL-CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      May 27, 2023

Length:                Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; 14.8 miles.

                              Connector Trail; 0.6 miles completed.

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Lowell [Northern Section]; From Route 3 southbound, take exit 81C to Route 110. Turn left and travel under Route 3. Turn right into Cross Point. Follow the entrance and turn right. Park in Lot F. The trail heads through a tunnel under Route 3. From Route 3 northbound, take exit 81C to Route 110. Turn right on Route 110, then turn right into Cross Point. Follow the entrance and turn right. Park in Lot F. The trail heads through a tunnel under Route 3.

To start in Chelmsford [Northern Section]; From I-495 northbound, take exit 87 to Route 4 south. Just before the junction of Routes 4 & 110 turn left into the parking lot for the Chelmsford Center for the Arts. Trail parking here. From I-495 southbound, take exit 88 to Route 110 south. At the junction of Routes 4 & 110 turn right on Route 4, cross the trail, then turn right into the parking lot for the Chelmsford Center for the Arts. Trail parking here.

To start in Acton [Central Section]; From the intersection of Routes 27 & 225 travel south on Route 27 for 0.4 miles. Turn left into the Route 27 parking lot.

To start in Concord [Southern Section]; From I-495 take exit 78A to Route 2 east. Route 2 merges with Route 111 south. Come to a traffic circle after 7 miles and turn right onto Commonwealth Ave. The Commonwealth Ave parking lot will be on your right across from the MCI Concord Prison

The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is being built along the former rail bed of the New Haven Railroad Farmington & Lowell Line. It passed through the communities of  Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. Currently the trail travels south from Lowell, through Chelmsford, Westford, Acton, & Concord. Currently, in 2023, the next section south through Sudbury is under construction. Future plans call for continuing the trail south through Framingham. In Lowell, the Connector Trail, which currently ends at the tunnel underneath the Lowell Connector, has yet to be extended as of June 2023 and will extend the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail north underneath the Lowell Connector and eventually to the Concord River Greenway. See; CONCORD RIVER GREENWAY . For more information visit; BRUCE FREEMAN RAIL TRAIL . The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will also be a link in the regional 200-mile BAY CIRCUIT TRAIL .

 Here are the proposed options for connecting the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail to the Concord River Greenway in Lowell.

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; Lowell to Concord:

Starting from the Lowell/Chelmsford town line at Cross Point parking lot [Northern End]:  

Note; The trail continues North through Lowell along the Connector Trail. Spot a yellow painted path that takes you north through the parking lot. You turn right across a bridge over River Meadow Brook, the left back along a paved trail which travels between the brook and parking lot. Pass by a couple of pedestrian bridges over the brook to picnic tables. Follow a cross-walk over Industrial Ave, then left back over the brook. This returns you to the paved Connector Trail which travels alongside River Meadow Brook. You pass through a dealer lot before approaching the Lowell Connector tunnel. Here, as of June 2023, the paved trail ends and turns to trap rock through the tunnel at 0.6 miles. It then continues undeveloped north to the Meadow Brook Center.

The paved Bruce Freeman Rail Trail travels South through a tunnel underneath Route 3 and continues southwest along the old rail bed. This section travels behind industrial and commercial areas along a shaded corridor. You'll pass by wooden (Mile Marker 1.8) after 0.2 miles. 

Note; The Cross Point parking lot is (Mile Marker 1.6) on the maps. The (Mile Markers) are marked as starting from where the old rail bed connected to the active rail line in Lowell. These wooden (Mile Markers) are located every 0.2 miles along the Chelmsford section. [Just subtract 1.6 miles from the wooden markers to know how far you've traveled]

You travel underneath I-495 where a cross-light takes you over Golden Cove Rd. Come to Route 110 at 1.3 miles. Turn left following the sidewalk to a cross-light. Cross Route 110 and turn left where you'll pick up the paved trail again. The trail now follows an urban corridor through Chelmsford. Just up an incline on your right is the Chelmsford Center for the Arts parking lot just before the intersection of Route 4 & 110 at 1.7 miles. Turn left to a cross-light, then right back to the trail. Check out the murals along the cement retaining wall next to a Map Board, BIKE STATION and Porto-Potty before head into the woods. The trail now travels through wooded wetlands leaving the urban setting behind. Beaver Brook flows along on the left before passing below the trail at 2.1 miles. At the (4 Mile Marker) you'll spot an old granite RR Mileage Marker on your right reading 22 on one side and 4 on the other (4 miles to Lowell and 22 miles to Farmington). These old RR Mileage Markers were located every mile along the RR Line. Pass by the Bovey Woodlot (hiking trails) before crossing High St at 3.1 miles. Look left to spot an old RR Whistle Stop Marker. At the (5 Mile Marker) is the 21/5 old RR Mileage Marker. Pass by the Chelmsford Swim & Tennis Club before traveling under a power transmission line at 3.9 miles.

Note; A paved spur trail on your left follows the transmission line up to Sunny Meadow Farm (community gardens) after 0.2 miles.

Cross Maple Rd at 4.2 miles. Refreshments are available at the Agway located here. Pass by Heart Pond Beach parking lot (Porto-Potty and playground) at 4.4 miles. The trail then travels along Heart Pond and past all the "camps". As the pond disappears look right to spot an old RR Rail holder. Two T-shaped iron bars that held extra RR rails. Cross Greenwood Rd  into Westford at 5.2 miles as you parallel Route 27. No Mileage Markers located along this section. Cross light over Griffin Rd followed by Route 27 then Routes 27 & 225 at 6.8 miles. The paved trail is now wider, with a stone-dust path for joggers and granite Mile Markers every 0.25 miles as you enter Acton at 7.1 miles. Ramp on your right leads down to the Route 27 parking lot. Map Board & Porto-Potty. Cross light over Main St where a causeway takes you through Butter & Nashoba Brook Marsh. Pass by a couple of old RR Switching Levers before the trail turns off the old rail bed at 8.2 miles (9.75 Mile Marker) to bypass a lumber yard. Pass by the paved NARA Park Loop Trail on your right through NARA Park.

Note; This paved NARA Park Loop Trail travels along side a pond, passing by a boardwalk across the pond, then up a hill and around some sports fields to a parking lot at 0.4 miles. Stay straight through the parking lot and a Service road will take you through the park and past the beach to the NARA Park parking lot. Head left back to the pond where the paved trail continues out to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Head left to complete a 1 mile Loop or right to continue along the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

The trail returns to the old rail bed and follows along the park pond before coming to another spur trail on your right leading to NARA Park. At 8.6 you come to a granite post and circle. Right leads to the NARA Park parking lot. Map Board. Head left. Cross Route 27 at 8.8 miles. Come to an old Mill site at 9.3 miles. Informational sign here, along with old stone foundations. Cross a bridge over Nashoba Brook, where the brook parallels the trail. Green, steel arched bridge takes you up and over Route 2A at 9.9 miles. Old RR Whistle Stop Marker on your right. Before crossing Brook Street at 10.2 miles, Gould's Plaza parking lot, Map Board & Porto-Potty on your left . You now follow a commercial corridor on your left with marsh on your right. Places to grad refreshments along here. Just past a Dunkin Donuts on your left is the PEDAL POWER BIKE AND SKI shop. At 10.7 miles is the old 12/14 RR Mileage Marker. Pass by Ice House Pond on your right before coming to Concord Rd at 11.3 miles. Site of the old East Action RR Depot. Picnic table to your right. Look right for another old RR Whistle Stop Marker after crossing the road. Cross Wetherbee St, passing by the old 13/13 RR Mileage Marker before passing by a Map Board. Next you cross into Concord and pass by the (13.25 Mile Marker). Mile Markers every 0.25 miles continue along the Concord section. A pedestrian bridge takes you over Routes 2 & 111 and Nashoba Brook at 12 miles. Continue through some open fields passing by another old cement RR Whistle Stop Marker on your left, followed by another on your right. Just past  the (13.75 Mile Marker) come to a Spur Trail on your right that leads down to a picnic pavilion & restrooms. Here you'll find benches, informational signs and some stone-dust trails that lead to an overlook of Warners Pond. Warners Pond parking lot here as well. You then pass by the Commonwealth Ave parking lot at 12.4 miles (14 Mile Marker) Cross-walk over Commonwealth Ave. You'll pass by the MCI Concord Prison as you head into some trees. Old RR tracks along your left. Pass by an informational sign for Middlesex Junction, followed by a granite sign that explains the function of the old RR Whistle Stop Markers, one of which is behind this sign. Old RR tracks along both sides of the trail. Cross a bridge over Nashoba Brook where the old tracks are embedded in the bridge at Concord Junction. An old RR Track Switch here as well. This brings you to the 56 Commonwealth Ave parking lot at 12.9 miles. Here you'll find MINUTEMAN BIKE SHARE bikes. Pass through more parking lots for the active train and come to West Concord Depot & Junction Park. Cross over the RR tracks and come to the West Concord Train Station MBTA . Trail travels around the converted Train Station to Concord Junction. Lots of information signs and benches, along with a water bottle filler. A cobblestone path then takes you to a cross-light over Commonwealth Ave and Main St. BIKE STATION & Map Board located here. Head into the woods and cross an arched steel bridge over the Assabet River at 13.2 miles (Mile Marker 14.75). Cross Old Marlboro Rd and look right for an old cement RR Whistle marker. Just past (Mile Marker 15.25) is another old RR Whistle marker. Cross Williams Rd and spot a granite informational sign for an old RR Semaphore Signal. Travel past marshlands for Duggan Brook and across a causeway (Mile Marker 16) . Pass by a spur up to Powder Mill Rd before coming to a tunnel under this road at 14.8 miles. The is the current end of the trail. A short distance will bring you to the Sudbury town line. The Sudbury Section is under construction in 2023.

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; Sudbury Section:

When the Bruce Freeman; Sudbury Section & Mass Central Rail Trail; Sudbury Section are complete they will connect at the "Diamond", just north of Route 20 near Union Ave in Sudbury.

 

3 Major Trail Projects Are Under Construction In 2023

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CLICK HERE FOR MAP

CLICK HERE FOR CHELMSFORD-WESTFORD MAP

CLICK HERE FOR FUTURE TRAIL MAP 

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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