Located in northern Massachusetts outside of Boston is the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. This pawrific rail trail is converted from the old New Haven Railroad Framingham & Lowell railroad line, and can now be enjoyed by hikers, bikers and dogs! Eventually the trail is going to span 25 miles along the old route, passing through the towns of Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham. Today, only 16 miles of the trail are complete and open, while the other sections are currently in progress.
This pawsome trail features a 10 foot wide pavement with shoulders on each side, and welcomes any non-motorized travel along its length. With lots of access points and parking areas located throughout the many communities it passes through, there's lots of room for customizing your hike. As of 2019, the route from Lowell to Acton is fully complete, and spans 13 miles. A bridge in Concord is under construction, while another section in Concord that runs for 3 miles just finished this year. The line from Sudbury to Framingham is still in progress, so check the website for updates.
If you decide to start in Lowell, you can access the trail at the southern edge of Lowell near where the River Meadow Brook crosses under the Northwest Expressway. In the very southwest corner of the parking lot for the Crosspoint Towers business center, you'll find a connector to the small parking lot for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. You can jump on the trail here and head under the expressway overpass into Chelmsford. Though the trail passes through city areas, it is often surrounded by trees that give the hike a more natural feel. Restrooms are available at some of the parking areas, such as in Chelmsford between mile 5 and 6, and in Acton around Mile 9 and Mile 10. The end of the completed trail is in Acton, just before Concord, where there is another parking lot adjacent to Teamworks Acton at 30 Great Road. The 3 mile Concord section can be found running from near Commonwealth Avenue to the culvert under Powder Mill Road. Keep an eye for updates on the connector from Acton to Concord.
Your pup is also welcome to join you on this pawrific trail, on leash of course! Your pup should also be licensed, tagged, and fully vaccinated before they come on the trail. Be sure to tote enough water for both of you, snacks, and clean-up bags. Always stoop and scoop and leave nothing behind to keep this trail dog-friendly.
For a truly woofderful hike your pup will love, check out the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail today!