Reformatory Branch trail

This trail follows the roadbed of the Boston & Maine's old Reformatory Branch between Railroad Avenue in Bedford and Lowell Road in Concord. It is four miles long and passes through scenic wooded areas. This roadbed is unimproved (not surfaced with stone-dust or asphalt), so hybrid and mountain-type bicycles are suggested. Since the Reformatory Branch is not frequently traversed by cyclists, it tends to be a nice setting for a peaceful walk or jog.

Provided there has not been a lot of rain in the preceeding few days, the trail should be fine for most hybrid bikes. We can extend the ride by doing some of the Minuteman trail, too.

A journey on the Reformatory will offer several interesting sights. In Concord, the railroad bed passes alongside Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. (We understand that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service does not permit bicycles within the refuge.) Although the last train rumbled over this branch line in 1962, keen observers will discover several railroad artifacts scattered along the route.

Originally, the Reformatory Branch extended another 2.5 miles to Reformatory Station in Concord, across the street from the existing State Prison on Route 2. But since the old B&M bridge across the Sudbury River is long gone, today's journey will end at Lowell Road near Concord Center. This is an ideal opportunity to make a side trip to Old North Bridge.


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  • Bill W

    I guess we were confused about the meeting place. Norm and I met at Depot Park before 10:30 and waited until 10:45. We couldn't find anyone else, so we rode the Reformatory Trail to Lowell Rd. in Concord and back (8 mile round trip) then rode the Narrow Gauge Trail to Spring St. in Billerica and back (6 mile round trip).

    August 11, 2013

    • Kim

      Bill, is the NGT a bit rougher than the RT?

      August 11, 2013

    • Bill W

      Hi Kim. The NGT is generally good, but has a couple areas of sand or loose, uneven surface material.

      August 11, 2013

  • jennifer

    a wilderness adventure via bike ! :-)

    August 11, 2013

  • Maureen

    Great ride! The deer were a highlight but we also saw a snake, heron and egrets.

    August 11, 2013

  • Kim

    Have wanted to do this too. I wanna see deer! Will schedule something soon.

    August 11, 2013

  • jennifer

    Oh its sounds like it was wonerful , next time I will join , good to know terrain is smooth

    August 11, 2013

  • Jason

    Great!

    August 11, 2013

  • Jason

    This was definetely one of the most scenic rides I've done! We saw deer and fawns and other wildlife and stopped at Great Meadows. I would encourage everyone to do this ride next time. It's an easy ride - flat and smooth and even suitable for the old fashioned 3-speed bikes.

    1 · August 11, 2013

  • Renee

    Sorry can't make it after all. Maybe next time.

    August 11, 2013

  • Jason

    This one sounds like fun. I will try to make it not 100% sure but did want to at least let you know this is a route I would enjoy taking.

    August 10, 2013

  • jennifer

    That sounds Amazing ! But I don't have the bike or the skills to pedal on that kind of terain. ......yet

    August 7, 2013

  • Crista

    Oh man, this looks greAt! Thanks for adding it as an event. I will be away that weekend...I will surely explore it in my own. Also--anyone know good hybrid bike trails up on Cape Ann?

    August 6, 2013

  • faith g.

    Too many options that day! Sorry!!

    August 6, 2013

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