Middlesex Fells - Where are bikes allowed?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Middlesex Fells - Where are bikes allowed?

    I ride here every now and then, and everything I've read/seen seems to suggest bikes are only allowed on the orange and green (Bike Loop) trails. However, what I see in the actual reservation and on strava seems to suggest that there are far more biking trails than just these two.

    I don't want to exacerbate tensions by riding on other trails we're not supposed to be on (like the white/rim trail), but the orange and green loops get old quickly. What's the deal?

  2. #2
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    There are the official mt bike loops that are legal. Plus all the fire roads for most of the Fells. Looked at the DCR map? Should be clear. Gone over to Lawrence woods or across the street from the skating rink? So much good pedaling there. Strava? Not a good judge as to what is legal. Where else do you pedal? Some much good stuff around. Like Harold Parker and Ward Hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S0RRY View Post
    I ride here every now and then, and everything I've read/seen seems to suggest bikes are only allowed on the orange and green (Bike Loop) trails. However, what I see in the actual reservation and on strava seems to suggest that there are far more biking trails than just these two.

    I don't want to exacerbate tensions by riding on other trails we're not supposed to be on (like the white/rim trail), but the orange and green loops get old quickly. What's the deal?
    I always heard horror stories of mtb'ers getting cussed out by anti-bike people in the Fells. After 5 years of riding there...I haven't come across a single unpleasant person. I've also heard (from the grapevine) that the DCR is under budget and can't really find the man power to enforce biking restrictions.

    Orange and green trails are the main mtb trails, yes. There are several other options if you know where to look (check out the hill by Fallon rd, northern part of the park, lots of enduro and DH stuff over there that you can lap and string into a normal orange trail ride).

    I know for a fact that people ride sections of the white trail fairly regularly. There's also a trail that more or less follows the shoreline of the two northern reservoirs (this might be the rim trail you're referring to? not sure) that's super techy and fun if that's what you're in the mood for.

    There's also some fun loopy singletrack and some DH across south border road, in the south west corner of the park. Just cross the road anywhere and you'll find it mixed in w/ fireroad.

    IMO mountain biking has become way more popular around the fells in recent years and it has more or less shushed the anti-biking crowds (namely, Friends of the Fells).

  4. #4
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    I know for sure there is true chunk in there (and lots of it)
    that is bike legal so there is not reason to be bored I don't think

    skyline def off-limits, so if you find yourself on it, get off it

    and any sign that says no bikes, turn back

    otherwise know that there are a hundred trail poachers going there all the time so you cannot rely on strava, and also many walker and hikers use strava so, don't use strava to navigate fells it doesn't compute. you'll find all the illegal tracks on strava plain as day.

    best idea is look at an official Nemba trail map of Fells. and try to stick to it

    Middlesex Fells Reservation | NEMBA

  5. #5
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    Fells

    Had a women dog walker last weekend yell at me on some single track in the Lawrence Woods area south of South Border Rd. Claimed I was in an area not open to mtb. I claimed bs, and told her to make sure her 4 dogs were all on leashes when the ranger arrived. Didn't hear much after that!

    Hate the Fells, but I do love the Fells.. Always some new trail to be found. I do stay out of out of bound areas.

  6. #6
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    We the people ...

    Thanks for the replies. Normally ride at the place in Woburn, Lynn Woods, Beverly Commons, and Landlocked (but less and less nowadays). Good advice in this thread, I appreciate it. I guess I need to spend some more time exploring back there. It sounds like as long there isn't any signage prohibiting bikes, I'm okay.

  7. #7
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    The Fells is so damn frustrating. Truly the worst trail markings I have ever seen. Maybe its just a Mass. thing?

    Wife and I have rode it a few times and seriously we seem to end up somewhere we shouldn't be (insert naked gay men with some creepy schmuck sitting there and staring) or just going around on a really dull fire road with no indication where anything is.

    Poor maps and even worse trail markings. Put some signs up!

  8. #8
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    Agree. Mass is too small to ever really get lost; just ride and figure it out.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelf View Post
    Sounds like adventure riding to me, (minus the weird men), the best kind of riding. The way riding used to be before trails were marked, mapped, signed, gps'd, strava'd, blown up. Just spent 5 days mtb on the Cape and didn't hit one single trail that was marked or signed. Which way to go? Go find out and see where it goes=adventure. There's no adventure in certainty. The fells is actually a great riding resource, imo.
    Good advice. I bounced around this weekend @ Fort Rock and ended up on some fairly new (definitely new to me) trails. Good stuff and a nice addition to my normal loop in there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukular View Post
    The Fells is so damn frustrating. Truly the worst trail markings I have ever seen. Maybe its just a Mass. thing?

    Wife and I have rode it a few times and seriously we seem to end up somewhere we shouldn't be (insert naked gay men with some creepy schmuck sitting there and staring) or just going around on a really dull fire road with no indication where anything is.

    Poor maps and even worse trail markings. Put some signs up!
    First, IT is a MA thing. Second, plenty of signs there. Try the marked bike loop for one. Try the DCR map and the Nemba map, both are excellent. There are also kiosk maps at lots off of the parking/ green gate areas. This place has more signs than most. The Nemba GB group does rides there all season. Plus big group rides where the route is marked. Got strava, map my ride or any other kind of gps wayfinding device? Ride with someone who know the place? Really not that difficult. Many options. Are you new to the area? Most of the DCR properties have little numbers on a carsonite post. Know how to use a compass or where the sun rises?

  11. #11
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    Has anyone crossed the street out of the Fells and into Medford/Winchester's Brooks Estate? There seems to be some trails over there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcs View Post
    Has anyone crossed the street out of the Fells and into Medford/Winchester's Brooks Estate? There seems to be some trails over there.
    Yes, there is some ok DH on that section, but again not much signage and it's not a very large area compared to the main Fells itself, also they don't seem very good at clearing downed trees in this area. You'd be better off exploring the Stoneham side across I93, Greenwood Park, it has some good rock gardens and decent DH there.

  13. #13
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    As above, technically just green, orange, and fireroads, plus some stuff in the Northeast corner (dark hollow pond spaghetti trails). Then again, technically the only off leash area is the sheepfold, and I pass by 20x as many off leash dogs as on leash (so many I can't even take my somewhat protective dog there anymore).

    Still, be smart. The white trail has tons of hikers, so don't ride there (except the sections shared with legal trails). Weekends are busy, don't ride stuff you're unsure of if there's lots of walking traffic. Don't ride wet trails period, but especially not questionably legal trails. Be nice to every hiker you do see. And for the love of god, put strava on private for those rides you "mistakenly" end up on a trail you shouldn't!

  14. #14
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    I've actually seen no biking signs pop up in perfectly legal sections

  15. #15
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    Where exactly? DCR redid some of the bike access last year. Virginia Woods for one.

  16. #16
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    I had a ranger bar me from the Long Pond area in Winchester. I was looking at a map at the kiosk on South Border Rd.
    I told her I was not heading that way, that I knew it was off limits to bikes, and l was only riding down Molly Spring fire road to jump on green or orange. She may have been "showing the flag" or flexing her muscles. Really made me want to ride in there.

    Recently saw 6 bikes coming out of that area, should have hung with them! But I stayed out of there!

    I probably can't ride on most trails that are marked off limits!

  17. #17
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    Take the high road( so to speak) Just refer to the DCR map. Dirt roads are open too.

  18. #18
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    OSM shows most all trails, though doesn't show what's legal. It can be handy to view on a phone if wondering where you are or which way to go.
    Do the math.

  19. #19
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    Remember- Fells closed during March

    Middlesex Fells - Where are bikes allowed?-img_0214.jpg

  20. #20
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    The DCR site quotes "Mountain biking is prohibited on unpaved trails from March 1 to March 31 or as posted."

    What are the paved trails in the Fells?
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by haymaker View Post
    The DCR site quotes "Mountain biking is prohibited on unpaved trails from March 1 to March 31 or as posted."

    What are the paved trails in the Fells?

    I thought the the whole reservation was closed to bikes. Same as the Blue Hills.

    Lynn Woods is also shut down till 4/15 I think.

  22. #22
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    There are some paved roads. But yes, current mud season ban on mt biking right now in the Fells and Blue hills, subject to lifting by said authorities, weather dependent.

  23. #23
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    Thanks for the clarification, I'll be sticking to commuter bike paths until months end to be safe.
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  24. #24
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    Other places nearby are mostly dry now, everything will be frozen this weekend.

  25. #25
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    Just avoid the Fells all together. Riding there has historically been a massive quagmire. I'd rather ride on the road than battle with people/Friend of the Fells. What a headache.

  26. #26
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    they have opened the fells early before, it happened a few years ago. i ride there when it's dry. just slow down for people and avoid weekends/holidays when it's nice out, because there will be alot of hikers/dogs. if you go out early in the morning though you should be fine. eventually you will know what parts to avoid to minimize mud and friendly fells people.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsepro View Post
    Just avoid the Fells all together. Riding there has historically been a massive quagmire. I'd rather ride on the road than battle with people/Friend of the Fells. What a headache.
    I have had very few bad interactions with hikers at the fells, and even then it's usually only a sideways glare as I give a friendly hello. We fought long and hard for fells access, better believe I'm going to use it. Just be cautious if it's busy and you're in highly trafficked areas (like around the sheepfold and the nw corner), be friendly to hikers, and don't ride when it's muddy.

  28. #28
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    I have ridden the Fells since I was a kid (late 70s, early 80s). Recently i find that if you go early afternoon during the warmer weather you miss a good amount of the trail runners/ hikers. I live in Woburn and go to the Fells quite frequently and always enjoy my rides there. I can honestly say I have never had a problem with any hikers or people just out walking. I think it is important to be a responsible Mtn bike rider and not coming flying up on any one. Usually a friendly hello is enough to smooth it over. I ride the Mtn bike loop frequently and always leave with a smile.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsepro View Post
    Just avoid the Fells all together. Riding there has historically been a massive quagmire. I'd rather ride on the road than battle with people/Friend of the Fells. What a headache.
    And you'll be seriously missing out on some great trail riding.

    I've only been riding in the Fells for a couple years, but I've only had one rude hiker say something about bikers destroying "her" trails. Just nod and wave.


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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcs View Post
    Lynn Woods is also shut down till 4/15 I think.
    You can ride the powerline area and north of that year round.



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