Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
226.00 ft (68.88 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
9.50 mi (15.29 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge offers ample trails for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. This 9-mile loop can be accessed near downtown Maynard, while the trails span four Massachusetts towns and also can be accessed from the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

This loop begins from a large parking lot just outside of Maynard center and spans a large perimeter of the trails for a taste of all the refuge has to offer. A recommended route is to start at the White Pond Road parking lot in Maynard, then follow Taylor Way to reach the marshy Taylor Brook. Here, turn sharply right onto Otter Alley, which soon joins Harry’s Way and passes Puffer Pond. The loop continues to the Petapawag trail, which connects back to White Pond Road and to the start of the network. There are many side trails available connecting these larger trails. The main trails are all relatively flat, wide and very well maintained with hard packed dirt and even pavement in some places.

For those wanting a longer adventure, the Assabet River Rail Trail is located along the northwest edge of this refuge. This trail offers 2 miles of hard packed dirt trail and 3 miles of paved trail, which allow for longer running routes with beautiful views of the Assabet River. This route follows the dirt section of the rail trail out and back along the river to Sudbury Road. The rail trail also extends in the opposite direction towards Maynard center and Acton along pavement.

The refuge itself has many wetlands, vernal pools, and forested areas that are breeding areas for wildlife and migratory birds. It is part of the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, along with seven other national wildlife refuges. It is also part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. These trails also have a historical significance, as this refuge was formerly part of Fort Devens, and was then known as the Sudbury Training Annex. In 2000 it was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many remnants of army bunkers can still be seen from trails such as Harry’s Way. The protection of the trails by the army since 1942 has allowed for the maturation of diverse wetland habitats that are now being maintained by volunteers.

There are many views of the wetlands and of dense New England forest along this route and with many parking areas, the trails are rarely crowded. This trail network is highly recommended and offers something for everybody, from those wanting a shorter loop to long distance trail runners!

For more information visit the refuge’s website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Assabet_River/about.html

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Summer
Winter

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Ample parking. Scenic waterscapes. Wildlife.

Cons

Some trails are unexciting.

Trailhead Elevation

207.00 ft (63.09 m)

Highest point

238.00 ft (72.54 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Family friendly
Old-growth forest
Historically significant
Wildlife

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

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