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Harold Parker State Forest

Average Rating:    (3.89 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 18

This second-oldest state park in Massachusetts has plenty of riding opportunities on its approximately 25 miles of trails and fire roads. The roads through this 3,000-acre area wind around a half-dozen ponds, while double- and single- track trails cut through woods and grassy wetlands, passing granite outcroppings and pine-lined ponds. Depending on whether you stay on the woods roads or tackle the trails, a ride can be anywhere from easy to difficult. This moderate ten-mile loop alternates between trails and roads. The forest is convenient to many cities and towns in northeastern Massachusetts, including Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Reading, Burlington, and Lynn. It has many campsites (providing that the state budget is not cut further) and a swimming beach on Stearns Pond (also threatened by budget cuts).
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Latitude
42.613243626050405
Longitude
-71.09012603759765
Trail Directions
Take Exit 41 off Interstate 93 and turn right onto MA 125 North toward Andover. After 2.5 miles, just after the state police barracks, turn right toward a sign for the state forest. You will pass between 2 large stone pillars onto Harold Parker Road. Follow signs for forest headquarters (where trail maps are stocked). Along the way, you can also park at turnoffs at several trailheads along Harold Parker Road, near several ponds. There's another large parking area just beyond the intersection of Harold Parker Road and Jenkins Road.
Trail Length
>25
Trail Level
Trails for all skill levels
Trail Type
Singletrack & Fire Roads
City/County
N andover/Andover
Web Address
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
September 6, 2013

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: Andrew ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
How is it possible that HP hasn't been reviewed here in years?!? This place is now perhaps the best x-country riding in the Boston area, along with Lynn Woods and Vietnam. Whoever has been building out the single-track over the past several years are geniuses, pure and simple. Lots of technical stuff include some nice stunts for the more gravity oriented. Beautiful surroundings and not very crowded.

Recommended Route:
Park at the lot at the intersection of Jenkins Road and Harold Parker Road: http://goo.gl/maps/xvgBt

There are good trails north from the lot as well as south across the small field. Lots of purpose-built singletrack back towards and around Salem Pond and across Middleton Road. Check out the North Shore NEMBA map for a good guide.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Lynn Woods



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Review Date
May 22, 2010

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: soulvxr6 ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
I decided to write because there is not a lot of newer reviews of trails i run into that is nearby me. i am fairly new at this. for the trails that i have ridden this place is great for the technical side of it and scenery. there is a trail i take from the jenkins and harold parker rd parking lot that is tons of fun pretty challenging sections with a couple of drops, bridges, tons of rock gardens and roots. i even ran into a huge rock staircase that is on the clearly marked yellow trail thats goes around salem pond

Recommended Route:
i got this from another site from a guy called caleb i used it and it was tons of fun...
the trail we ride starts near the lot at the jenkins/harold parker rd parking lot. you cross the open field (stay to the left) and take the single track on the right as soon as you enter the woods. this trail is somewhat advanced with a lot of boulder hopping...this trail eventually crosses the fire rd...then more single track. when you get to the fork in the trail stay right...this crosses the fire rd again (and again)...all single track. you eventually come to a loop trail marked with yellow triangles...we go clockwise on the loop although many go counter.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
charles ward reservation



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Review Date
September 20, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: grhill5 ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
I don't know how I haven't made it here to review this trail. In short, HP is awesome. As other posters have said, a little bit of everything from quick cross country to rollers, to pretty technical action with rocks and roots and baby head gardens. There is even a bowl you can drop into and out of. I found it once and haven'e been able to find it again. Also, NEMBA has done a bunch of trail maintenance here. This is my favorite place to ride in the Boston metro area and I try to get here at least a couple times a month. Just awesome.

Recommended Route:
My two favorites are the "Left pulloff" and the Yellow Trail. As you can tell, I'm not good at noting trail names. Turn right onto HP road from 125, the go down about 1/2 mile to the parking lot on the left. Park and blast away, but veer left. You should be able to see the route here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/9865054

To get to the yellow trail, take HP roat until you came to a T with a parking lot in front of you. Pull in and head away from HP road. You'll see the Yellow trail markers, take this all the way out and back. More technical than the last trail. Route is like this: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/3890589

Other recommended trails in the same area:
There's a bunch of stuff here, explore around.



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Review Date
February 6, 2007

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: nycbiker ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
This is one of the best riding areas that you can find in the NE Massachusetts area. It has some of everything for most skill levels. Combine that with many miles of trails and ever-changing scenery, and there is enough here to keep things interesting time after time. It is easy to get lost and there are plenty of bugs mid summer. The bugs don't seem to be much of a problem if you keep moving, though, and they are no issue at all from the first frost through the spring thaw.

Recommended Route:
This is a place to be explored and I cannot recommend one route. One good place to start is at the intersection of Jenkins Road and Harold Parker Roads. There are trail maps available at the Harold Parker website (http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/northeast/harp.htm). However, even these seemingly detailed maps are far from complete.



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Review Date
October 25, 2004

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: liv2ride ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
You can ride this place every weekend and still find new trail all the time. There are plenty of mellow wide sections and some rocky rooty tech. sections to keep anyone happy. The half pipe area has gotten pretty worn out but it's still a fun spot. I usually park just down from the police station but don't miss out on the east end of the park. There is an out and back trail out there across Salem (I think) that is amazing. Rocky ridges that you climb up and down. A blast in either direction. Great place to night ride too. I love it and it's worth a shot. We make the drive from Cambridge there often instead of the fells or Belmont woods, it's that good.

Recommended Route:
There is such a huge web or single track that any atempt to describe a rout would be silly

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Fells, Paint Mines, Belmont Woods



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Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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