If you’re tired of your same old road loops or just looking for a little inspiration, it just might be time to hit the trails. The North Shore has some of the most beautiful trails that are guaranteed to inspire and refresh your running. Local trails offer gentle carriage roads, rocky single track and ocean vistas. If you’ve never ventured off road, you don’t know what you’re missing. With two local clubs that emphasize trail running (GAC and Team Gloucester), numerous running trails, and trail races nearly every month of the year, what else could a trail runner ask for?
Appleton Farms – Very groomed, moderate trails with rolling hills. Excellent for those new to trail running or for those who want to do speedwork on trails.
Bradley Palmer State Park – Lots of carriage road and some single track, including a 5k cross country course. Mix of woods and open fields.
Willowdale State Forest – Lots of carriage road and single track in this woodsy park that’s across the street from Bradley Palmer and site of the famed Stonecat Ale Marathon and Ultra Marathon. With 40 miles of trails, this park is great for runs of all distances.
Manchester/Essex/Hamilton Woods-Plenty of options in here ranging from single track to double track, hilly or flat. These trails include Chebacco Woods and the trails behind Gordon College.
Manchester-Essex Woods – Many of the trails are well marked and easily followed, with some longer ones that are not as well marked or as easy to find. Great for 45 to 75 minute training runs. The trails here hook up to the Gordon College trails, but we can’t tell you how to get there.
Ravenswood Park – Mix of carriage road, smooth single track, and a few more rugged single track trails. Most of the trails are moderate enough for tempo runs and the carriage roads are ideal for speedwork.
Dogtown – Dogtown offers a little bit of everything, from smooth carriage roads to single track boulder fields. The preferred training grounds of many Team Gloucester runners, Dogtown is great for runs of all distances but is easy to get lost in.
Halibut Point – With only 12 acres it’s too small for a regular training run, but it’s an ideal spot to do speedwork- there are plenty of stretches that would lend themselves well to intervals, and the view can’t be topped.