Two runners running on a trail in the forest

Framingham’s 6 Best Trail Running Loops

Quality trail running options abound within 20 minutes of the city just west of Boston. Here are a few of the best short, mid-length, and long-distance local favorites.

Framingham, Massachusetts is a trail runner’s paradise. With half-a-dozen state parks, reservations, and conservation lands within a 20-minute drive of downtown, good trails are never far. Whether you’re a seasoned trail runner or just getting into the sport, check out these six loops—all of which are close enough to squeeze in before or after work. 

Best runs 3 miles or less 

Just because you’re not running far doesn’t mean you don’t deserve gorgeous scenery. Try these two scenic sub-5K routes. 

Noanet Peak Loop (2.4 miles)  

Tag a summit and be home for dinner in less than an hour? Yes, please. Located just outside of Dover, Noanet Peak offers a compact, full-value adventure for whenever you’re short on time. The first half of the trail packs 250 feet of gain into about a mile, which feels pretty steep in the moment. But the views from up top—and the flowy descent afterward—make it all worth it.

Lake Waban Loop (3.0 miles) 

Located on the Wellesley College Campus, Lake Waban is a deep-blue pond ringed in hardwood trees. While the full shoreside loop trail isn’t currently open, you can get your share of the waterfront views by running south from the parking lot and tracing the lake’s western shore. As you near its southernmost tip, loop back through the woods for some fun ascents and descents on the return to your car.  

A trail in Waban Lake Park

Best 3- to 6-mile runs 

This is the distance at which Framingham trails really shine. The options are nearly endless, but these two picks rise above the rest. 

Gibbs Mountain Loop (4.0 miles) 

This 4-mile run skirts Gibbs Mountain, darts through deep forest, crosses open meadows, and tackles just enough rolling terrain to keep things interesting. The trail has a pretty wild feel to it in places, so be sure to keep some navigation handy. The best parking is on the westernmost corner of the loop, just off Broadmeadow Road.

Rocky Narrows Tour (5.2 miles) 

This trail system explores a pocket of field and forest tucked between quiet neighborhoods south of Framingham. Get a full tour of the Rocky Narrows trails by starting at the South Main Street parking area (there’s overflow parking off Forest Street if the S. Main lot is full). Then trace the outermost edges of the trail network on this 5.2-mile loop. Pro tip for pre-work runs: Be sure to pause at the overlooks for glimpses of morning light on the Charles River.  

Best runs longer than 6 miles  

Get in some major miles on these two reservoir-wrapping, long-distance loops.

Whitehall Reservoir Loop (6.8 miles)

Knock out the full perimeter of the Whitehall Reservoir on this wooded state park trail. To do it, start at the main parking lot on the north end of the loop and follow the Whitehall Yellow Trail going either clockwise or counterclockwise. While the trail remains relatively close to the water’s surface throughout, there are some ups and downs—adding up to about 850 feet of gain over the course of the loop.

Hopkinton State Park Tour (10.2 miles)

At just over 10 miles, this loop gives you a full tour of the shoreline, woods, and neighborhood trails surrounding Hopkinton Reservoir. Start by parking at the big lot on the north side of the reservoir and head clockwise along the shore. This is a long loop and has a couple of road crossings, so be sure to bring some good navigation. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.