Within striking range of Boston but far enough out to deter the crowds, Callahan State Park is a Massachusetts backyard gem laced with gorgeous singletrack. Part of the ancestral homeland of the Massachuset, Pawtucket, and Nipmuc peoples, the land is now covered with a mix of hardwood forest and open meadows. The whole area features about 820 acres and nearly 10 miles of trails, making it the perfect size for a quick lap after work.
Thanks to Callahan’s vast number of interwoven trails and connectors, you’ll be able to concoct an infinite number of routes as soon as you get to know the place. Until then, try these three options.
This 2-mile loop follows the wide fire roads that encircle the southern half of the park. It’s a great option if you’re new to mountain biking or looking for a straightforward family ride. To do it, start from the Edmands Road trailhead. Head south on the Pioneer Trail. At your second intersection, take a slight right to gain the Rocky Road trail. After a little less than a mile, Rocky Road will cross Moore Road. Take a left here and go east until you hit the Service Road. Turn left to trace the Service Road to the Pipeline Trail back to your car.
This 3-mile, intermediate loop makes a great intro to the area. Starting at the northernmost parking lot, take the Backpacker Trail going northeast. It will eventually curve east, then south. Keep going south until you reach the western edge of Beebe Pond. Here, hop on the Pine Tree Loop trail. Enjoy a scenic lap around the water before taking the connector trail back to Backpacker. Follow Backpacker back to your car.
This 9.4-mile loop covers the bulk of Callahan’s intermediate- and expert-level terrain, making it a worthy day out for the particularly psyched. The few hills are short but steep, offering a combined 775 feet of vertical gain over the course of the ride. Start from the park’s southernmost trailhead. From here, connect the Pinecone, Hawk, and Rocky Road trails to gain the Red Tail Trail, which crosses Edmands Road to connect the southern and northern halves of the park. Follow Red Tail north to connect the Bearpaw, Backpacker, and Acorn trails in a big figure-eight before looping back south.