Centrally located, less than an hour’s drive from Boston, and home to more than 30 miles of trails, Douglas State Forest is a mountain biker’s dream. The hills are gentle, and the trails vary from technical singletrack to mellow dirt roads—which means you’ll be able to find a fun linkup no matter your skill level.
With more than 30 miles of trails, Douglas State Forest has plenty to keep riders entertained for a full day, if not a full weekend. Here are some local favorites.
Best for Beginners
This 4.5-mile loop connects a number of green trails, creating a ride that offers lots of bumps but only 300 feet of total elevation gain. From the Wallis Trailhead, head south, connecting the Red Pine, Cedar Street, Laurel, and Eagle Bridge trails. (Tack on the intermediate “Roundabout” loop just after the bridge if you’re feeling brave.) When you intersect with the Schmidt Trail, hang a right and head north. This will dead-end into the Ridge Trail, which you can take east back to the parking area.
Best for Intermediate Riders
This 8.6-mile loop links some of the forest’s best intermediate terrain, including the iconic Midstate Trail (which traverses Massachusetts from north to south). Start on the Bill Annesse Trail and go northwest until you reach the yellow-blazed Midstate Trail. Go north until you reach the Ridge Trail parking area. Just north of that, you’ll veer left (right) onto Double Bit. Connect this with Knapp Interval, Trip Hammer, and 29 Gallons and 3 Quarts to get back to the trailhead.
Best for Endurance Fiends
Looking for even more mileage? Try the 15.7-mile Douglas Loop, which encompasses most of the northern half of the forest. The whole thing covers nearly 1,000 feet of elevation gain—not bad for this lower-lying area.
Best for Experts
The Black and Blue Loop combines two of the zone’s best expert-level trails (the Chamberlain Pond Trail and Gore Turnpike) for a 6.2-mile journey over rocky, technical trail. To do it, start at the auxiliary parking area off Route 16 and head south. Take your first left to gain Gore Turnpike and follow the loop clockwise.