“A tour of both the Framingham and Marlborough sides of Callahan State Park.”
— Andy Griffin on Jun 25, 2013
RestrictionsMany of the trails on this ride require dogs to be leashed.
Several trails in Calahan have short closed segments where they cross out of park property. This ride travels none of these, but they do intersect with trails on the ride.
OverviewThis 9 mile ride links up the best riding that Callahan State park has to offer. While you could definitely add miles doing extra loops on either side of the park, this ride hits all the highlights, and is perfect for after work or a short weekend ride.
The ride starts off on Callahan's South side, often called the Framinham Side. This side of the park is fairly mellow, and most of the riding is moderate in nature.
While riding Red Tail, the ride crosses to the parks north or Marlborough side. The riding here gets a bit more technical and the ride will take a few trails that are given a difficult grade.
I've given the ride an Intermediate difficulty, even though it travels some trails rated difficult. The sections that are hard are too short and too few to earn the over all ride a harder grade.
The Difficult trails ridden are:
Coco Ridge Direct: This can easily be avoided by taking normal coco ridge. But the direct variant is much more fun, and the descending isn't too bad in the direction this ride takes it. If you have to walk up the far side, it's not the end of the world.
Red Tail: Again this can be avoided by taking a left on Edmands Road and then a right on a connector trail that will take you to the top of the field. But you'll miss out on a lot of intermediate riding this way. There are really on three tough spots and all are short. The beginning of the climb up the hill where it's very steep, the end of the climb up the hill where it goes between two big rocks and the decent through the rock garden on the far side of the hill. These three spots will be tough on the way back as well, but the return direction is easier.
Bear Paw: Bear Paw mostly earns its grade for the descent, since the ride goes up Bear Paw, it's really not that difficult. It's just a tough hill. The very top of the hill is ticker, but not so long that it's awful to walk.
DescriptionThe ride leaves from the Millwood Street parking lot, across from the golf course. Ride up Moore Road to the top of the Earthen Dam, and then take a left to follow the top of the dam. Take the second right hand exit off the top of the dam and ride down it's steep side, and up the steep hill across from it to Coco Ridge.
From here, take the furthest left trail Pinecone and follow it over a few obstacles to it's end at Rocky Road. At Rocky Road turn left and follow it to the first intersection where you should turn left to take Hawk.
Hawk is the first hill on the ride, and the first big descent as well. When Hawk ends at Rocky Road, take a left and follow it to a washed out fork where it intersects with Red Tail. This part of Red Tail is moderate, it rides up and over a hill and descends through a few turns, eventually reaching Edmands Road.
When you cross Edmands Road there is a shift in tone that is immediately noticeable. The Marlborough side of the park features bigger hills, steeper trails and more technical terrain.
On the far side of Edmands Road, Red Tail traverses an overgrown meadow before entering the woods and starting to climb. The initial section of the climb is very steep, and rough. After the initial difficulty, the climbing remains strenuous, with one final tricky spot at the last climb between two rocks.
After that the trail descends through a big rock garden. The trail is wide but very rocky. After the rock garden, stay to the left to follow Red Tail, then at an intersection with a map, take a right, onto Backpacker. This is another steep downhill, but not as rocky as the one on Red Tail. At the bottom of the hill, turn right onto Pine Tree Loop, and then take the first right again, and climb back up via Shortcut.
At the top of Shortcut, turn right onto Red Tail and follow it through the woods, and then to a large field. The smooth, moderate decent through the field is a highlight of the rout.
After the field, Red Tail ends at Pine Tree Loop. Take a hard left onto Pine Tree Loop, following it down to the broken outlet of Beebe Pond. Continue on Pine Tree Loop by staying right at the intersection with Bear Paw. At the next intersection, take a left onto a small connector trail with links Pine Tree Loop with Backpacker. At a T, take a left onto an alternate rout of Backpacker.
As soon as you turn left the decent starts, this is the largest continuous decent on the ride. While rolling down hill, stay straight, and meet up with Backpacker proper, and keep descending. When the descent is over, keep going straight to stay on Backpacker, follow Backpacker to its end at the Broadmeadow Street Parking Lot.
From the Parking lot, take the only other trail, Acorn. Follow Acorn back to Backpacker turn right when you reach it, turn right again at the first opportunity to follow Acorn and follow it to a crossing with Broadmeadow Road. Cross the road and pick up Bear Paw.
Remember all that fun downhill on Backpacker? Well it's time to climb back up. Bear Paw is steeper than Backpacker, but shorter. After the big climb up bear paw, stay in the woods where bear paw emerges into the meadow, and take a left onto The Shoot. Follow the washed out but fun trail back to Pine Tree Loop. Follow it to the far end of Beebe Pond and meet up with Backpacker.
The follow backpacker for a little while, back up the steep trail we descended earlier in the ride, meet back up with Red Tail and follow it in uphill as well, back through the rock garden that we went down earlier.
From here it's literally all downhill. Follow Red Tail back down hill this is the most technical decent of the ride, watch the end.
Cross the road and take Red Tail to Rocky Road, and then a left onto Deer Run. Ride down hill to an intersects with Fox Hunt, turn left onto Fox Hunt, and then take your second right onto Eagle. Follow Eagle downhill to Moore Road. Turn Left onto Moor Road and sprint to the end.
ContactsLand Manager: Massachusetts State Parks - Department of Conservation
Local Club: Blackstone Valley NEMBA
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