“A nice, flowing singletrack featuring some short ups and downs in Winnekenni Park, Haverhill.
— Steve Shepard
Race - Feb 4, 2018
This is a nice trail for the novice looking to get out and develop some singletrack skills. The loop features a couple of small stone wall crossings that are great for beginners to learn on. There is plenty of parking at Haverhill's Plug Pond Beach parking lot (Lake Saltonstall) or at the Winekenni Park main entrance. The loop can be ridden in either direction.
Family Friendly: There are lots of options for biking around Kenoza lake. Winekenni Park has tennis courts, a playground, and lots of grass area for picknicking after the ride.
Stay off the trails if they are too wet and soft. Monitor NS NEMBA website or Facebook page for trail status.
Starting from the rear of Plug Pond Beach parking lot, head down the hill and along the fire road on the back side of Lake Saltonstall toward Winekenni Park (Plugs to Winekenni). The fire road starts as all gravel with some loose stones and then turns into mostly grass with some gravel tracks. The low point of the road can be wet and muddy in the early season and after significant rain. Please avoid riding through this section when it is too soft so the trail does not rut up.
At 0.5 miles, you'll come to a dirt lot at the bottom of Winekenni Castle Hill. At the entrance of the lot by the road to the castle, loop back to the right onto a smooth singletrack that winds its way up to the back side of Winekenni Hill. At the top of the singletrack, you'll come out to a dirt parking lot. Head to the right and over the mound blocking the entrance to a gravel road heading down the hill toward Kenoza Lake. During spring and fall be careful of the leaf covering washouts in the road and some larger rocks that are exposed due to erosion.
At the 1.1 mile mark, about half of the way down the hill toward Kenoza Lake, turn right onto the singletrack. This trail winds through the woods and has a couple of small stone wall crossings. The trail is mostly smooth with some tight turns and only a few roots. It's for working on your body position and speed through the turns.
At 1.7 miles, you'll come out onto another gravel road. Turn right back onto singletrack and start a twisty climb back up the back side. There are a few short climbs and dips in this section that are a lot of fun to work on your speed. Once you climb out of the singletrack, turn left on the fire road and then right at the first intersection. Follow this path out to the end and turn left after the stone wall crossing to come back to the starting point. The loop can be ridden in either direction.
In 1861, Dr. James R. Nichols, a brilliant chemist and agriculturist bought the Darling Farm, which sat on a hill overlooking Kenoza Lake to use for his experiments with chemical fertilizers. In 1872, he visited England and was inspired by their long-standing stone structures. He returned with an idea to build a summer home from native boulders and rocks. He was quoted at the time as saying … “we desire to prove to farmers and others in a practical way the value of boulder rocks (so common on almost every New England Farm) as building materials.” Construction began in 1873 and was completed two years later in 1875. He called the building Winnekenni Castle and the surrounding farm Winnekenni, an Algonquin Indian word for “Very Beautiful!”