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Mountain Bike Loop

 3.7 (13)

6.4 Miles 10.2 Kilometers


60%

Singletrack

522' 159 m

Ascent

-527' -161 m

Descent

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

261' 80 m

High

113' 34 m

Low

Shared By Trevor Wellman

Conditions


Unknown

Getting forecast...

Just as schizophrenic and almost as much fun as your typical New Englander.

Trevor Wellman

Dogs Leashed

Features -none-

Family Friendly This trail is good for learning some of the basics of mountain biking or for bringing a picnic.

Open dawn to dusk. Mountain biking is prohibited in the Fells in the month of March. Check the Mass DCR for a full list of rules and regulations.

Overview

Marked with every kind of ineffective signage known in New England, the trail follows red squares, green blazes, and little mountain bike icons around a loop exhibiting a crazy variety of terrain. Bring balmex or a good suspension. Fat tires are also welcome.

Description

Riding in either direction, this loop carries tons of momentum for large sections of the trail. However, manic bouts of ruggedness (as well as dog walkers) are known to inhibit an otherwise fast ride.

Don't let the name fool you: once you get the lay of the land, there are many additional trails to explore besides the one designated for mountain biking. Many of the others offer more of an escape from the city or the suburbs due to less bike, foot, and paw traffic. Respect all the work NEMBA has done to advocate for mountain biking in the Fells and honor the signage where it prohibits bikes on certain trails.

There is plenty of parking around the Fells; the easiest access to the Mountain Bike Loop is from the Sheepfold Parking Lot on the southeast side of the park. At prime times, this lot gets busy and it may be easier to find parking in one of the pull-offs along South Border Rd in Medford. From one of these pull-offs, a very short ride into the woods spits you right out onto the loop.

The natural flow does not always keep you on this trail. In fact, sometimes you'll swear it's trying to lose you. If your aim is to stay on track, always follow signage rather than trusting your intuition.

In the northeast corner of the loop, the trail briefly merges with Bear Hill Rd. It's possible to take a short detour up this dirt road to reach Bear Hill Tower. This is one of the prime spots in the Fells. From the top of the tower, you get great views of the Reservation and of the Boston skyline. Bear Hill Tower embodies what's so unique about the Fells: despite all the reminders of the hustle and bustle just beyond the trees, you're still awarded a moment to relax, escape, and recreate. Since I-93 is tucked just out of view, you can almost imagine it's the wind making all that noise.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jun 30, 2018
Jarod DeRosear
Trail uses every marker under the sun so its nearly impossible to get lost. Fun, easy singletrack with some harder off shoot sections for the more… 7mi
May 13, 2018
Bruno Villaret
Nov 18, 2017
Andy Mc
Got a flat 12mi — 1h 30m
Nov 5, 2017
Chuck Lyle
Leaves make this a slippery beast this time of year. But grind hard and commit to tight lines for a righteous loop. 6mi
Sep 19, 2017
Paul McDonagh
Rode parts of the Loop today. There is a tree down on the Loop near Bear Hill. Had to get off and squeeze underneath it 8mi — 0h 55m
Jun 24, 2017
Victor Pineda
Apr 14, 2017
Tyler Dolak
6mi
Nov 23, 2016
Ben McCoy

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 13 votes

#1848

Overall
  3.7 from 13 votes
5 Star
23%
4 Star
46%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
8%
1 Star
8%
Rankings

#15

in Massachusetts

#1,848

Overall
60 Views Last Month
1,633 Since Aug 14, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

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J Erik Hartel
Monument, CO
J Erik Hartel   Monument, CO
From 1987-1990, I spent a huge amount of time on a primitive StumpJumper exploring this area. The Fells offers great MTB opportunities for MTB-deprived New Englanders. A short ride/drive from Tufts and other area colleges, this is a great place to take a break from studies... something I did in abundance in the late 1980s. Enjoy. Sep 22, 2016
Matthew Leo
Boston, MA
Matthew Leo   Boston, MA
The remark about poor signage is very true. The worst part for signage is in the NE section where the loop leaves the old railroad trestle and enters a dense nest of poorly marked, criss-crossing trails. On the official Mass DCR map this is the section between points D2-6 and D2-3. If you get lost here proceed in a generally north-northwest direction until you strike Bear Hill Road again, and then go north until the loop takes a left off Bear Hill Road.. After that it's not too bad, but you do want to develop the habit of frequently looking up from the trail, especially when approaching something like an intersection. The blazes are sometimes mounted higher than you're likely to be looking. It's a good idea the first couple times you ride this to bring a smartphone with a GPS-enabled trail map app, like the MTB Project app. Most of the loop follows fireroads and is not technical, although some care should be exercised on the fire road descent along the west flank of Bear Hill. It's easy to pick up a lot of speed there but the road winds so you can't always see what or who is coming. In parts of the west and south there are sections of singletrack shared with the more challenging Reservoir Trail. These include features and short stretches of intermediate technical difficulty, like swiitchbacks or rocky drops with no bypass. However these are short and can be walked without breaking up the ride too much, making the Mountain Bike Loop a good trail for people who are only used to riding fireroads to dip their toe into more technical riding. Sep 30, 2018

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