Bay Circuit Trail: Hiking The 230 Mile Emerald Necklace of Massachusetts (Section 3)
The next section of the Bay Circuit Trail, I hiked after some snow had fallen. Picking up where I left off at Rte 1, the trail left Willowdale State Forest and entered Cleveland Farm State Forest.
The short section of this forest was quiet and full of hardwoods as I navigated its relatively easy terrain.
The trail eventually led to a recently constructed bridge across the Mill River. Luckily the river wasn't flooded when I passed through this portion of the trail so I was able to avoid the bypass and walk along the bridge without an issue. What amazed me in this area was the fact that I was close to the major highway of I-95, yet I could barely hear the traffic.
Around 1.5 miles from the Mill River bridge crossing, I came to I-95 and an old overpass which has now been designated as part of the trail.
Leaving Georgetown Rowley State Forest, the trail continued through a residential section known as Kings Forest. As I weaved from road to road, I eventually came to a blaze which also intersected with the impressive East Coast Greenway.
The East Coast Greenway is a 3,000 mile cycling and walking route linking major cities and towns of the Atlantic coast from Calais, Maine all the way to Key West, Florida. I've run and biked on multiple sections of the Greenway in New England, but haven't even scratched the surface. On the sections I have done, it is a well-maintained, well-thought out and beautiful pathway worth exploring. I hope to complete it entirely one day.
As I continued my hike, I next approached a highlight known as Round Top which is the site for the Camp Curtis-Guild Monument. Camp Curtis-Guild was a military training base primarily used during World War I. From the monument, the trail continues on pavement a little more before entering the woods again and another beautiful section of easy terrain. It is here that I entered a Boy Scout camp area, which included signs of fire pits, log benches and solitude due to the winter months.
Once leaving the Boy Scout Camp, the Bay Circuit Trail passes through private land and Lockwood Forest before entering Boxford State Forest and the Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary with a beautiful water view by Crooked Pond.
Section Distance: 12.8 miles
Total Distance Hiked (Out-And-Back): 25.6 miles
Locations: From Plum Island in Topsfield, MA to Boxford, MA