Nashua River Rail Trail
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:Groton Street and MA 2A, Ayer, MA
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 978-597-8802

Bathrooms: Portable toilets at the trailhead in Ayer
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in front of the Groton Town Hall, close to the trail on Station Avenue

The 11 miles of this former railroad turned trail offer easy walking or bicycling with scenic views.

Nashua River Rail Trail crossing Groton School Pond.
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons/Michael A. White at en.wikipedia

The Nashua River Rail Trail is a great safe place to take kids biking, hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. The 10-foot-wide paved trail—which mostly follows the lines of the river and passes through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, and Dunstable—is used by walkers, bicyclists, skaters, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers.

The trail is built along the site of former railroad tracks, where trains, beginning in 1848, ran between Worcester and Nashua, New Hampshire. Starting in 1929, the tracks began to be dismantled; finally, in 1982, the last freight train ran on the line. In 2002, the rail trail was built. Along the route, you’ll see wetlands, ponds, woods, swamps, and farms as well as plenty of resting stops. Kids will enjoy exploring along the river.

Remember: Tell your kids not to be surprised to see horses on the trail. Yield the right of way to riders, and never pass horses without giving a voice warning. Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

The Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (Trip 43) has great hiking along the Nashua River. It’s about a ten-minute drive south of the rail trail in Ayer.

Where to Eat Nearby:

You can make a stop in any of the towns along the route for a snack. A café is in Groton and ice cream is available in Pepperell.


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