This existing trail is part of a larger proposed trail that may some day extend as far as Lowell and Framingham. Today it extends from Chelmsford in Parking Lot E behind the Motorola building near Exit 31 off of Route 3 to route 225 in Westford. We found parking in Westford completely non-existant, and ended up parking at the beach behind the service station near the Chelmsford/Westford border.
The trail is paved the entire way, but there are frequent road crossings, and a point in Chelmsford where the crossing near the ballfield includes following a sidewalk for a brief period. Other than that one hectic little traffic area, the trail was very pleasant to us.
We started on the Westford side of the trail and headed towards Chelmsford. Technically, we parked near the border of the towns, biked 3 miles to the end of the Westford end, and then came back to where we started, then continued on towards the Chelmsford end.
After we passed Agway and crossed the road, we found a dirt path on the right and decided to follow it. We found an apple tree with very tart apples. We followed the unpaved path in the other direction to a field with small apple trees and bird houses where people drove their cars up to, perhaps to watch birds. We were not really sure what was going on. There was a pretty pond nearby and a nice red barn. I took photos from the paved path, and a family passing by remarked "Ew gross - a swamp" to what I thought was a pretty pond, so beauty was in the eye of the beholder I guess. We took the dirt path directly across from the apple tree path just mentioned and ended up at a school and peddled back to Agway and got back on the paved path again.
Most of the trail was shaded, and there is a section where water runs along the side and underneath the trail. We stopped on some of the bridges to take photos. The bright red lobelia cardinalis growing on the side of the water was very striking, and can be seen in late August and early September. It is native to this region.
Further down the trail we came to a place where kids left their bikes to the side and went into the water. It was right before the trail left the woods and came to the first major intersection in Chelmsford where there is artwork realted to teh trail, you can stop for sandwiches, and crossing the road takes serious caution. The trail picks up again in front of Dominoes and a Thai restaurant that we found to be very good. To find the trail, look for the double set of rails that surround the path. The photo below of the buildings is from that part of the path, so you know if you see those buildings that you found it.
We went to the very end, and thought the final tunnel with the overhead lights to be a fun way to end. It was here that we saw the end of the trail sign and saw the parking lot E sign below the Motorola building. Quite a few people had parked here to start their trip. From the beach to this point with the side paths it was 6 miles, but from here straight back to the beach was 4 miles. I found that I was peddling on the average about 3 miles per hour slower on the return trip and I am not sure if it was grade or fatigue. Either way, it was not difficult, and I think the people who put in all of the hard work to make this trail possible and all the people whose hands labored to assemble the trail should be congratulated on a fantastic job. The work is second to none. The details in the craftsmanship at the crossings with the bricks, to the sturdy bridges, all deserve an enormous bravo.