Appalachian Mountain Club Boston Chapter Local Walks/Hikes Committee
Some Walkable Sections of the Middlesex Canal
The following are some of the sections of the canal that still exist and that are accessible to the public. They are all level and none are long, but they could be combined to form a longer, historically interesting walk. See http://middlesexcanal.org for more information on the Middlesex Canal.
From Rte. 95/128 exit 35 in Woburn, take Rte. 38 south 0.1 mi., turn right on Middlesex Canal Dr., go past the Ramada Inn to the SE corner of the parking lot behind the Woburn Cinemas.
From the parking lot, the restored section of the canal extends 0.6 mi. south (left).
This walk could be combined with Horn Pond and Horn Pond Mountain, also in Woburn. Take Rte. 38 2.3 mi. further south, turn right on Lake Ave. 0.2 mi. to the lot on the right at the corner of Arlington St. Arlington St. is the former route of the canal and Horn Pond was the site of a canal resort. There is a nice 2-mi. walk around the pond and views from the summit of Horn Pond Mountain (220 ft. elev. gain).
From Rte. 95/128 exit 35 in Woburn, take Rte. 38 north 2.4 mi. to the Wilmington Town Forest lot on the left. This section is 2.6 mi. north on Rte. 38 from the Woburn section above.
From the parking lot, walk south (left) across a small field and bear right around the hill to your right. You will be walking in the canal bed with the towpath to your right at about shoulder height. At about 0.2 mi. the canal bears left and reaches the stone abutments of the former aqueduct which carried the canal over Maple Meadow Brook. (If there is water in the brook, you will need to cross an improvised board bridge.) The trail continues another 0.8 mi. along the canal towpath through beautiful marshland to Patch's Pond.
From Rte. 95/128 take Rte. 3 N to exit 28, Treble Cove Rd., left towards N. Billerica 1.7 mi. (bearing left at fork), cross Rte. 3A, go another 0.6 mi. (bearing right at 3-way fork), turn right at brick Faulkner Mills on Faulkner St. to lot on right just past dam opposite Middlesex Canal Museum.
The large pond to the right is the millpond formed by damming the Concord River. It supplied power to the mill and water to the canal. The canal towpath crossed it on the peninsula visible on the far shore and on a floating towpath extending from the end of the peninsula to the near shore to the right of the dam.
To follow the canal south from the Canal Museum, walk east around the millpond on Faulkner St. (becomes Rogers St.) 0.2 mi. to where the street crosses the canal. Enter the woods on the left side of Rogers St. just before the canal and follow the path about 0.1 mi. along the left side of the canal to a railroad track. Follow the railroad track to the right about 100 ft., cross the canal, turn left and follow the right side of the canal 0.3 mi. through pretty woods in a section called the "Deep Cut", cross High St. and continue 0.5 mi. as far as an inactive rail yard.
To follow the canal north from the Canal Museum, walk west on Faulkner St. a short distance, bear right on Lowell St. 0.1 mi. to a fire station on the right. Past the fire station the canal is visible along the right side of Lowell St. for 0.3 mi. to Rte. 3A. Across Rte. 3A the canal passes 0.5 mi. through pleasant woods to Brick Kiln Rd. at the Chelmsford town line, connecting to the Chelmsford section below.
From Rte. 3 exit 29, take Rte. 129 toward Chelmsford 1.6 mi., turn right on Riverneck Rd. 1.2 mi., park at the corner of Canal St.
The canal extends 1.2 mi. south from Riverneck Rd. to Brick Kiln Rd. at the Billerica town line. It follows the east (left) side of Canal St. and a dirt path through Chelmsford Water District property (open to pedestrians) and an easement owned by the Middlesex Canal Association. At the end, take the gravel road to the right of the Harbor Controls building to reach Brick Kiln Rd. From there it is 1 mi. via the Billerica section described above to the Canal Museum and the Concord River.