Trail Stewardship
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The North Shore area has extraordinary recreational trails. Since 1982, Essex County Trail Association has worked to protect and preserve hundreds of miles of trails in Essex, Hamilton, Ipswich, Topsfield, Wenham, and West Newbury. With the help of our team of trail stewards and many volunteers, ECTA maintains and repairs these trails in partnership with public and private landowners, land trusts and local conservation commissions. Our members provide a vital source of funding for trail projects. Come explore these incredible trails, and help us continue our work by supporting ECTA.
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May 24, 2021: UPDATE The staff at DCR have addressed the water issue at markers 13/18 in Willowdale. There was beaver activity there causing the water to overflow the trail. They removed the branches

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Now that the snow has melted it’s surprising to see how much debris is out there on the trails! This is a great time to pitch in while you are out enjoying the warmer weather. Clearing sticks and

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Congratulations to all our TrifECTA Trail Challenge 2021 achievers! Top Achievers in each category: Run Challenge: Lori Wetzel – 277.12 miles! Hike Challenge: Jennie Merrill – 73.8 miles!

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Spring for the Trails 1/2 Marathon results are in! Congratulations to all our winners! Men Overall:  Todd Callaghan 1:32:50 (M 50-59) Women Overall:  Maegan Chaggaris 1:51:23 (W 40-49) Men 60+: 

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  • Willowdale State Forest

    Trail 13/18 back under water and it looks like the beavers have returned. It is more than 6 inches deep in spots and water spills …Read more
  • Essex – Cogswell Grant

    Essex – Cogswell Grant

    The grass is getting TALL and full of nesting birds. Beautiful place to bird watch! They have mowed the perimeter with a nice wide walking …Read more
Find a trail with our new Trailfinder Tool*. Select from the options on the left to find trails that meet those criteria.


*Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that ECTA does not own the listed properties and does not guarantee the information as current. We have tried hard to list the allowed activities but some are seasonal-only, weather-dependent, or require a special permit. Landowners may have changed their rules so please follow all posted signage and let us know in the comments or via an email if you notice anything that could be updated. In addition there are some trails which may not yet be listed for certain activities. If in doubt please always check with the landowner.

  • 4th Annual Thanks for the Trails 5k (26 Nov 2021)
    on November 26, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    SAVE THE DATE! ECTA is holding its 4th Annual Thanks for the Trails 5k and Kids Fun Run the day after Thanksgiving at Patton Park in Hamilton (November 26, 2021).  The 5k will begin at 10AM on November 26, and the Kids' Run will start at 9:30AM.  Using a scenic and challenging course and offering great prizes, this will be an event for all!  […]

  • 17th Annual Run for the Trails (18 Sep 2021)
    on September 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    We are very pleased to announce that our 17th Annual Run for the Trails will be held this year on Saturday September 18, 2021! Don't miss out on this great course over some of the North Shore's best trails!  Registration Fee: 5 Miles - $20 ECTA member, $30 non-member 10 Miles - $25 ECTA member, $35 non-member*1st 100 registered guaranteed a […]

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