Whitney and Thayer Woods - Mountain Biking

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Visit the winding trails of Whitney and Thayer Woods for a backcountry biking adventure.

Written by

Allie Aylward


0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

14.5 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

While the Trustees of Whitney and Thayer Woods describe their reservation as having carriage trails, a portion of its terrain is not made for casual cruising. It's hardly on the level of Kelly McGarry or nauseated-just-by-the-GoPro-footage trails, but road tires will make riding at Whitney and Thayer Woods a little rough.

Time To Complete

2 hours

There are four loop trails within the reservation, each accessible from either a designated parking area or from another loop's trail. Visitors who plan to stop at Turkey Hill or Weir River Farm should allot extra time.


All Seasons

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits




With 10 miles of trails across Cohasset and Hingham, Whitney and Thayer Woods has been a cherished destination in its community since its establishment in the 1920s. Along these 10 miles are natural forests, hiking and biking trails, several boulders and glacial rock structures, and Turkey Hill, a 187-foot summit at Weir River Farm that looks out on the Boston skyline. Perfect for mountain bikers, hikers, families, and dog owners, Whitney and Thayer Woods is an accessible destination for both those who live in and outside of the metro area.

What Makes It Great

One of the most beneficial aspects of Whitney and Thayer Woods is that although it contains features of mountain biking trails, it is not at a level that excludes beginners or bores experts; it lies in a happy medium between the two. 

Somehow despite its extensive trail network, proximity to other natural sites, and its accessibility to Boston, Whitney and Thayer Woods are rarely subject to the same trail traffic that other hiking destinations in the area are. So if you’re looking for peace and solitude while exploring the outdoors—whether it’s on your bike or on foot—you’ll find it here.

Whitney and Thayer borders not only Weir River Farm, but also the expansive Wompatuck State Park, which includes a network of trails of its own. Visitors can ride seamlessly from one to the other via the pleasant and wild flower-lined Milliken Memorial Path. I’ve found that, despite the note on the trail map, bikers can access Wompatuck trails off the Whitney Spur Rail Trail. Because of the published warning, however, visitors may want to verify the status of the rail trail with the Reservation before choosing that route.

While many state parks lack the topography to offer visitors a significant cardio workout, trails at Whitney and Thayer take you over rolling hills all the way to a summit at Turkey Hill. Located at Weir River Farm, Turkey Hill links to Turkey Hill Lane along the Red Loop within Whitney and Thayer Woods. For those that need an outlook or panoramic view at the end of their hike, have no fear: from Turkey Hill, you can look out on the Boston skyline while you break for lunch.

Who is Going to Love It

Because of its densely wooded trails, varied terrain, and gentle, rolling hills, Whitney and Thayer Woods is suited for beginner or intermediate mountain bikers. Experienced mountain bikers will likely find the courses too easy, but for those new to the sport, visiting these trails is a great introduction. A note of caution: just because the trails do not make for advanced mountain biking courses does not mean that you’ll be happy on a city bike here. I made this mistake myself; you’re going to at least want mountain bike tires for the sections of Whitney and Thayer that do not qualify as carriage roads.

It's important to note that bikes are prohibited from a few trails here. It's a restriction that goes unmarked on the trail map and instead appears on signs inside the property. Have no fear, though: the loops pictured on the map are all bike-friendly, though not exclusive to riders so you may see hikers along the route.

Hikers and walkers will love this destination for its easy footing, backwoods feel, and the view atop Turkey Hill. Off the Red Loop, which meets the Whitney Spur Rail Trail at map marker 15, Turkey Hill is also a popular lunch and picnicking spot—so make sure to bring a snack!

Those boulder will want to check out Bigelow Boulder on Boulder Lane and Rooster Rock along Howes Road. The historic Ode's Den is also nearby and worth a look. The structure was named after Theodore "Ode" Pritchard, a man who lived under the glacial rock structure when he lost his home in 1830.

Lastly, Whitney and Thayer Woods is a great place to bring your dog. Permitted off-leash within the park, your dog can enjoy the outdoors more freely alongside you. The reservation does ask that your pet be under voice control should you encounter other trail visitors.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Parking at one of the Whitney and Thayer lots is free. The main lot isn't very large, so if you're visiting on during the summer or fall and can't find a spot, there's  a large commercial parking lot across the street.

To get to Whitney and Thayer Woods from downtown Boston by car, take I-93 S and MA-3 S to Derby St. in Hingham. Take Exit 15 from MA-3 S. Follow signs for MA-228 N and MA-3a S until you reach Howes Lane.

City dwellers can take the Commuter Rail Greenbush Line to Cohasset and walk to the edge of Whitney and Thayer Woods. The station is conveniently located across the street from the Whitney Spur Rail Trails, a paved path that cuts through the woods and intersects with Whitney-Thayer paths.

Dogs are permitted on the trails off-lease, but only if they are under voice control. Since these trails attract a number of bikers and hikers, be courteous and pack out your trash; there are no trash bins within the park.


Whitney and Thayer Woods

102 Howes Lane
Cohasset, MA, 02025
42.232967, -70.828377

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