Date: January 19, 2014
Distance: 1.28 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 101 feet
Our Hiking Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes round trip
Trail Blaze: White Squares
We were hit with a surprise snowstorm Saturday which left us with five inches of fresh powder. Coupled with Sunday’s sunshine, conditions were perfect for a jaunt through the woods on snowshoes. Addie and I met my friend Jenn and her daughter Abby at Vale Reservation in Andover, MA.
We entered the reservation from the trailhead off of the parking area at the end of Dale Street in Andover, MA. The trail followed the Shawsheen River. Toward the start of the hike, we had a dicey stream crossing over two planks of wood, quickly followed by a fun trek over a winding boardwalk that crossed over the river.
At the end of the boardwalk, we turned left, moving away from the river and up a small slope. At the top of the hill, we took a break so the girls could snack. I surprised Addie with one of her favorites – nutella and bread sticks. While we were eating, a train passed on the nearby railroad tracks. It was neat to watch it speed along the edge of the reservation.
Eating must have tired Addie out, because she asked to ride in the Deuter kid-carrier for the rest of the hike. (Okay, it was probably the lack of a nap.) This allowed Jenn and me to hike at a faster pace while the girls enjoyed the view from their carriers. We continued along the small ridge as we again neared the shore of the river. It was incredibly peaceful to walk among the tall pines coated in snow, especially as the sun was setting behind the trees.
With the sun sinking lower into the sky, we decided to take a left before crossing the next bridge, looping back to the base of the small hill and back to the parking lot. We only covered a small section of the trails within the reservation, so we definitely need to make another visit! I would love to see it in spring! This was an easy hike – perfect for little (well-rested) legs.
You can download a copy of the trail map here. However, even better, buy a copy of the Andover Trails Guide. It has great information and maps for local trails, reservations, and conservation lands in and around Andover, MA.
Available in local stores (I bought mine at ACE Hardware), copies of the guidebook can also be purchased by mail. Send a check for $14.95 plus $0.50 shipping & handling to:
Andover Trails Committee
c/o David Bunting
3 Wagon Wheel Road
Andover, MA 01810
Directions to the trailhead:
Parking is in a small lot at the end of Dale Street in Andover, MA. (GPS Coordinates: 42.629489,-71.158009)
From I-93N: Take exit 42 for Dascomb Road. In .1 mi, turn left onto Frontage Road. In .2 mi, turn left onto Dascomb Rd. In .8 mi., turn right on Clark Road. In .5 mi., turn right onto Andover Street. In .2 mi., turn right onto Dale Street. The parking area is .2 mi ahead, at the end of the road.
From I-93S: Take exit 42 for Dascomb Road. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Andover and merge onto Dascomb Rd. In .7 mi., turn right on Clark Road. In .5 mi., turn right onto Andover Street. In .2 mi., turn right onto Dale Street. The parking area is .2 mi ahead, at the end of the road.