Clipper City Rail Trail & Harborwalk


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Clipper City Rail Trail & Harborwalk Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Essex
Length: 3.9 miles
Trail end points: Merrimack River (Newburyport) and MBTA Commuter Rail Station
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015998
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Clipper City Rail Trail & Harborwalk Description

The nearly 4-mile multi-use Clipper City Rail Trail and Harbor Walk connects the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail station and the Merrimack River near downtown Newburyport. Along the way, the trail traverses a mix of environments: an industrial park, a neighborhood and the waterfront. The paved pathway connects stairways and spur trails that lead to neighborhood streets. In addition, users will find urban amenities, such as ice cream parlors, bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants.

Perhaps the trail's most distinguishing feature is the fanciful artwork found along the corridor. Sculptures, murals and artfully designed landscapes make for an enjoyable stroll and reflect the creativity of the city's inhabitants. It also reflects the city's dedication to recycle materials. In addition, the "greening" includes a boardwalk made of sustainably harvested tropical hardwood, which connects the trail to Cashman Park along the river.

Pending additional funding, securing of rights-of-way and other necessities, there are plans to connect and extend the trail along another former rail corridor: the City Branch. The extension would run along the waterfront east of the Peter J. Matthews Boardwalk at the ciyt's central waterfront, continuing through the South End neighborhood into Newbury and back to the MBTA commuter rail station.

Across the Merrimack River, is another rail-trail: the Old Eastern Marsh Trail; joining the two together is the Salisbury Rail Trail Connector. Nature lovers may want to head south instead to experience the Martin H. Burns Wildlife Management Area Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

There is no parking dedicated specifically to the trail; however, there is dispersed on-street and off-street parking. There is a small parking lot at Cashman Park plus adjacent parking along Pop Crowley Way and Riverfront Road, to Strong Street, Washington Street, Winter Street and High Street between Winter and Boardman streets. There are also (paid) MBTA parking lots off of Parker Street at the head of the trail.

Clipper City Rail Trail & Harborwalk Reviews

Very good walk if doing 3-4 miles. Good breeze of water. Well used but path wide enough to make it enjoyable

This trail through Newburyport is in excellent shape, is well-signed, and has lots of public art and even a little train car where kids can go in and ring the bell and blow the whistle. Since it is short and because of the art it is an excellent trail for kids. I highly recommend it for a leisurely stroll with the family or to combine with other local trails for a half-day bike tour. This is one of the best rail-trails I have done even though it is very short. Fortunately the Old Eastern Marsh Trail and Salisbury Ghost Trail are nearby which can combine with this to make a decent length bike tour. They are working on even more trails in this area which you can read about at coastal


Slideshow animation with a focus on the art:

Regular bikecam in real time:

It's short, but the public art is a nice touch and it clearly serves the very practical purpose of connecting their downtown area to the train station. At no point does it feel cramp, plenty of breathing room on both sides all the way through.

we had the chance to walk on this great rail trail, at one end it connects directly to the newburyport commuter rail platform, and the other connects to the Newburyport Harbor. At the Harbor end you can turn left and cross the new pier/walkway to Cashman park which has a great play ground and views of the harbor, or turn right and follow under the Rt 1 bridge to the Newburyport waterfront and boardwalk via a walk through the gravel of the waterfront boat yard or follow the paved sidewalk to the sidewalk on water street (?). A short walk to the left takes you to the Newburyport boardwalk behind the old firehouse or cross the street there and visit the Inn street Mall or State st where the old city has been recreated with brick sidewalks and old fashioned lamp posts, along with many small shops to see.
You can also get a birds eye view of the area from the sidewalk on the Rt 1 Gillis bride that connects to Rings Island in Salisbury, MA.
For those on Bikes or inline skates, when you reach the end of the rail trail where it crosses to the train station, take a right and then a left at the stop light, and enjoy the wide breakdown lanes on Scotland Rd. for a few miles up to the Scotland rd exit on Rt 95. Scotland rd has great farm land views off to one side and the Coffin Island area is a good one for bird watchers.
For a nice snack stop by Halleys Ice cream which has a paved connection to the rail trail, this is just opposite the huge windmill, something kids find very interesting.
Can't wait for the second half of the loop to be made, connecting the other end of waterfront to the train station by climbing the hill where the big water tower is...

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