Walking the Center Trail
by R. Snyder
The Center Trail provides Hopkinton residents with a 1.1 mile wooded walking trail through the town center. The trail head is located on Main Street directly across from Hopkinton Lumber. The trail generally follows a railroad line to Milford that was built in 1863 and removed in 1950. The trail head features a landscaped, crushed stone foyer surrounded by wood rail fencing. A large trail sign designates this trail entrance. The start of this north/south trail is flanked by Claflin Place on the west and Commonwealth Ave on the east. Several parking places are available at the trail head, off Claflin Place. The trail is denoted throughout by yellow markers supplied by the Open Space Preservation Commission. There is also an informational kiosk at this end of the trail.
As you enter the trail, you are immediately in a shaded woody area, walking between the backyards of several homes on the above mentioned streets.
Arborvitae trees have been planted by the Hopkinton Trails Club to provide a buffer for these homes. Approximately 1/8th mile into the walk, you will cross the first of three granite bridges across the trail. This bridge is however not viewable from the trail. The trail, at this point, is an earthen “trestle” about 20 feet above the bottom of the wetlands below. The granite bridge at the bottom of this trestle allows the release of water under it in a northwesterly direction. All the water along both sides of this trail will eventually flow to Indian Brook to Hopkinton Reservoir to the Sudbury River to the Concord River to the Merrimack River and onto the Atlantic ocean!
As the trestle or “high road” ends, you continue walking on the original rail bed. However, because the rail bed was not elevated at this point, the trail becomes the natural waterway, rather than the waterway separator. The next landmark is a hay field to the east. Continuing on the trail, you will cross the second granite bridge, this time viewable at ground level.
The next landmark is the backyard of a house on Whalen Road to the west. The trail is again elevated and dry. You will cross the third granite bridge. This bridge is also nicely viewable, though the water passing under is 10 feet below. Continuing on, water again crosses the trail. Large stepping stones allow walkers to traverse the water. Further on, the trail moves onto west bank of the original trolley bed, as this stretch of the old bed is again serving as the waterway.
At the ½ mile point in your journey, you reach the Hopkinton High School loop road. Continue to follow the yellow markers, walking down the sidewalk and crossing the sidewalk bridge. You may notice wild grapes and raspberries growing along the fence next to the sidewalk.
Upon reaching Lot K, follow the signs and proceed toward Field 12. Again notice the sign that directs you down along left field, followed by the length of Field 13 in the same direction. The trail markers continue to denote the walking pathway. The marker at the end of Field 13 directs you back into the woods again. This last stretch of the trail is a single file path to Chamberlain St. Another handsome sign on Chamberlain St announces this end of the trail. If you left a car on Chamberlain, your walk is over. If your car is parked off Claflin Place, you are at the halfway point of your walk. Turn around and retrace your steps.
Hopkinton Trails Club
2006 Town Meeting Voters (project funding)
Community Preservation Committee (project funding)
Hopkinton Garden Club
Hopkinton Area Land Trust
Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center
Neighbors of the Center Trail
Open Space Preservation Committee
Planning Board Office
1998 Hopkinton Center Trail Group