Cross-country Skiing

Whitney Spur Rail Trail

125 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy, Cohasset, MA 02025, USA

(617) 895-8245

Owned By: Wompatuck State Park, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The 1.5-mile Whitney Spur Rail Trail connects the Cohasset MBTA station with Whitney and Thayer Woods, Turkey Hill, and the 3500-acre Wompatuck State Park. Composed of graded crushed stone, it is suitable for bicycles and wheelchairs. Stroller-friendly.


The Whitney Spur, a railroad spur, once connected the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot (now Wompatuck State Park) to the Old Colony Railroad’s Greenbush Line. In 2003, the DCR sold the land for the Cohasset commuter rail station and parking lot to the MBTA, in exchange for the construction of a rail trail on the former rail spur. The 1.5-mile Whitney Spur Rail Trail now connects the Cohasset MBTA station to Wompatuck State Park.

The 3,500-acre Wompatuck State Park stretches into four towns – Hingham, Cohasset, Scituate and Norwell. It features numerous seasonal campsites, plus fishing and non-motorized boating on the Aaron River Reservoir. There are 12 miles of paved bike paths, plus 40+ miles off-road trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. Trails are stroller- and wheelchair-friendly in some sections.

The land at Wompatuck State Park was commonly used by the Massachusett tribe, led by Chief Josiah Wompatuck. English settlers purchased the land from Wompatuck in 1655.

Please bear in mind that Native American cultures often favor oral histories to written ones. Much of what’s recorded about the history of the South Shore is from the perspective of European settlers. It’s not the whole story. To learn more about local tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag share information on their websites. 

In the 1700s, early settlers and ship captains held title to this area, but the land was never extensively developed. During the 1800s, families maintained woodlots and grazing lands here, and the streams powered the Stockbridge Shingle Mill. Water from Mt. Blue Spring was commercially bottled.

This property served as a military site from 1941 to 1965. In 1941, the United States government established the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex (known by locals as the “Cohasset Annex”) on the site. Land was acquired from private homeowners for the purpose of expanding the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot nearby (now Bare Cove Park). It remained in use until 1965, and served both World War II and the Korean Conflict.

Scattered throughout the property are over 100 decommissioned military bunkers, which were used to store ammunition. Explosives such as TNT-loaded depth charges, bombs, fuses, projectiles, and cartridges were produced and stored here. Many of these bunkers have been backfilled, but some remain exposed. There are several old military buildings on the property, as well as an abandoned railroad. Most buildings have had their roofs and windows removed and are open to the elements.

The U.S. Navy deactivated the Cohasset Annex in 1963 and declared the land as “surplus.” The Commonwealth of Massachusetts took possession of the land in 1966, and began developing it as a public park the following year. The park itself opened in 1969. Since then, 725 acres have been added.

The Mount Blue Spring is currently closed. Typically, the Mt. Blue Spring is open seasonally, featuring water drawn directly from a natural aquifer. You can find it in a shed with an adjacent parking area, on Union Street in the park, between markers E14 and E1, not far from the Transfer Station area. The water is tested frequently for safety.

Trail Description

This particular trail is about 1.5 miles in length. It begins at the MBTA Commuter Rail station in Cohasset, and is paved up until the point where it meets Route 3A. On the other side of 3A, all the way to Wompatuck proper, it is composed graded crushed stone. The trail is wide, and relatively flat, with a slow but undemanding uphill climb. It connects in several places with trail networks in the park as well as in Whitney and Thayer Woods and Turkey Hill.

Wompatuck State Park offers numerous woodland trails for hiking, dog-walking, horseback riding, cycling, and cross-country skiing. For mountain bikers, the park is home to one of the longest section of switchbacked singletrack in the state. The Wompatuck Trail is ADA accessible.

Habitats and Wildlife

The lower portion of the Whitney Spur Rail Trail lies within the watershed of Hingham Bay. This includes the Great Swamp, which drains to a stream called Turkey Hill Run. The upper portion of the trail lies within the watershed of the Aaron River and Cohasset Harbor.

The trail extends through forest and the Great Swamp wetlands. Look for maple, oak, beech, pine, hemlock, yellow birch and greenbrier. There are also some rocky outcroppings and the occasional glacial erratic boulder. Streams run along both sides of the trails.

  • A photograph of a boulder/trail sign beside a paved trail, bordered by woods.
  • A photograph of an informational kiosk beside a paved trail, bordered by forest.
  • A photograph of a wide trail bordered with grass and woods.
  • A photograph of a wide trail bordered with woodlands, with pedestrians in the distance.
  • A photograph of a property sign beside a trail, with snow.
  • A photograph of a wide trail through a woodland with a Trail Maps sign.
  • A photograph of a
  • A photograph of a snow-covered trail through a forest, with cross-country ski tracks.
125 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy, Cohasset, MA 02025, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: Yes

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: Trail is 1.5 miles / Park is 3526 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Designated free parking at the Cohasset MBTA station, 110 Chief Justice Cushing Highway (Route 3A), Cohasset.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Benches, trail receptacles, informational kiosk.

Dogs: Dogs must be leashed at all times. Scoop the poop!

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: Yes

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Great Swamp (Hingham Bay watershed), Aaron River (Gulf River/Cohasset Harbor watershed)

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