I have been in love with the Forest River Trail this past week. The trails are narrow and overhang with boughs of wild roses. The boardwalks are flush against reeds and cattails. In the midst of the area there is a meandering estuary, the inability to see any houses, and the smell of honeysuckle. Surprisingly, there are also the remains of volcano.
Yes, that’s right, a volcano. I too was surprised, especially since the only trace of fire at the top of the mountain is also surrounded by beer cans. Ha. I suppose abutting Salem State dormitories probably accounts for that.
It’s one of those secret places where, despite being right off 1A, in such a thickly settled area of the country with a commuter train running right through the center of the park, it still manages to be eerily still, with squirrels, chipmunks and chirping birds. Equally surprising, despite the rain of the past weeks, there were few mosquitoes.
If you wanted to go to this area drive to Salem State University’s South Campus, a left off 1A marked by a small sign about ten feet up a telephone pole. At the far end of the parking lot past the gymnasium, but not quite to the entrance of the dorms is the trailhead, beside the dumpster and near the bike racks. The sign is a little difficult to read, but it’s large and brown so you can’t miss it.
There are a few moderately well marked loops you can take and some informational signs along the path offering details on the marsh, volcano and wildlife in the park. The paths beside the estuary are usually wet, particularly in spring. There are some hills, not including the volcano, stone walls, and quite a number of roots and rocks it’s possible to trip over. However, it’s also very serene. I would highly recommend taking 30 minutes or more to explore the superficial loop trails, but you could definitely spend more time as well.