A friend of ours found out that my son liked trains and asked us if we had ever been to the secret train hidden in the Needham Forest. Excuse me? Yes, you heard right. In the large High Rock forest of Needham, there lay a magical place for all to discover. We were told simply to follow the miniature birdhouses which would lead us to this really cool place, so off we went. The kids each took a walking stick and opened their eyes wide to hunt for birdhouses. Sure enough, we found tiny little birdhouses nailed to various trees along the way. The kids were ecstatic to find the next in the series as we hiked along the trails.
We weren’t quite sure where to park or enter the forest but took the discovery of birdhouses as a good sign that we were on our way. We zigged and zagged throughout the forest, looking for tiny marker after tiny marker, hoping each time there was a fork in the road that we choose correctly. We stopped a few times to ask directions from a runner and other hikers and somehow managed to piece together a plan of which way to go next. Just as the kids were starting to run out of steam and my husband and I felt like we were walking endlessly in circles, we saw a small fairy sized door in a tree and knew we were close. From then on, tiny little doors, windows, fairies, and scenes lay along the trail to our delight.
Eventually, they led us to Martini Junction! We found 120 feet of wooden train track hidden in the woods, next to a small waterfall. The creator, Jim Metcalf, built it over a decade ago after discovering the place with his wife and fell in love. If you’re lucky, Jim will show up and unlock the remote controlled train to run it down the tracks. Even if you do not run into Jim, it is still quite a sight to be seen!
You can rest on the small deck complete with a table and benches and take in the scenery. As you look all around you, you will notice new magical places created in the woods. We took a shortcut back to our car and are now able to give a more precise way to find this magical world for you and your family to enjoy.
Few things to note:
- Follow the birdhouses that are white with red roofs. You will also see red circle Needham Town Forest markers.
- There is no real parking lot, but you can park on the side of the street of a dead end road
- Take a right as soon as you get onto the trail and follow the birdhouses. Make a right at the fork on the intersection labeled “11.” If you take a look at the map in the link above, the train can be found between markers 11 and 27.
How to get there:
For a longer hike, you can park on High Rock Road. (That’s where we originally started)