Beginning in 1871, a branch of what became the Old Colony Railroad traveled from Quincy to Kingston, passing through the towns of Hingham, Cohasset, Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury. In 1938, a hurricane severely damaged the tracks at the North River, which were subsequently removed, putting an end to rail service from that point south.
The trail is divided into two sections. The north section runs 3.5 miles from Summer Street, southward to Ocean Street in downtown Marshfield. The southern section is 0.75 miles, running north from Careswell Street.