Subscribe Now

Martin H. Burns Wildlife Management Area, Essex

LENGTH

3.4 miles

This unpaved route was once used for a trolley line and now serves as a utility corridor. Head- ing west from the station, the trail crosses Little River, then Highfield Road, before entering the heavily wooded 1,555-acre wildlife area. On its western end, it passes two wide trails that lead out towards Orchard Street in Newbury. The trail ends just before I-95 and is nice and quiet. Keep an eye out for deer, fox, beaver, and a medley of bird species. Note: On the other side of the train station, north of Parker Street, a connection can be made to the Clipper City Rail Trail that heads north to the Merrimack River.

DIRECTIONS

Eastern Trailhead: From I-95: Take exit 57 and head east on MA 113. At the traffic light near Port Plaza, take a right onto Low Street, then a left onto Graf Road. From Graf Road, take a left onto Parker Street, then a right onto Boston Way. The trail leaves from the southeast end of the Newburyport MBTA Station parking lot.

Western Trailhead: From I-95: Take exit 55 and head east on Central Street. At the first Y-intersection, take a left onto Orchard Street. Soon after, take a left onto a dirt road (the main access point for Martin H. Burns Wildlife Management Area). Keep driving on this dirt road until it ends at a gate. From the gate, take the wide main trail until you reach the rail-trail.

PARKING

Eastern Trailhead: Newburyport MBTA station parking lot 

Western Trailhead: At the gate, at the end of the dirt road, off Orchard Street

View a map here

Topsfield Linear Common and Wenham Rail-Trail, Boxford

LENGTH

4.9 miles

This trail starts in Boxford and winds its way along an abandoned rail bed through Topsfield, meandering across Route 1, over the Ipswich River, and through a wetland area. Just south of the river crossing, you can connect to the Salem-Beverly Canal Path along the old waterway built in 1917. At its southern end, the trail passes through the Great Wenham Swamp. Be on the lookout for lots of wildlife, particularly marshland bird species.

DIRECTIONS

From I-95: Take exit 51 to Endicott Road/Washington Street East. Turn right on River Road, then left on Prospect Street. Turn left on Main Street, followed by a quick right on Park Street.

PARKING

At Pye Brook Park off Bare Hill Road; Proctor School off Grove Street by the tennis courts; at Park Street near Main; at the Village Shopping Center off Main Street; at the Route 1 crossing

View a map here

Harold Parker State Park, Middleton

LENGTH

Over 35 miles

This park consists of over 3,000 acres of hemlock and white pine forest. Rolling hills, low-lying swampy areas, rock outcrops, and several ponds dot logging roads and trails covering parts of Andover, North Andover, North Reading, and Middleton.

Note: There are maps at the headquarters entrance.

DIRECTIONS

From 93 North: Take exit 41 to 125 North toward Andover. Stay on Route 125 for about four miles to the State Police Barracks on right. Turn right onto Harold Parker Road, then left onto Jenkins Road. Take a right onto Salem Road, and the headquarters are approximately 1.5 miles down on the left.

PARKING

At headquarters

View a map here.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield

LENGTH:12 miles

The sanctuary is made up of interconnecting trails through forests, meadows, and wetlands and is home to owls, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and warblers. Trails lead to a vernal pool, an observation tower, along boardwalks, and up a drumlin and an esker. There is also a unique rockery, a grotto of narrow passages, and caves constructed in 1905. Watch for river otters, painted turtles, and great blue herons at various times throughout the year.

DIRECTIONS

From I-95 South: Take exit 54 onto Route 133 East towards Ipswich. Follow Route 133 for two miles to the traf- fic light at Route 1. Turn right onto Route 1 South. Follow for 3.5 miles to the traffic light at Ipswich Road. Turn left onto Ipswich Road. Take the first right onto Brookside Road. At the end of Brookside, turn right onto Perkins Row. Follow Perkins Row (bear left at each major intersection) for one mile; the sanctuary is on the left. 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield

PARKING

At visitor center

View a map here

Bald Hill Reservation, Boxford

LENGTH:1.75 miles

The reservation touches parts of North Andover, Boxford, and Middleton. Bald Hill covers 1,700 acres of forested hills and low-lying swamps. The conservation area is home to white-tailed deer, fisher, mink, otter, and other wildlife, making it a prime spotting site.

DIRECTIONS

From I-95: Take exit 51 for Endicott Street toward Boxford. From exit ramp turn west for a very short distance to Middleton Road. Turn right and drive about two miles to a large dirt pullout on left with a kiosk.

Note: About half a mile farther north is a second pullout on the left beside a white house where there is room for two cars. This is a good place from which to start exploring the northernmost trails.

PARKING

At kiosk

View a map here

Ward Reservation, Andover

LENGTH: 10 miles

The reservation trails link three major hills—Shrub,Boston, and Holt. The “Solstice Stones” mark the sum- mit of Holt Hill, the highest point in Essex County. Almost 10 miles of easy-to-moderate trails make this a great place to spend the day. Some of the trails are part of the Bay Circuit Trail, a greenway linking the North and South Shores.

DIRECTIONS

From I-93: Take exit 41 toward Route 125 North for five miles. Turn right on Prospect Road and follow for 0.3 mile to entrance and parking (15 cars) on right.

PARKING

Small lot off Prospect Road

View a map here

Brooksby Farm, Peabody

LENGTH: 3 miles

Footpaths and trails wind through historic houses, red barns, and 65 acres of orchards.

DIRECTIONS

From Route 128: to 114 West. At third set of lights take a left onto Cross Street. Go up the hill and take the second right onto Felton Street. Follow the street to the end. 54 Felton St., Peabody

PARKING

At farm stor

View a map here

Old Town Hill, Newbury

LENGTH: 3 miles

A tidal river, salt marsh, open fields, and woodlands characterize Old Town Hill, a link in the Bay Circuit Trail. Mount Agamenticus in southern Maine is visible from the 168-foot hilltop. A three-mile network of trails and pathways winds through wetlands and up to views of protected open space along the Parker River.

DIRECTIONS

From I-95: Take exit 54 to Route 133 East for 4.5 miles. Turn left onto Route 1A North and follow for 4.8 miles. Shortly after passing over the Parker River, turn left onto Newman Road and follow for 0.5 mile to parking (10 cars) on left. Look for trailheads along Newman Road.

PARKING

Small lot off Newman Road

View a map here.