Trails and Outdoor recreation in Ipswich

Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land as Open Space, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development. The town’s investment adds to other preserved land surrounding the town, including Willowdale State Forest, Appleton Farms, Crane Beach and other Trustees of Reservations properties. In the year 2002, The town of Ipswich produced a study called the “Green Ring Report” that documents goals for preserving the nature of the outlying areas of the town. More than 50% of land in Ipswich is protected by the town, state and non-profit organizations.

hiking trails on the Massachusetts North Shore
Hiking trails in the North Shore area

Maps and information for dozens of hiking trails in Ipswich and the surrounding area.

Ipswich

Appleton Farms, County Rd. Ipswich. Trails from the Visitor Center connect with Appleton Farms Grass Rides in Hamilton. Appleton Farms trail map

Bay Circuit Trail, Boxford, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport. Trail map for the Ipswich-Rowley section of the Bay Circuit Trail

Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield Rd., Ipswich Wintrhop Rd. Hamilton, Asbury St., Topsfield. Willowdale and Bradley Palmer trail map

Crane Beach and Castle Neck, Argilla Rd. Ipswich. Over 6 miles of trails through the dunes and around the Castle, plus several miles of beach to walk on. Castle Hill area trail map

Daniel Boone Park, Top of Spring Street on Town Hill in Ipswich. Daniel Boone Park trail map

Dow Brook Conservation Area, Dow/Bull Brook Reservoirs, High St., Ipswich. A three-mile hike begins at Veterans recreational field on Mile Lane near Linebrook Road in Ipswich or near White Farms Ice Cream on High St. Dow and Bull Brook Reservoirs trail map

Hamlin Reservation, Argilla Rd., Ipswich A mile long trail takes you to a wooded coastal island. Hamlin Reservation trail map

Hood Pond, Linebrook Rd., Ipswich. 100 acre pond crossed by the Bay Circuit Trail, Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. Hood Pond trail map. Topsfield town forest map

Julia Bird Reservation, Waldingfield Rd., Ipswich adjacent to Appleton Farm, it is part of an extensive network of protected open space along the Ipswich River. Julia Bird Reservation trail map

Linebrook Woods Conservation Area, 275 Linebrook Rds., Ipswich next to Marini Farms. A 78-acre parcel of wooded uplands and wetlands, with trails extending north to the town watershed lands trail network, and to the south into Willowdale State Forest. Linebrook Woods Conservation Area trail map

New England Biolabs trails. Public trails in the former Proctor Estate along the Miles River. New England Biolabs trail map

Nichols Field, 60 Labor in Vain Rd., Ipswich. A 15-acre parcel of open fields and woods adjacent to the Ipswich River. Nichols Field trail map

Riverbend, Ipswich River Watershed Association. Trail loop from the headquarters down to the Ipswich River. Ipswich River Watershed Association Riverbend property trail map

Ross Property, Open Space program property off of Paradise Rd., Ipswich. Ross Property trail map

Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island (accessible by Newburyport). Located at the southern tip of Plum Island, Sandy Point stretches 77 acres. It features a beautiful coastal beach great for swimming and sunbathing. Sandy Point State Reservation trail map

Shady Creek Conservation Area, Colonial Acres, Topsfield Rd. Located at the end of the cul-de-sac on Colonial Drive, a 44-acre parcel of wooded uplands and wetlands along the Ipswich River. This area has limited trail access and no river access. Shady Creek Conservation Area map

Sidney Shurcliff River Walk, Ipswich. A pleasant short walk along the Ipswich River from the County St. bridge to Town Hall at Water St. Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk trail map

Steep Hill and Cedar Point, Crane Estate, Argilla Rd. Steep Hill and Cedar Point trail map

Strawberry Hill, Jeffreys Neck Rd., Ipswich. Llocated at 56 Jeffreys Neck Road, a 91-acre parcel of open fields and marsh adjacent to the Eagle Hill River. Across Jeffreys Neck Road from The Trustees of Reservations Greenwood Farms property is also open to the public. Strawberry Hill trail map

Willowdale Meadow. Topsfield Rd., Ipswich. One of several starting points for walks through Willowdale State Forest East. The property is an old meadow with some single track

Willowdale State Forest, 40 miles of trails. The East side on Topsfield and Linebrook Rd. connects to Hood Pond, Willowdale West.

Harold Parker State Forest. Miles of trails and mountain biking between Middleton and Andover. Harold Parker State Forest trail map

Ward Reservation, Prospect Road Andover and North Andover. Almost 10 miles of trails, easy-to-moderate hiking, strenuous in places. Some of the trails here are part of the Bay Circuit Trail. Ward Reservation trail map

hiker iconWeir Hill, Stevens Street, North Andover. Four miles of trails with vistas of both scenic Lake Cochichewick and of the broader landscape of the Merrimack Valley. . Weir Hill trail map

Cox Reservation, 82 Eastern Avenue, Essex. Stunning views of a breathtaking tidal estuary in the Great Marsh ecosystem. Cox Reservation trail map

Stavros Reservation, Island Rd., Essex. This reservation protects more than 50 acres of salt marsh. A loop trail leads you along a field and up the hillside to a broad, open meadow. Here stands the fieldstone base of a 50-foot, three-level tower. Stavros Reservation trail map

Gloucester

Ravenswood Park, 481 Western Avenue (Route 127)Gloucester. 10 miles of trails and former carriage roads. Moderate hiking. Carriage roads are covered with dense crushed stone and are generally wheelchair accessible. Ravenswood Park trail map

Halibut Point Reservation. 2.5 miles of trails with weather-beaten bluffs, ocean views and low rocky coastal shelf. Halibut Point trail map

Dogtown Commons, Cherry St., Gloucester MA. Five square miles of abandoned settlement in a glacial rockfield. Dogtown Commons Trail map

Hamilton

Appleton Farms Grass Rides, Highland Ave., Hamilton. Miles of carriage trails abutting Appleton Farms and Harvard Forest. Appleton Farms trail map

Discover Hamilton Trail, includes part of the Bay Circuit Trail, runs from Bradley Palmer State Park through the Pingrey Estate, Appleton Farms, and Harvard Forest. Discover Hamilton Trail Map
Harvard Forest, Cutler Rd. The Harvard Forest recreation ground is owned by the Harvard University. It is 116 acres. This property is open to the public. The property has 1.7 miles of public trails. Harvard Forest Hamilton trail map

Pingree Reservation, Cutler Rd. This 136 acre property has wide paths interconnected by single track and is a part of the Bay Circuit Trail and the Discover Hamilton Trail, connecting to Harvard Woods.

Donovan – Sagamore Trail, Sagamore St., Hamilton. The Donovan/Sagamore Hill Trail connects the Donovan ballfields area with Sagamore Street via the Donovan Woods and Donovan Hill. The southern half of the trail is located on public lands owned by the Town of Hamilton. The northern half of the trail is a public trail easement that crosses through private properties. The single track trail is mostly wooded and the terrain is relatively steep on either side of the hill. Discover Hamilton Trail Map

Manchester by the Sea

Agassiz Rock. School Street, Manchester. A Trustees of Reservations property. Moderate climb to some unusual boulders overlooking Cape Ann. 1.5-mile loop trail (moderate hiking) takes in both Big and Little Agassiz Rocks. Agassiz Rock trail map

Coolidge Reservation, Rt. 127, Manchester-by-the-Sea. A one-mile trail runs from the parking area to the top of Bungalow Hill, around Clarke Pond to Magnolia Beach, and to the Ocean Lawn. Coolidge Reservation trail map

Newbury, Newburyport and West Newbury

Brake Hill and Groveland Town Forest, Rt. Rt. 113, West Newbury. Highest point in West Newbury (Elev. 258′). Parking available along the street near 19 Hill Top Circle or on Brake Hill Terrace near Route 113. Brake Hill Trail Map

Chestnut Hill Farm, Farm Rd., West Newbury. Loop trail through farmland to the Merrimack River, easy walking on grass pathways with river views from the overlook. Parking lot is located at end of Farm Lane. Chestnut Hill trail map

Crane Pond Wildlife Management Area, Bear Hill Road Groveland. Multiple parking areas in Groveland (Little Road, Bear Hill Rd) Newbury (Moody St) and Georgetown (Little Rd). In West Newbury, parking is available at the end of Georgetown Road near the Groveland town line. Crane Pond trail map

Indian Hill Reservoir, West Newbury. Level roadway and trail around reservoir. Connects to Indian Hill Farm. Indian Hill Reservoir trail map

Little River Nature Trail, High St. Newburyport. A rich wildlife habitat, 5 mile trail surrounded by an urban setting. Easy terrain including meadows, forests, vernal pools and wetlands. Little River Trail and map

Martin Burns Wildlife Management Area. Orchard St., Newbury MA. Martin Burns Trail Map

Maudslay State Park, 74 Curzon Mill Road, Newburyport. Former estate with over 400 acres of park land owned by the stat along the Merrimack River. Maudslay SP trail map

Old Town Hill, Newman Rd., Newbury. A three-mile network of trails and pathways leads you along the Parker River and a ridge with scenic views. Old Town Hill trail map

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge HellCat Trail, Plum Island. This boardwalk trail is divided into the 0.6 mile Dunes Trail and the 0.8 mile Marsh Trail. Plum Island Hellcat Trail guide

Riverbend Conservation Area, adjoining Maudslay SP, Newburyport. Riverbend Conservation Area trail map

Rowley

Hunsley Hills, Rt. 133, Rowley. A 1 mile loop trail that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for hiking, walking, and nature trips. Hunsley Hills loop trail map

Prospect Hill Conservation Area, Rt. 133, Rowley. Part of the Bay Circuit Trail, it connects to Dow and Bull Brook Conservation, Linebrook Conservation and Willowdale State Forest. Prospect Hill trail map

Topsfield

Bare Hill Park, Rt. 97, Topsfield. Bare Hill Park trail map

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield. 12 miles of trails that invite you to explore the forests, meadows, wetlands, drumlins, and eskers. You can also travel down the namesake river, Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary trail map

Topsfield Linear Common. Start: Downtown Topsfield, approximately 4 miles long, connecting to sections of the Border to Boston trail in Wenham, Danvers and Beverly, and north to the Boxford town line. Topsfield Linear Common map.

Topsfield Town Forest, Rt. 97 at Hood Pond. Topsfield town forest map

Grand Wenham Canal, connect with a side trail on the Topsfield Linear Common and Ipswich River.

Wenham

Cedar Pond, Rt. 97, Wenham. The wildlife sanctuary contains approximately 110 acres of upland forest. Cedar Pond trail map

Chebacco Woods, 255 Grapevine Rd, Wenham. The Gordon College trails vary from easy flat dirt roads to singletracks. Chebacco Woods Trail Map

J.C. Phillips Nature Preserve 85 acres. The Phillips family continued to live on the property with his sons purchasing adjoining properties and expanding Moraine Farm. The Nature Preserve is now jointly managed by the Trustees of Reservations and the Essex County Greenbelt. J. C. Phillips trail system map

Posts

Bicycle rides in Ipswich MA Ipswich Bicycle Rides - Bicycle rides in Ipswich and through beautiful scenery to neighboring towns.
Proctor estate New England Biolabs 240 County Road, the Proctor Estate, New England Biolabs (1895) - The former James H. Proctor estate was built in 1895. The Catholic Church purchased the property, where it was used as a novitiate by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and later became the Catholic school Don Bosco. Since 1999 the Proctor estate has been the home of New England Biolabs, which provides walking trails open to the public.
Ipswich Open Space map Open Spaces - Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land, through the Open Space Program, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development.
Appleton Farms - Owned by the Trustees of Reservations, Appleton Farms is America’s oldest working farm, with 12 miles of walking trails, a visitor center, and Community Supported Agriculture program.
Strawberry Hill and Greenwood Farm - The landscape surrounding Strawberry Hill on Jeffreys Neck Rd. invokes a time when saltwater farms were common in Ipswich. Across the street is Greenwood Farm and the First Period Payne House, owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
The Grand Wenham Canal The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common - The Topsfield "Linear Common" follows the former Danvers to Newburyport rail line. A side path takes you to the Grand Wenham Canal, also known as the Salem-Beverly Waterway Canal, which transports water from the Ipswich River to Wenham Lake.
Dow Brook and Bull Brook - Bull Brook originates in Willowdale, crosses Linebrook Rd. and merges with Dow Brook at the Ipswich Utilities site on Rt. 1A. From that point the combined stream becomes the Egypt River.
Courage boulder at Dogtown Dogtown, its history and legends - Dogtown is a five square mile area of Gloucester and Rockport strewn with glacial boulders. Visitors to Dogtown find cellar holes of abandoned houses, and boulders emblazoned with inspirational messages.
The farm at Wigwam Hill - Symonds Epes bought a large tract in 1726 and built a substantial farm and orchards at Wigwam Hill, named for a group of destitute Indians who briefly camped there. The protecting pitch pines were later cut for lumber, and the farm became a large dune.
Choate Island and Rufus Choate - Choate Island was originally known as Hog Island, and is the largest island in the Crane Wildlife Refuge and is the site of the Choate family homestead, the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage, and the final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Crane. There are great views from the island summit of the Castle Neck dunes and Plum Island Mount Agamenticus in Maine.
Trails in the dunes at Castle Neck in Ipswich The dunes at Castle Neck - Crane Beach and all of Castle Neck are protected by the Trustees of Reservations. Pitch pine and scrub oak rise from the masses of marsh grass, sage green hudsonia and dune lichen lining the trails that wind through the dunes.
Bay Circuit Trail map The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich - The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich enters Willowdale State Forest and continues north through the town-owned Dow-Bull Brook preservation land. A branch continues from Willowdale through Bradley Palmer S.P to New England Biolabs.
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary An autumn walk in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary - These photos are from one of my favorite hikes in Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Sanctuary at 87 Perkins Row in Topsfield. Twelve miles of trails weave through an amazing mix of forests, meadows and wetlands, with great views of the Ipswich River from the central drumlin and two eskers that were left by retreating glaciers only […]

Local preservation

Essex County Trail Association

The Essex County Trail Association maintains an interactive map of conservation areas and other hiking trails in Essex County:

Download maps for all public properties in Ipswich from the Essex Trails Association links below:

Essex County Greenbelt

The Essex County Greenbelt is a regional land trust that has helped landowners, farmers, cities, towns and organizations in Essex County realize their land conservation vision since 1961. Their efforts have protected over 15,000 acres of land in Essex County, including the following areas accessible to the public:

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